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JUNE 2005 NEWS

June 30, 2005

    Games News
    According to the latest Famitsu magazine Bandai are currently developing .hack//fragment. The game will actually be and online RPG. As yet there's no confirmation of a release outside Japan, however with the four previous (offline) titles getting a release in PAL territories it is possible.

    Reviews
    Medal of Honor: European Assault is Electronic Arts' third title in the series to hit Playstation 2. The first game was quite brilliant, the second quite a disaster. This third title is, fortunately, a much better game then Rising Sun with several new features, and one big omission. Here's our full review.

June 29, 2005

    Games News
    Ubisoft have confirmed that Far Cry Instincts will be an XBox exclusive title. The game, which is based on the PC original Far Cry, was originally announced for XBox and PS2 however for one reason or another it won't be heading to Sony's system any more. To be honest we were very surprised to hear it was coming to the PS2 to start with - the visuals are certainly one aspect that would have really struggled on the hardware - go buy the PC original you won't be disappointed.

    COMPETITION
    Monster Hunter is one game that, if you play online, you must add to your collection. This game, from Capcom no less, is a massive RPG stlyed hunting game that will have you playing for weeks. Thanks to THQ Australia we have a copy of the game to give to one lucky reader. Simply click on the link and follow the instructions.

    Reviews
    Predator: Concrete Jungle was certainly a game that had us excited here at the Future Gamez office being such fans of the movies. If you're a predator fan then this game is certainly one that will interest you. Is it for everyone though and does it take the franchise to new levels? Here's our full verdict.

June 27, 2005

    Reviews
    Pinball Hall of Fame is available now in Australia thanks to Red Ant as another title in their budget range. It's surprising how few pinball games have been available of late - indeed this only the second pinball game out here. This is a budget game at under $50, but a good one considering the number of tables on offer.

June 26, 2005

June 25, 2005

    Games News
    Yesterday we commented that the PSP in America has seen 100,000 UMD movie sales since its launch. Sony America has today come out to clarify the situation by stating that two titles have sold over 100,000 units each - House of Flying Daggars and Resident Evil Apocalypse. The company has also distributed over 1 million copies of Spiderman 2 on UMD which come free with the system. With well over 20 titles now available its not impossible to see well over 500,000 sales in total for UMD movies already.

    According to gamesindustry.biz Sony has confirmed that rumours of PSP production cut from 18 million units this year to 12 million units are untrue. With the European and Australian launch only 2 months away it would seem unlikely to cut production prior to release. In an interesting twist however Sony confirmed that the production target was always 12 million units.

    Previews
    Crash Tag Team Racing continues the adventures of one of the most beloved game characters of all time. While Crash Bandicoot is back on Playstation 2, this isn't just another platform game, rather its a racing game with both vehicle and on-foot sections. Here's an early look with some screens and info.

June 24, 2005

    Games News
    Although it looked like any voice actor strike could be averted a couple of weeks ago, there is once again trouble. Recently a three-and-a-half year deal was struck whereby union voice actors will receive a 36 percent increase in pay. Both a Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee (comprised of voice actors) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) accepted the deal. News on IMDB confirms that The Screen Actors Guild's national executive committee has rejected the deal. As a result voice actors could once again be on strike until a new deal is negotiated. The IMDB article states that "The fact that the contract does not provide residual payments to voice-over actors appeared to be the divisive issue. The industry had maintained that the actors contribute little to the success of their games and that if they were to make residual payments to them, they would certainly have to do the same for all the other creative talent responsible for the games." Expect more news soon...

    One of the key features which the PSP is capable of is playing movies on UMD (the Universal Media Discs it uses). Many people believe this feature would be a gimmick and fail in a big way. Sony have just announced that UMD movie sales have now surpassed 100,000 units - and that does not include the copies of Spiderman 2 bundled with the system. Some of the movies already available in America include Resident Evil Apocalypse, XXX, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hitch, Terminator 2, Hellboy and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. While on the subject don't forget to send us an e-mail to let us know if you want us to cover the PSP - at this stage most people seem to be saying yes...

June 23, 2005

    Previews
    Drift Racer isn't a name that would be familiar to many Playstation 2 owners. The game was released in Japan as Kaido Battle, but never made it to America. PAL gamers will be pleased to hear that this very competent racing title will be coming to Europe through Konami late this year. Details are scarce, but here's what we managed to dig up.

    Heroes of the Pacific is shaping up as a very good online World War II flight sim. When you think about it the Playstation 2 hasn't been graced with too many flight sims to date which makes this Codemasters title all the more appealing. Check out the preview for the latest in-game screens and info.

