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March 16, 2004 - April 14, 2004 - See More Archived News

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
[Industry] Nintendo and Silicon Knights Part Ways - posted by Erich Becker at 10:39 am CDT

Former second-party developer Silicon Knights and Nintendo have parted ways, according to the company and numerous online sources. Silicon Knights, most recently known for Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, is now free to develop future products for Microsoft or Sony's platforms. A door to develop on Nintendo based systems has been left open by the amicable split of the two companies.

Silicon Knights may or may not have been working on a sequel to Eternal Darkness as well as the long-anticipated Too Human, originally scheduled for release on the PlayStation.

The status of the companies properties, notable Eternal Darkness, has not been announced, but the split marks the second time in as many years Nintendo has dropped a second party developer, the first being Rare who were purchased by Microsoft. Nintendo also previously cut ties with Excitebike 64 developer Left Field Productions.

Source: Nintendojo

[Multi] Ubisoft to Publish 'America's Army' for Consoles in '05 - posted by Erich Becker at 10:29 am CDT

Those lucky PC gamers have been enjoying the free "recruitment" tool for nearly two years, now it's time for the console games to get in on the action. Ubisoft has entered into an exclusive agreement with the U.S. Army to publish America's Army for console systems in Summer of 2005. No specific consoles were named in the press release, nor a pricing model for the game, which can be downloaded for free online or picked up for free at recruitment offices around the United States.

America's Army is rated T for teen and is currently available for PC through a number of download avenues. More than 3.3 million people have downloaded and tried the game, and Ubisoft reports that America's Army is one of the top games played online.

Monday, April 12, 2004
[PC] 'Lineage II' and 'City of Heroes' Golden - posted by Erich Becker at 12:58 pm CDT

On April 28, 2004 both Lineage II and City of Heroes will be open for business as both games have gone gold, NCsoft reported today.

Those who pre-order, or will pre-order before the late April release date, will be able to jump into the game three days prior to the retail release of the game. Those who already pre-ordered have been involved in the game's beta testing. NCsoft reports that:

"Players still have time to sign up for the open beta and participate in several challenges and contests created just for the beta test. Free gaming systems, gift certificates, LCD monitors and video cards are among the prizes to be given away. Those who participate in the beta test will not have their characters deleted when the game hits its commercial launch date later this month. More information, including how to sign up for the beta is available on the Lineage II web site, http://www.lineage2.com."

City of Heroes allows the gamer to create a super hero, complete with powers, in an effort to save the people of Paragon City from corrupt corporations and alien hordes. The game will also be available on the 28th. For more on City of Heroes, check out the official site.

Both games will retail for $49.99 and come packaged with a free month of gameplay. Additional months will carry a $14.99 subscription fee and sixty-day gaming cards will be sold at select retailers for $29.99 for gamers without credit cards.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
[Xbox] Neocell Factory Announces Resonance - posted by Erich Becker at 3:03 pm CDT

Neocell Factory sent us a press release today announcing Resonance, an RPG/Survival Horror hybrid that looks to be something different than your standard cookie-cutter fare. The basis of the game is as follows:

"Resonance is the tale of a dark secret, a terrible mystery gnawing at the heart of a troubled kingdom. Faye Wynter, an orphan raised by the king himself and now one of his best agents, is sent to investigate the tragic disappearance of the king’s youngest son. Her special abilities and use of the Resonance make her the ideal choice for this delicate mission. Her inquiry leads her to a remote village where she embarks into a journey of fear and terror that reveals the darkest side of humanity and sheds light on her own origins. Her witchcraft powers won’t be too much against the dangerous zealots, grotesque misfits and evil worshippers she will face along the way."

Resonance is powered by the NDL Gamebryo engine and allows the gamer to take on the third person perspective, akin to Resident Evil or Silent Hill. The game is set for a Q4 2004 release on Microsoft's Xbox with preliminary plans for a PS2 and GameCube port of the title, no release date has ben given to the latter two releases.

Key Features of the game are:
- Survival-Horror/RPG hybrid combines the best of both genres.
- 15 special powers, each with their own distinctive gameplay
- Large arsenal of melee and powder weapons.
- Original dark fantasy setting inspired by the Renaissance.
- Open-ended levels with a variety of environments.
- Dozens of compelling side quests.
- Using Gamebryo engine, from NDL.
- The resonance is also a special power that provides a unique gameplay experience

For more information on the game, check out: www.neocell-factory.com/resonance. We'll give you more once it hits our newsroom.

