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Previews & Release Schedule

MARCH 2005 NEWS

March 31, 2005

    Review
    Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the big one. It's the one game which possibly surpasses Gran Turismo 4 in terms of antcipation levels from gamers, not in a single territory, but worldwide. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is everything we hoped for and more. Here's our full and exclusive review.

    Games
    Hillary Clinton, wife of ex-US president Bill Clinton and current Net York senator has blasted video games, and even cited GTA as a major threat to morality. The senator, who is expected to run for president in 2008, has suggested $US90 million be earmarked to investigate the effects of games on youngsters.

    Electronic Arts have apparently renamed Battlefield: Modern Combat to Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. With the second game due out on PC the name change is likely so gamers purchasing the PS2 titles don't appear inferior to the PC versions.

    According to EB World PS2 (and XBox) owners can look forward to Star Wars: Battlefront 2 late this year. Unsurprisingly the developers and publishers aren't commenting on the existance, or non-existance, of the title.

    Namco has mentioned that they wish to sell 500,000 copies of Tekken 5 on PS2 in Japan. The game launches on March 31st. A date for the PAL version is still to be set.

    Forums
    Click here to go to the Future Gamez Forums and post a message. Why? Because it's the easiest way to ask a question and get answers. There are now well over 4,200 posts in the forums. It may be quiet, but the good thing about that is the quality of the questions and answers, this isn't an area for spam posters. See you there.

    Release Schedule Update
    In the past couple of days I've updated the Preview & Release Schedule page. As well as adding many new titles I have updated with the latest dates from publishers. If you want to know when a game is coming out, or if you want to check out previews of those games, there is only one place to look.

March 29, 2005

    Games
    Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme was recently on MTV and stated that he and bassist Alain Johannes will be composing music for a new Spec Ops game. No other details are known at this stage.

    According to this article on PSP.IGN the PSP hasn't been selling as well as Sony would hope. Apparently sell through numbers at some stores are only around 1/8th of the shipped stock. Of course no official numbers are through yet, but perhaps the $US250 price tag is turning some people away, and that's before you buy some games for it! Still no word on the PAL release date with some estimates now saying that the launch may be as late as September.

    Review
    Cold Fear has been developed by Darkworks and is being published by Ubisoft with the companies promising much of this survival horror title. Set on a ship and with some of the quickest enemies in the genre you won't want to miss this exclusive review! Check it out now...

March 27, 2005

    Games
    SNK Playmore has confirmed that they are porting King of Fighters Neowave to the Playstation 2. The arcade version runs on the Atomiswave hardware. Japanese gamers can expect a release on June 23rd. Let's hope a PAL version is in the pipeline too...

    Namco has announced NamCollection for Playstation 2. The compilation includes five titles: Tekken, Ridge Racer, Ace Combat 2, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Mr Driller. The disc will come with other extras such as a gallery. Japanese gamers can expect a release on June 2 with no PAL version decided upon yet.

    Preview
    Soul Calibur III was announced as a major surprise from Namco this week with the news that the game would be released in 2005 (in America at least!). Not only that but it's a PS2 exclusive with three new characters and several new game modes. Here's an early look at this certain stunning title.

March 25, 2005

    Happy Easter!
    Just a quick note for everyone to have a great Easter break. Please remember to be careful on the roads, and if you do speed, make sure it's only in Gran Turismo 4. Despite the holidays, the fact that I have to move about 40m or topsoil for my sister, and dig a trench for a retaining wall at my own house you can expect the updates to continue over the coming days. If you won't be around for some pretty great previews make sure you check back after the holidays. Have a good one all...

    This Weeks Releases
    A rather quiet week of Playstation 2 releases with several titles not hitting the shelves, probably due to the Good Friday public holiday. Still this week is a case of quality over quantity which is nice to see and a couple of big releases certain to sell in large numbers. Here's the releases:

    Games
    Namco has announced that Soul Calibur III will be released in America late this year. Few details are know at this stage however the game will be a PS2 exclusive.