    The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is due for release in a couple of weeks. The previous Hulk game was good if not a little lightweight in terms of gameplay and audio visuals. This game, The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, looks like a much bigger - and more free roaming - title. Check out this preview with the latest screens and info.

June 22, 2005

    Reviews
    Monster Hunter is Capcom's first online title in PAL territories and is a fine way to kick it off. Imagine an online hunting game where the prey is something prehistoric, but the prey also likes to become the hunter. This game looks good, sounds good and is a blast online. Here's our full review.

    Previews
    Sniper Elite is a game you probably haven't heard much about yet and even getting info for doing the preview was hard enough. When it comes to First Person Shooters there is little doubt that the sniper rifle is always a fun weapon to get a hold of. Here's a whole game about it. The game is due out through Ubisoft in a couple of months.

June 21, 2005

    PSP Coverage? It's your choice...
    OK guys. As you know we cover the PS2 here at Future Gamez. You can also be assured that we will be covering the Playstation 3 as that system dominates the world. But we have one question for you and would love some e-mails with your opinions. The Question: Do you want Future Gamez to cover the PSP (Playstation Portable)?

    Previews
    187: Ride or Die is a game to keep an eye on. Imagine a game that combines the speed and racing of Burnout and the action of Grand Theft Auto. Imagine no more. 187 Ride or Die is that game and Ubisoft have a lot of faith in this game being a big one - we do to. Here's the lastest screens and information.

June 20, 2005

    Games News
    Taito has announced that they will be porting their arcade action game Raiden III to Playstation 2 with a release scheduled for September 22nd. No word yet on a US or PAL release.

    Fantastic news for mindless mobile phone users and gamers today with the news that the Playstation 2 (in the UK at least) will be graced by a game based on Crazy Frog. Ohhh the humanity. Can you believe that BS music crap is number one on the music charts over there! Sadly this is one game that we are sorry to say will probably make it to Australia too one day...

    Previews
    Darkwatch is shaping up as a pretty awesome title on Playstation 2. So what do you get when you combine First Person Shooting mayhem with the Wild West and Vampires? Darkwatch, and one hell of a lot of fun. Developed by High Moon Studios this game is being publised in America by Capcom, and in PAL territories by those lovely folk at Ubisoft. Check this awesome game out now...

June 19, 2005

    Games News
    Sony Japan has confirmed that Wanda and Colossus (known as Shadow of the Colossus in Australia and Europe) will be released in Japan on September 8th. The PAL version isn't due out until early 2006.

    Previews
    Top Spin is coming to PS2 folks so get ready. We never really thought we'd see a Microsoft Game Studios title was released on the PS2, but after the companies sell-off that's exactly what is happening. Here's a preview of arguably the best tennis title of all time including the first screens of the PS2 version.

    This Weeks Releases
    A pretty quiet time of the year at the moment as game companies prepare to launch their big Christmas titles in the next couple of months and then start heading to next generation. Still, there has been a couple of titles which are likely to keep gamers playing including one very delayed racing game and a couple of movie tie-ins:

June 17, 2005

    Games News
    Well a bit of a surprise for us today with Electronic Arts confirming that both Batman Begins has shipped to stores about 10 days early - and to coincide with the release of the movie yesterday (BTW The movie is pretty awesome I highly recommend it to everyone). Secondly Medal of Honor: European Assault has also shipped to stores about a week early and should be available now.

    Previews
    Bully is an interesting concept as the game centers around a school and the bullies. To be honest there really isn't a lot of detail about this title yet, but as a game being developed by Rockstar (you know, the makers of GTA we'll take the smallest details. This game is already creating buzz in the leadup to its October release.

June 16, 2005

    Competition Winners
    We've taken a couple of days to pick the winners, but we now have five winners for the Tenchu: Fatal Shadows competition thanks to THQ. The winners are... J. Snoswell, K. van Ek, P. Czachorowski, N. Pendlebury and R. Ricafort. The winners should have an e-mail from us alread. Once again congratulations. Keep your eyes out for a Monster Hunter competition starting within days.

    Game News
    According to rumours circulating on the internet Electronic Arts are preparing Medal of Honor: Airborne as a launch title on Playstation 2. Naturally EA aren't commenting on the rumour however it would be extremely surprising if their premiere FPS didn't make an appearance on PS3 at or soon after launch.