[Multi] Far Cry Instincts Announced for Consoles - posted by Erich Becker at 1:37 pm CDT

Ubisoft announced Far Cry Instincts, the upcoming console version of the award winning Far Cry for PC. The game is currently scheduled for "next-generation" consoles and is being developed by the team responsible for the original Splinter Cell. The game is being built from the ground up to utilize the technology of the current generation of consoles.

No specified release date was given, but the press release is quoted as saying "...we are confident that Far Cry Instincts will be one of Ubisoft's most striking games this year..." which one can only assume means the game will debut in 2004.

An Xbox version is a given, noting Ubisoft's trend of releasing Xbox versions followed by ports to the PS2 and GCN, but no official word on what console(s) the game will appear on was given.

[Industry] John Woo Options Metroid Movie Rights - posted by Erich Becker at 1:36 pm CDT

Director John Woo has reportedly optioned the rights to Nintendo's Metroid property after the previous holders of the title allowed the rights to expire. Woo, known for his action packed, although thinly-laced plot, films optioned the game through his game studio Tiger Hill Games, reports GameSpot.

A Reuters report quotes Brad Foxhoven, a producer, as saying, "We have to assume the mainstream audience is unfamiliar with the propert. As for the rest of the film, we will stay true to the game and have Samus battling the Metroids and Mother Brain in a fight for control of the galaxy."

The last Nintendo film, Super Mario Bros., was no cinematic masterpiece and other video game to movie adaptations have either gotten stuck in development hell or been met with lackluster reviews. Even Woo's latest film Paycheck left a lot to be desired. Still, the thought of Samus gunning around on the big screen has to make any gamer excited. We will have more as it breaks.

Source: Reuters/GameSpot

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
[PC] Buka Unveils Hellforces - posted by Erich Becker at 2:06 pm CDT

Buka announced their latest game today in the form of Hellforces due out for the PC in Quarter 1 2005. The FPS game will be developed by Orion.

Here's a breakdown of the game's story:

"Experimenting with alternative power sources, the biophysicist Henry Alfred Cole found a way to extract the soul from a human body and use the soul as a power source. The soulless bodies however turned into zombies. Hellish creatures started filling them to change dramatically the essence of the host body.

A daemon from a parallel world, Baphomet, installed himself in one soulless body and soon founded the cult of Lucifer. The aim of this cult was to open the gate for Lucifer to come into the humans’ world. The number of followers of the cult increased at a catastrophic rate; Satanists all around the world were joining their ranks.

The main hero is concerned with the fate of his missing friend, who had had a meeting with the leader of a satanic sect just a day before his disappearance. His persistent investigations become a threat to the Satan worshippers and Satanists start hunting after him. The creepy truth about the fate of his friend will reveal itself in the mansion of the biophysicist...

Clean the earth from the heresy and the minions of Lucifer!"

Key Features include:

- Over 20 trailers, realized on the game engine, 45 NPCs, 24 weapons types and diverse special equipment, including a night vision device, binoculars, movement sensor and so on;
- Infinite crowds of monsters, decaliters of blood, kilograms of lead and tons of trotyl equivalent according to the glorious traditions of the first-person shooter genre;
- Perfect graphical realization with advanced DirectX 9 effects;
- EAX technology allows advanced 3D sound and high-end quality of in-game sound;
- Multiplayer via LAN.

[PC] Ubisoft Announces The New Settlers - posted by Erich Becker at 2:03 pm CDT

Ubisoft today announced its development of the latest game in the Settlers series. Set for release at the end of the year, the new Settlers will feature fully animated 3D environments powered by Criterion(tm)'s next-generation RenderWare(tm) technology. Players will design and develop detailed communities featuring skilled inhabitants with a number of different abilities.

Among a group of very experienced designers, Bruce Milligan contributed to the new Settlers. The American has worked with world-famous designers Sid Meier, Bruce Shelley, and Brian Reynolds and lent his creative style to successful strategy titles in the past.

The new graphics style, taking full advantage of Criterion's Renderware technology, transports gamers into a living medieval environment. In addition, the multiplayer mode is being perfected by Ubisoft's Montreal studio, producer of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell® and Prince of Persia®: The Sands of Time(tm).

[Industry] Call of Duty Action Figures Announced - posted by Erich Becker at 2:00 pm CDT

Plan-B Toys and Radioactive Clown have announced a new series of highly detailed, historically accurate, WWII action figures based on Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) award-winning PC game, "Call of Duty(tm)." Series 1 of the figures will be available in North America and Europe this May.