March 24, 2005

    Review
    Shadow Hearts is being distributed in Australia by Red Ant. This Midway published RPG is one which deserves immediate attention with more then a couple of similarities to a certain Square RPG according to Graham who has finished off his review. Check out Graham's review now.

March 23, 2005

    Games
    Apparently Sci are considering purchasing the much troubled Eidos according to the Sunday Telegraph in the UK. Eidos have hit financial trouble of late and delays for Hitman: Bloodmoney and Tomb Raider in recent weeks haven't helped.

    Disney has announced that Traveller's Tales is developing a game based on the upcoming movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The movie, and presumably game, will be released around Christmas.

    Review
    Mercenaries is a straight out action title with impressive visuals and superb action. LucasArts have certainly improved their games in the last year or so and Mercenaries, developed by Pandemic, continues this trend. Expect plenty of action in this, ermm, action title set in North Korea. Here's our full and exclusive review.

March 22, 2005

    Games
    According to reports Activision have secured the rights to publish Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for PAL territories. The game should be released around the same time as the upcoming, and impressive looking, third movie.

    Review
    Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends is an interesting prospect. The original Samurai Warriors was a solid title however in this Xtreme Legends version Koei are promising several enhancements including more weapons and characters. The question remains; Is this worth spending your money on? Read our exclusive review to find out...

March 20, 2005

    This Weeks Releases
    Well another strong week for PS2 gamers with several big releases including a certain stealth action title from Konami. Here's a list of the games out through Games Warehouse. Please buy them using these links as they help fund Future Gamez:

    Games
    Sega has confirmed that they are developing a new Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) called Phantasy Star Universe. Apparently the game will allow up to 65 players in the one game world at a time and should be release in Japan late this year. A US release is also rumoured.

    Tecmo has announced that they are developing Fatal Frame 3. This third game in the series once again relies on horror themes with the ability to destroy enemies by taking photos of them. It sounds strange, yes, but those who have played Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly will almost certainly attest to its brilliance. If you haven't checked that game out you're missing something special.

    Review
    Fight Night Round 2 is EA's fourth boxing game on the Playstation 2. The game has undergone several new enhancement including improved graphics, better career mode and the control of the cut man. This is a game which anyone who likes fighting games will almost certainly love. Here's our full and exclusive review.

March 17, 2005

    Games
    Codemasters have issues a press release for Ricky Ponting Cricket which now confirmed that the game will have ICC endorsement. Here we go:

      INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL BACKS RICKY PONTING INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

      Bat, bowl and field through official tournaments with the real professionals!

      Thursday 17th March 2005– Designed as the ultimate hit and run experience, Ricky Ponting International Cricket will come packed with official content thanks to a license from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body for international cricket, Codemasters and Atari announced today.

      Fully endorsed by the Australian cricket captain, Ricky Ponting International Cricket comes to PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC this September, and the ICC endorsement brings the organisation’s world famous tournaments to the title. “I’m very proud to put my name to this game. Codemasters have proven quality at making great sports games and from what I’ve seen this game will really set a new bench mark for cricket games”

      You’ll be able to step up to the crease and compete with the professionals in cricket’s most challenging tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy.

      Featuring all the official ICC One-Day International teams, with 16 players per squad, and stadia from around the world, including The Oval, Newlands, and Edgbaston, as well as Sydney and Melbourne cricket grounds from Australia, Ricky Ponting International Cricket will be a truly authentic experience.

      The ICC deal also brings authentic strips and real name players with detailed facial likenesses to the game. So, in addition to Ricky Ponting himself, you’ll be facing world-class bouncers from the world’s greatest bowlers, including Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath or Andrew Flintoff or trying to send the bails flying from cricket’s best batsmen such as SR Tendulkar, Brian Lara, or Andrew Strauss!

      Ricky Ponting International Cricket will capture all the exciting, athletic, skilful and technical elements of the sport in the only cricket game designed to make batting, bowling and fielding equally enthralling to play.

      Ricky Ponting International Cricket also features commentary from the world’s leading commentators including local heroes Tony Greig and Bill Lawry.