    Previews
    Batman Begins. I was fortunate enough to go to the premiere of this movie recently and it rocked - big time. This inevitable game tie-in looks just as impressive with some splendid visuals and a developer in Eurocom who have a proven track record. Here's a last minute look with a release only days away.

June 14, 2005

    Game News
    Well I hope you all had a great long weekend and what a way to start the new week with Michael Jackson being acquitted. No matter your opinion of him it appears that the prosecuters put up a pretty weak case. I mean you put up the mother of his children to say how bad he is and she only praises him. You tell the jury that he has molested other children and then one of them (Macauley Caulkin) gets up and says it never happened.

    According to MVC Vivendi Universal Games has bought developers Swordfish Studios. The developers are most noted for their World Championship Rugby and are currently working on Rugby 2006 for Hip Games and Codemasters' Ricky Ponting/Brian Lara Cricket.

    Previews
    Final Fight Streetwise was one of the big surprises at this years E3 show with Capcom suprising gamers in a big way. One of the classic games from the 16-bit era was Final Fight... and now it returns with some massive updates! As you expect this has undergone some dramatic changes from the originals with 3D graphics and new gameplay elements.

June 10, 2005

    Game News
    Sony Australia have issued an updated release schedule and there are several big titles which now seem to have dates. The first is the hugely anticipated AFL Premiership 2005 which now has an August release. One game which seems to constantly appear, then disappear and then re-appear is Sony's Everybodys Golf 4 which now seems to have a locked date on September 1st. Another highly anticipated title for PS2 is Genji which is due out in September. That month will also see the release of Spy Toy, Eye Toy Kinetic, Brave and WRC5.

    Well some good news for gamers with a deal being made for voice actors in video games. While the dispute could have seen major strike action gamers can now breathe easy. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have accepted a three-and-a-half year deal whereby union voice actors will receive a 36 percent increase in pay. Although the deal has to be signed off by the unions this should be a formality. The actors will not receive a percentage which was one of their initial demands.

    Reviews
    Area 51. Not many people know what's inside Area 51 but this new game from Midway promises to unravel the secrets. Overall this is a very fun FPS pushing the PS2 to its limits - especially on the graphical side which really are quite impressive. Here's our full verdict on this title which retails here for the slighly lower RRP of only $79.95.

June 9, 2005

    Game News
    Square Enix have confirmed that not only may Final Fantasy XI be released on XBox 360, but a Playstation 3 port is also possible - I guess it may come down to if the PS3 will have a hard drive included - which still isn't a certainty. Square Enix also confirmed that Kingdom Hearts II is abotu 60-70% complete in Japan with a late 2005 release likely.

    Previews
    Just Cause is one of the most impressive new games for Playstation 2 unveiled at this years E3. Before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with the movie from a decade or so ago. Spectacular graphics highlight this late 2005 GTA inspired game. Here's a preview of this stunning looking title - one you won't want to miss.

    Hitman Blood Money is one of those games that you just know will be good. A couple of months ago Eidos confirmed a slight delay to this title, but by early impressions it's shaping up as well as expected with Io Interactive once again developing the title. Here's our full preview with the latest screens.

June 8, 2005

    Games News
    Accordig to The Magic Box Square-Enix has confirmed that the US version of Dragon Quest VIII will have extra features not found in the Japanese version including new intermediate scenes, additional magic spells and special attacks for each character. Meanwhile periperhal developer Hori have confirmed they will release Dragon Quest VIII Slime Controller for $39.99 in America to coincide with the games release.

    Sega of Japan has delayed the release of Dragon Force in that territory from June 30th until August 18th. The game is an updated version of the old classic with improved graphics, sound and more speech and will be available through the Sega Ages label.

    Review
    Altered Beast is out now, but we suggest you read our review before spending the cash on it. The old arcade and home ports were classic titles - even if they weren't the best games. This updated game is a shadow of what we were hoping for.

June 7, 2005

    Games News
    Some of you may have seen the news reports on TV about the new movie, DVD and game classifications here in Australia. I've seen many of these reports and they are a little misleading - some give the indication that all the classification levels apply to games. Indeed I can confirm that there is still no R18+ or X18+ ratings for video games here in Australia - and won't be for at least several more years. We can expect the new labels (which can be seen to the right here) to start appearing on games from this week. Old stock won't be re-stickered however so don't expect these new labels to be on most games for some time. The systems is designed to make it easier for parents to recognise the different classification levels - a good move in our opinion.