Call of Duty: Series 1 will include six soldiers, representing American and German military. Each action figure will come equipped with multiple authentic weapons and accessories with an MSRP of $8.99.

[Multi] Fight Night 2004 Ships - posted by Erich Becker at 1:57 pm CDT

EA Sports has shipped Fight Night 2004 for the PlayStation2 and Microsoft Xbox systems. The game is the newest EA Sports series taking over the boxing reigns for the company. The game is published under the EA SPORTS brand and features Light Heavyweight Champion of the World Roy Jones Jr. as its cover athlete.

Hopefully the Madden Curse won't prevail into other genres.

Fight Night 2004 can be had for $49.99 on PS2 and Xbox. For more information check out the the official site.

[PC] Activision Releases Call of Duty: GOTY Edition - posted by Erich Becker at 1:49 pm CDT

Activision announced today that it has released Call of Duty: Game of the Year Edition to retail stores for an MSRP fo $49.99.

"The Call of Duty: Game of the Year edition features Infinity Ward’s original award-winning WWII first person action game in addition to post-release product updates, including a new multiplayer mode and maps, EAX 3 sound support, mapmaking toolkit and multiplayer gameplay enhancements."

Call of Duty is rated T for Teen and should be available today or tomorrow at your local/online retailer of choice. The game comes highly recommended from your's truly who spent a better part of two hours playing through it at Fry's Electronics a few weeks ago.

Monday, March 29, 2004
[Xbox] Ubisoft Addresses Pandora Tomorrow Optimatch Issue - posted by Erich Becker at 11:49 am CDT

Many early adopters of Ubisoft's latest game, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, have noticed that using one of the features of the online, multiplayer component causes the game to crash. Even Penny Arcade ran a comic about the problem over the weekend. Still, here is a letter from Ubisoft addressing the issue in the game:

Attention Gamers:

Some gamers who acquired the Xbox version of Ubisoft's critically acclaimed Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow have experienced problems using the game's online multiplayer features. Specifically, after logging onto Xbox Live and selecting the "optimatch" function, players discovered that waiting for more than about 10 seconds on the optimatch results screen causes the game to freeze indefinitely.

Ubisoft and Microsoft are aware of the issue and are working feverishly to address it.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by frequent freezes in optimatch results. An autoupdate has been made and is currently under approval by Microsoft. We expect it to be available in a few days. We appreciate your patience as we work towards a solution.

Until the autoupdate is available, take care while using Optimatch. Either don't use it at all (rather use quickmatch or your friend list), or if you choose to use optimatch, don't stay more than 12 to 15 seconds in the results page. Choose a game quickly, or press Refresh within 12-15 seconds of having results displayed.

We have also received a few questions concerning a corrupted profile message that appears if players create a profile in single player mode and then attempts to use it in multiplayer mode. You can safely decide to recover it. It will always work and there is no risk losing any information (like saved checkpoints). Afterwards, it will work perfectly fine.

We appreciate your enthusiasm for our games, and we continue to work hard to earn your appreciation. As gamers ourselves, we hope to deliver the most compelling gameplay experiences possible.



[GBA] Nintendo Prepares NES-themed GBA SP - posted by Erich Becker at 10:40 am CDT

Nintendo announced today that a new "limited edition" Game Boy Advance SP will be released on June 7 for an estimated retail price of $99.99. This new edition of the GBA SP is designed to look like the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) controller that so many should remember from the early to mid-1980's.

The system will be launched along with a new classic NES line of games for the SP, the first batch includes:

Donkey Kong
The Legend of Zelda
Super Mario Bros.
Ice Climber

Each game will retail for $19.99 and be available June 7.

Source: GameSpot

[Industry] Portland Man Plays Asteroids for 27 Hours - posted by Erich Becker at 10:28 am CDT

The old school habit of marathon gameplay seems to making somewhat of a comeback. A Portland Man played Asteroids for 27 hours, only to be shut down by a malfunctioning machine. Check out the full news release below from Twin Galaxies:

Marathon Video Gaming Makes Comeback as Portland Man Plays Asteroids for 27 hours

Fairfield, Iowa- March 29, 2004 – It’s been nearly 20 years since a video gamer has played an arcade game for more than a day on a single quarter. In fact, not since Twin Galaxies conducted the 1st Annual Iron Man Contest for the Guinness Book back in July,1985, has a video gamer stepped to the plate intent on breaking a long-standing video game marathon world record.