      Ricky Ponting International Cricket will hit you for six this September when it’s published by Codemasters for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. Prepare to don your cricket whites online at www.atari.com.au

      NB: Codemasters previously released Shane Warne Cricket on PlayStation 1 in November 1998, still the highest selling cricket game in Australia.

    Preview
    Final Fantasy XII sees the return of the worlds most popular Role Playing Game. Once again the developers have created a totally new, and this time quite realistic, world. With a hopeful 2005 release this game not only looks wonderful but has several changes from previous titles. Here's a preview with several (stunning) screens.

March 16, 2005

    Review
    NBA Street V3 sees Electronic Arts return with the third game in their extreme street basketball game. The previous two titles were stunning, this is no different. New courts and new gameplay elements make this game even better then before. PAL gamers miss out on online gameplay which is disappointing but can it hold this game back? Here's our full and exclusive verdict.

    Games
    According to Sony's European Press Center we can expect a new SingStar title in May. Singstar Popworld (which is named after a UK TV show apparently - so may have a name change in Australia) sees the return of Pass the Mic and Duets return, along with new original features such as “Rap Scoring”. Gain extra points as you battle against your crew to see who is the master of the mic, with the ultimate MC showdown! In Medley mode, short segments of five different songs are strung together, challenging would be pop stars to think fast and score high before the tune changes. In addition, SingStar Pop incorporates brand new voice filters that can be used in Playback Mode to distort and enhance players’ vocal performance. While the track list isn't confirmed yet artists such as Avril Lavigne, Jamelia, Keane, Robbie Williams and the Black Eyed Peas will appear on the game.

    Sony Europe has announced that Formula One 2005 will be released in mid-2005. The game will, for the first time, allow you to compete against a friend online. Other new additions include new interactive pit stops, pre-race grid line-up set against a backdrop of mechanics, grid girls, journalists, cameramen and special events. Historic cars and tracks will also be available to recreate those past moments.

    Preview
    Street Racing Syndicate has finally been picked up for a PAL release thanks to Codemasters. This game, which was actually developed by Namco allows you to buy the hottest cars and mod them before taking to the streets to race for cash, pink slips or women! Rev heads will love this game, here's a preview.

March 15, 2005

    Games
    Electronic Arts have launched a new web site which has plenty of potential to become a major hub for gaming news (at least for their titles). Not only that but they have a massive competition on at the moment with some wonderful prizes. Check out the new web site at www.eaplay.com and make sure you enter the competition.

    Preview
    Medal of Honor: European Assault looks like being the game that finally gives gamers what they want from the series on PS2. While the previous game in the series, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, was disappointing Electronic Arts are going all out to make amends and it looks like they are on the right (non-linear) track. Here's our exclusive preview with some of the latest screens.

March 14, 2005

    Review
    King of Fighters Maximum Impact is out now, and for fans of the original 2D games, or indeed any fighting games, it's a game worth checking out. SNK Playmore is moving this traditional 2D sprite based beat 'em up to the third dimension and the translation is surprisingly good, here's our full and exclusive review.

    Preview
    Batman Begins is really starting to shape up as quite a nice looking title from Electronic Arts. This updated preview contains the latest PS2 screens for the game based on the upcoming movie starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman. If you like Batman it looks like your in for a double treat in June - a great movie, and game to go with it!

March 13, 2005

    Games
    So Shadow Hearts: Covenant only came out in PAL territories in the last week but Japanese gamers will be pleased to hear that Shadow Hearts: From The New World, the third game in the series from Aruze, is now in development. Hopefully that game will also make it outside Japan as the previous games have been superb.

    Review
    Playboy: The Mansion isn't a game for youngsters that's for sure. The game contains adult themes, nudity and, wait for it, sex! Shock, horror. Even for older gamers the question remains: would you want to play this sims knock off either? Essentially this game play just like The Sims, but with much less variety and detail. Here's our final verdict.