June 5, 2005

    Games News
    This press release pretty much speaks for itself with Sony confirming worldwide shipments of 90 million PS2's. That's a pretty impressive figure any way you look at it with Australia contributing 1.5 million sales! Here's the release:

      PlayStation 2 Reaches Cumulative Worldwide Shipment of 90 Million Units

      Tokyo, June 3, 2005 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today that the cumulative production shipment of PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system had reached 90 million units worldwide, as of June 2nd, 2005.

      Since its launch in Japan on March 4th, 2000, sales of PlayStation 2 has grown steadily, securing its place as the most favorite computer entertainment platform in homes around the world. Particularly, the new slim line PlayStation 2 (SCPH-70000 series), which went on sale in November 2004 starting from Japan, has gained strong support around the world and demand for the platform continues to grow steadily, with shipment reaching 16.17 million units in the last fiscal year (ending March 2005) alone. Shipment of 90 million units within 5 years and 3 months since launch is more than 2 years and 3 months faster in penetration speed, compared to the original PlayStation, which has sold more than 100 million units in total.

      On the software side, more than 5,000 game titles are currently available for PlayStation 2 worldwide, with cumulative shipment reaching over 800 million units. Software shipment has been outstanding, recording an all-time high of 252 million units in 2004, with many more new and attractive titles expected to be released from first and third party software developers and publishers.

      With PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, SCEI will create and develop a new world of computer entertainment through the fusion of game, music, movies, and broadcasting.

      PlayStation 2 Cumulative Shipment by Territory (as of June 2, 2005)
      Japan (including Asia (*1)) 21.04 million units (launch date: March 4, 2000)
      North America 36.48 million units (launch date: October 26, 2000)
      Europe/PAL 32.48 million units (launch date: November 24, 2000)
      Worldwide Shipment: 90.00 million units

      (*1) Includes shipment to Asian countries and regions including South Korea.

June 4, 2005

    Games News
    Well we've talked about it in the past and it looks like Battleborne Entertainment's Combat Elite World War II Paratroopers is finally going to get a release - in Europe at lease. Gamers may recall that the game was originally set to be published by Acclaim however the company collapsed before a dispute with the developers over money could be resolved. It has now been confirmed that KOCH Media, parent company to publishing house Deep Silver, picked up the rights to the game at this years E3 show and a PAL release should be released around Q'3 with several enhancements from the older game.

    Square-Enix has confirmed that Final Fantasy XII will be a PS2 exclusive game, but also that PAL gamers will have to wait until 2006 according to Eurogamer.

    Sony Europe has slapped several importers in Europe with cease and decist orders on UK online reatilers over the PSP. The company no longer wants retailers to sell imported machines now that a PAL date has been set (September 1st). Interestingly while some companies are complying and have pulled the stock from sale others are refusing stating that not only are developers buying machines to use, but even some Sony Europe staff!

    Those of you who are Stargate SG-1: The Alliance fans will be pleased to hear that JoWood has secured the rights to use the actors from the TV show for voices. Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, and Christopher Judge will all reprise their roles as Jack O'Neal, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, and Teal "C". The game is being developed at Perception and should be released late this year.

June 2, 2005

    Preview
    Tomb Raider Legend is still quite a way off, it most likely won't be out until 2006, but even at this years E3 the game was making an impact. Lara's back and she's looks better then ever (even with breast de-augmentation!). A new developer has the publisher, Eidos, hoping this latest game will bring back the glory.

    Games News
    SNK Playmore has confirmed that Garou: Mark of the Wolves is in development for the Playstation 2. The game was one of the last released on the Neo Geo and will be released with online gameplay on June 30th. No word yet on a PAL release sadly.

    Capcom has announced expected sales of several upcoming games. One that really stands out is the low expectations for their upcoming Gamecube and PS2 action game Killer 7 which just received an extremely impressive score of 36/40 in Famitsu. Capcom's targets are:

    • Resident Evil Outbreak 2 (PS2, Europe/USA): 550,000 units
    • Killer 7 (PS2/GC, Worldwide): 330,000 units
    • Final Fight Streetwise (PS2/Xbox, Worldwide): 570,000 units
    • Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (PS2, Worldwide): 1,300,000 units
    • Biohazard 4 / Resident Evil 4 (PS2, Worldwide): 2,000,000 units
    • Rockman / Mega Man series (All Platforms, Worldwide): 2,500,000 units

June 1, 2005

    Preview
    God of War is probably the biggest release this month is only 3 weeks away - and we've done a final update with the latest screens. God of War brings to life the brutality and violence of the ancient Greek myths. During the game you will battle giant Cyclops, fearsome Minotaurs, and the deadly Medusa This game looks stunning. Prepare yourselves.


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