But, with the Asteroids world record in his sights, Bill Carlton, of Portland, Oregon, lasted 27 hours before his trusty Asteroids machine malfunctioned, ending his run for glory at the Ground Kontrol Arcade – a Portland video game center specializing in classic arcade games from the early 80s.

With 60 classic games to choose from at Ground Kontrol Arcade, Carlton chose Asteroids for his ordeal, with other gamers also signing up for future marathons on other game titles -- a sign that players are ready once again to tackle big ticket records; ones that take days of playing to eclipse, demanding tremendous stamina as much as playing skill.

“Carlton’s 12.7 million points put him in 5th place in the all-time Asteroids rankings,” explains Walter Day, editor of Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the industry’s record book.
“Still, he would have had to play for more than 2 more days to match the 41 million-point record established by Scott Safran back in November, 1982.”

A comprehensive report on the significance of Carlton’s feat has been prepared by Robert Mruczek, Twin Galaxies’ Chief referee and can be found at http://www.twingalaxies.com

“Long-range, high scoring marathons like Carlton’s were the meat and potatoes of the video gaming world back in the early 80s,” says Day, who personally organized many such marathons for Twin Galaxies back in the classic age of gaming. “You were deemed a star if you could take a game for days on a single quarter. It brought tremendous prestige and everybody tried to master their favorite game and marathon it.”

During the heyday of the marathon age, Twin Galaxies found itself monitoring as many as a dozen marathons every weekend – with the biggest crop being held the weekend of April 2-4, 1982, when Twin Galaxies organized the 1982 Defender National Championship, which saw Defender marathons going on simultaneously in 23 different cities around North America. “It was a weekend affair,” remembers Day. “The kids took off Friday from school and started in the morning, playing straight through until Monday.”

Though Rick Smith of Mission Viejo, California won the National Championship that weekend with 33,013,200 million points, he held the title for barely 1 month before Marvin Norton of Thatcher, AZ snatched Smith’s crown away with a 49 million-point marathon.

The most unique marathon conducted during the golden age of gaming, was the 1st Annual Twin Galaxies Iron Man Contest, which offered eight competitors a chance at winning $10,000 in cash if they could keep their game going on one quarter for 100 hours. James Vollandt of California, playing on Joust, lasted the longest with 67-1/2 hours.

To read more about Bill Carlton’s Asteroids marathon, go to www.twingalaxies.com

[Xbox] Microsoft Cuts Xbox Price to $149.99 - posted by Erich Becker at 10:26 am CDT

Microsoft announced today that they have cut the price of the Xbox video game system to $149.99 US and $199.99 CDN. The price drop goes into effect tomorrow, March 30.

In addition to the console price drop, Microsoft announced a number of games have also dropped, or will drop prices. Effective tomorrow Xbox Music Maker will be available for $19.99. Also tomorrow, Project Gotham Racing 2, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, and Counter Strike will retail for $29.99. Finally, Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Voodoo Vince are now available for $19.99.

Sony's PlayStation2 retails for $179.99 and Nintendo's GameCube and Game Boy Advance SP currently sell for $99.99.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
[PC] 'Far Cry' and 'CSI: Dark Motives' Are Available - posted by Erich Becker at 1:38 pm CDT

Some late news today, which got buried in my inbox after being off for four days, but two titles from Ubisoft has shipped and are now ready for you to enjoy.

Far Cry, the long awaited First Person Shooter with the awesome-tastic graphics, and CSI: Dark Motives, the sequel to the original CSI: game, have both shipped and should be available at retail today or tomorrow. Both games carry an "M" rating.

[Xbox] Buy 'Pandora Tomorrow,' Win a Free Year of Live - posted by Erich Becker at 1:34 pm CDT

No, not the band, you could win a free year of Xbox Live by being one of the first people to buy up Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow from Ubisoft. Here's how it works:

Those who purchase one of the first retail copies of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow have a chance of winning a 12-month Xbox Live subscription card, good for free online play on Xbox Live! With a 1 in 13 chance of winning, gamers have a fantastic opportunity to play an entire year of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow on Xbox Live ($49.99 retail value) for free!