    This Weeks Releases
    March was always going to be a great month for games, and this week Sony unleashed the highly anticipated racing game, Gran something-a-rather. Still besides that monster there were several other big titles. Here's the list:

March 11, 2005

    Games
    For those of you unaware Gran Turismo 4 hit the shelves yesterday. Those thinking that enthusiasm for the game would be low given the delays and impending move to next generation will be astounded to read this press release from Sony:

      Gran Turismo 4 Races Past the Three Million Mark

      London, March 9, 2004 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) is pleased to announce that the highly anticipated racing game Gran Turismo 4, available today, has set a new, all-time Day One record for PlayStation 2 software, shipping 3,182,535 units across PAL territories. In addition to the standalone software version, Gran Turismo 4 is also available as a part of a bundle featuring the newly designed slimline PlayStation 2. The game follows its highly successful predecessors, Gran Turismo and Gran Turismo 2 and Gran Turismo 3 A-spec, and the GT series has collectively sold more than 38 million units worldwide.

      “The reaction to Gran Turismo 4 from retailers across PAL territories has exceeded even our high expectations,” said David Reeves, President, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. “This Day One number reflects the popularity and broad appeal of the series – not only with seasoned GT buyers but with driving fans, motoring enthusiasts and casual gamers alike. We expect Gran Turismo 4 to become the “must-have” title for anyone who owns a PlayStation 2 or anyone thinking about purchasing one.”

      “I am delighted by the enthusiasm for Gran Turismo 4,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the GT series. “The game has been a long time in the making and is fuelled by the passion and dedication of the team here at Polyphony Digital. My dream was to create more than a sequel – to redefine what a video game could be. I hope that when players experience the realism, variety and sheer depth of Gran Turismo 4, they will agree that this vision has been realised.”

      Developed hand-in-hand with the motor industry’s leading marques, Gran Turismo 4 offers drivers the ultimate ride, with over 700 cars, more than 50 race tracks, new music, new manager and photo modes, better-than-real-life graphics and enhanced simulation. Built with, and tested against, the real cars, real circuits and real test drivers, every car in the GT4 paddock performs, handles, sounds and behaves exactly like its metal equivalent – giving you the chance for a no-limits test drive of the world’s finest cars from the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe, Audi Le Mans Quattro, Nissan 350Z or Ford GT to the Mercedes SLR McLaren.

      10 Additional Cars for the PAL Version… GT4 was released in Japan on December 28, 2004 with an extensive list of 700 cars. In Europe and Australasia, driving fans will be treated to an additional 10 cars including the stunning new Alfa Romeo GT, the beautiful Audi Nuvolari Quattro, the award-winning modified Golf IV R32 from HPA Motorsports, the record-breaking Auto Union V16 Type C Streamline Race Car, the controversial Chaparral 2J Race Car and the 1993 Le Mans-winning Peugeot 905.

    Review
    Sonic Mega Collection Plus is one of the most anticipated titles this year. It's easy to see why as the compilation includes 17 (mostly) Sonic games emulated perfectly on PS2. If you were a gamer in the 16-bit era then you will certainly want to check this out. Here's our full and exclusive review...

March 9, 2005

    Games
    Australia's Krome Studios has confirmed they are developing Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 3. The previous two games me with moderate sales and were published by Electronic Arts. More news as it comes to hand.

    It appears as if the American division of Sammy Studios has been saved. While the Japanese parent company was set to close the American division a management buyout has saved the company and its 100 employees. The new company will be called High Moon Studios and best of all will continue development of projects already underway including Darkwatch.

    Preview
    Predator: Concrete Jungle was originally expected to be released late last year but the developers held the game back until April this year to polish the game further. It's a good thing to as the screens released last year could only be described as average. This preview, with the latest screens released this week, shows stunning improvements and a game which has plenty of potential.

March 7, 2005

    Downtime
    Well a couple of days of silence from us, but that tends to happen when you format you main PC and install Windows XP with Service Pack 2 but not realise that Service Pack 2 would stop even the most basic Javascript from working! Still, it's all better now and the good news is that new hard drive should give plenty of space to start working on some downloadable videos for you in the lead up to PS3 launch. We're also looking to re-design the site so if you have any website design skills we'd me more then happy to hear from you...