Out of the first 650,000 copies of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow sold, copies that do not include a 12-month subscription card will contain a two-month Xbox Live free trial. Either way, gamers can’t lose as they embark on their journey to experience the world’s first truly global online console gaming service.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow fans will also have the opportunity to win one of five golden tickets, awarding them a state-of-the-art Kenwood home theater system, including Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, Dolby Pro Logic II and DSP surround sound, six matching speakers, an 8-inch powered subwoofer and 750 watts of system power—everything you need for the ultimate gaming experience! The sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada (excluding NY, RI, FL, QC and Puerto Rico) who are over the age of 18. Full official rules can be viewed at www.splintercell.com/win at the start of the promotion, which runs through December 31, 2004.

Pandora Tomorrow hits the streets on March 31, 2004. For more information on the game check out www.splintercell.com.

[PC] NCsoft Announces 'Lineage II' Open Beta for March 28 - posted by Erich Becker at 1:30 pm CDT

NCsoft announced today that the open beta phase of testing for the upcoming Lineage II will begin on March 28, 2004 at 12:00AM PST, and will last until April 28, 2004, the commercial release of the game.

Also of note, any characters created during the open beta test will NOT be deleted at the start of the commercial game allowing for those who participate in the beta to continue using the same character.

Also of note: Those participating in the beta will also be eligible to compete in several challenges created just for the beta test. Free gaming systems, gift certificates, LCD monitors and video cards are among the prizes to be given away. Drawings and prizes will be awarded to the top 10 clans (based on clan level plus total clan member levels), the first players to reach level 20 and level 40, screenshot of the week winners and players who create the best game trailers.

Everyone who registers for an account will be allowed to participate in the free open beta testing phase of the game. In order to register for an account and download the game, players should visit http://www.lineage2.com.

[PC] NDL's Gamebryo Utilized for 'Zoo Tycoon 2' - posted by Erich Becker at 1:25 pm CDT

NDL announced today that developer Blue Fang Games is utilizing its Gamebryo graphics engine and tool on the upcoming Zoo Tycoon 2 to be released this fall.

"Gamebryo is a real-time 3D graphics engine and tools used in the creation of computer and video games for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. The technology is widely used in top-selling computer and video games with developers giving NDL high praise for enabling them to more easily create, modify and enhance content from prototype to gold master."

"Zoo Tycoon 2 will provide gamers with the challenge of building the ultimate zoo. With the implantation of Gamebryo in conjunction with Blue Fang's internal technology, the virtual zoo features enhanced 3D graphics and engaging gameplay for simulation game fans of all ages. Blue Fang is creating incredibly detailed 3D animals with new animations and an array of building tools and objects, including powerful terrain-altering options, scenery, foliage, themed buildings and animal shelters."

Look for the game, powered by Gamebryo, to be released this fall. Microsoft Game Studios will publish the title.

[PC] Enlight to Bring 'Trackmania' to North America - posted by Erich Becker at 1:22 pm CDT

Enlight Interactive announced today that they will bring Nadeo's Trackmania to North America after a successful holiday launch in Europe. The game is described as, "...a hybrid racing game with elements of Stunt Car Racer, Wipeout and PipeMania, has struck a cord with players who love heart pounding racing but are tired of the work involved in playing overly realistic racing simulations."

Also included in the North American release will be enhanced internet play, a unique avatar system, and a new survival mode, ghost competition cars, and 60 new building blocks.

Expect the title to debut in June. For more information on the game check out www.trackmania.com.

[PC] 'Pandora Tomorrow' Multiplayer Demo Tomorrow - posted by Erich Becker at 1:16 pm CDT

Ubisoft announced today that the PC multiplayer demo of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow will be available tomorrow (pun not intended) at 9:00AM PST on the official Pandora Tomorrow site at www.splintercell.com.

"Over the Internet, gamers will experience a revolution in online gameplay: for the first time in gaming, players can play from a third-person perspective against others playing in first person. In third-person perspective, play as a SHADOWNET spy achieving Third Echelon's objectives as you infiltrate hostile ground. From a first-person point of view, play as an ARGUS mercenary, tracking and eliminating the intruding SHADOWNET spies. This innovation in perspectives allows the online game to create an incredible tension totally new to gaming. With an offline story as compelling as the original Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell® and a revolutionary online component, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell® Pandora Tomorrow is one of the most anticipated games of 2004."

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell® Pandora Tomorrow Multiplayer Demo (60Mo) features

  • Mount Hospital level.