    Games
    Codemasters has confirmed that they will be publishing Namco's SRS: Street Racing Syndicate. Developed by Eutechnyx the game comes tricked out with 40+ officially licensed damageable vehicles, including some of today’s hottest US import rides such as the Mitsubishi Evolution VIII, MAZDASPEED RX8, Mazda RX-7 Spirit R, Subaru Impreza S202, Toyota Supra, VW Golf VR6, Nissan 350Z, Nissan Skyline GT-R, and many more. There are also hundreds of officially licensed modding parts, stickers, paints and vinyls, an in-game dyno that measures actual peak torque and horsepower in real-time and the US import scene’s hottest female models. The game will be released in Q'2 2005 through Atari.

    Review
    Blood Will Tell isn't a top line game, but is one which you will likely get some joy out of. This action game from Sega takes a Samurai element and some stealth to create a game with a brilliant story. Graham has checked out this game and liked what he saw, the only problem is, there's many other similar games he likes too...

    This Weeks Releases
    Another solid week of releases with several titles that will likely sell very well with several genres getting a couple of big titles. Here's the releases for last week:

March 5, 2005

    Games
    Oh you have to love how data can be twisted to create positive news for a company. On February 24th Nintendo released the Gameboy DS, their new dual screen portable system. On the Monday after launch Nintendo proudly announced record sales for the system with Australian sales trackers GFK confirming sales of over 19,000 units. Impressive so it seems, however GFK only started tracking sales in 2001, months after the PS2 came out. The PS2 reportedly sold around 30,000 units in the first week, so Nintendo are either wrong, or making a very dubious call. Doesn't really matter PSP will smash that sales figure, and then PS3 will smash that!!

    Take Two have confirmed that worldwide sales of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas have surpassed 12 million units! To put that into perspective that is sales of approximately $US600 million dollars, surpassing the grosses for movies such as Men In Black, Mission Impossible II, Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2 or The Day After Tomorrow.

March 4, 2005

    Games
    At a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater event in Germany this week Hideo Kojima confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 4 is starting development this week for next generation consoles. Hideo Kojima will step aside to become executive producer while Ken-Ichiro Imaizumi will become producer of the game which will focus on Solid Snake.

    Preview
    Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is a game you won't want to miss. From the makers of a little series called GTA, and a highly controversial and now banned Manhunt comes this spectacular racing game which includes online gameplay. Here's the latest screens and a stunning movie (yes folks, we're going to start putting some movies on Future Gamez) in this updated preview!

March 3, 2005

    Games
    Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has confirmed that Wanda and Colossus will be coming to PAL territories in 2005. The game will be undergoing a name change to Shadow of the Colossus in that territory. More news as it comes to hand.

    News from Atari Australia that Konami's Karaoke Stage will not be released in Australia. Sigh... time to import then.

March 2, 2005

    Games
    Not really game news, but readers may be interested to check out Atari Australia's massively revamped web site. This has details on all their upcoming games as well as Java games and ring tones for your mobile phone. Atari will also start direct selling games through the web site including older classic title. Check out the new site at www.atari.com.au.

    Preview
    AFL 2006 is back again. Last week we gave you the early preview with all the details and a handful of screens. In this monster update we give you no less then 10 of the best screens in what looks like a vastly improved game over previous Australian Football League games published through Acclaim. You must check out this game - it looks awesome.

March 1, 2005

    Games
    Atari has confirmed they will be publishing Quantic Dream's PlayStation 2 and Xbox title Fahrenheit in September. The game was originally linked with Vivendi. The game follows a murderer, Lucas Kane, in New York City who has no idea why he committed the crime and must unravel the mystery.

    Review
    The Bard's Tale is a pretty big release for not only the publishers THQ, but also gamers. This is one of the very few RPG's being released in PAL territories. But not only is it and RPG but it's also the funniest game ever and a complete joy from start to end. Here's our exclusive review of this superb title.


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