  • Neutralization game mode: Shadownet spies must find hazardous units and neutralize them. Mercenaries must protect these units even if it means eradicate the intruders.

  • Default gadgets are available: Spies: smoke grenades, chaff grenades, sticky cameras, alarm snares.

  • Mercenaries: Frag grenades, tazer, mines, spy traps.

  • Parameters: 10 minutes length games, limited respawns for both Shadownet spies (4) and Argus mercenaries (3), 10 seconds respawn length.

  • A configuration test when launching the game

For more information about the multiplayer mode, check out www.splintercell.com

[PC] Activision adds New Music to 'True Crime' for PC Release - posted by Erich Becker at 1:10 pm CDT

Activision is adding 32 new rock tracks to the upcoming PC release of True Crime: Streets of LA.

"The game’s 32 additional tracks also feature music from Alice in Chains, Queensryche, Spineshank, Stone Sour, Static-X, The Donnas, Genitorturers, The Distillers, Killswitch Engage, The Explosion, Mojo Rib, and Prototype. True Crime: Streets of L.A. PC will contain all the slammin’ hip-hop music from the console soundtrack performed by such renowned West Coast hip-hop artists as Snoop Dogg, Westside Connection (Ice Cube, Mac 10 and WC), Warren G, KAM, Jayo Felony, Boo Yaa Tribe, Easy-E Jr., and many others."

One of my biggest complaints in my review of the game was the lack of variety in the music, relying too much on hip-hop acts, and not enough on rock bands. It seems Activision has heard my call. The PC version also adds GameSpy and LAN support for multiplayer action.

The "M" Rated game will be available this spring for the PC and is already available for the GameCube, PlayStation2, and Xbox.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
[PC] City of Heroes Beta/Pre-Order Details - posted by Erich Becker at 1:54 pm CDT

Pre-order customers will be let in to the Beta in controlled groups (by the thousands) beginning March 22nd! All Pre-order customers are GUARANTEED entry to the Beta by April 7th. Your best chance to get into the Beta is by reserving your copy of City of Heroes now!

The Details:

1) What’s in it for me if I Pre-order City of Heroes?
We’ve gone to great lengths to “reward” gamers who reserve City of Heroes. Here’s a quick list of all the perks:

  • GUARANTEED entry to BETA

  • A head start on the Production Servers early!
  • All Pre-order customers will get to jump in the weekend before Launch!

  • Cool concept art, e-comic, screen shots and trailer on the limited-run pre-order bonus disc.

  • Receive a special “Sprint Prestige Power” (type varies by retailer)

  • Reserve a Character Name for Launch! (see details below)

  • Most importantly-You don’t want to miss out on the most novel, exciting experience to hit the MMORPG market.

2) I want to get into the beta-what can I do to increase my chances of being invited?
The only way to GUARANTEE entry into the Beta is to reserve a copy of the game and receive a free Pre-order bonus disc (this typically requires $10 down payment, but is subject to variation based on the specific retailer)

3) How soon will Pre-order customers be invited to the Beta?
Starting March 22nd we will be randomly adding Pre-order customers by the thousands. All customers are guaranteed entry to Beta by April 7th.

4) Are there other ways to receive a Beta invite?
Absolutely. We’ll be hosting a Public Beta Sign-up within the next couple of weeks. Also, keep any eye out on all the major online gaming sites as they will be hosting Beta account contests and giveaways. However, the majority of the people to be added to the Beta between now and launch will be pulled from the pre-order registration pool.

5) How does the character name reservation system work?

  • To reserve a Character Name for Launch, a player must have participated in the Beta.

  • The Character Name in the first slot of the in-game “character selection screen” will be reserved.

  • These names will only be reserved for two weeks after launch, at which time the reserved name lists will no longer be valid.

6) Will I be able to use my Beta Character in release?
We will be wiping the Beta databases before launch. However, ONLY Pre-order customers will be given a 3-day head start on the production servers.

7) A Re-cap of Dates to Know:

  • March 22nd – Begin Adding Pre-order Customers to Beta

  • March 29th – Host Public Beta Sign-up

  • April 7th – All Pre-Order Customers Invited to Beta

  • April 14th – Randomly Selected Public Beta Invites Sent Out

  • April 22nd – Beta shutdown to prepare for Launch

  • April 25th – 3-Day Pre-order only Head Start

  • April 28th – Launch!

[PC] Call of Duty Mapmaking Video Interview from iFilms - posted by Erich Becker at 1:44 pm CDT

To go along with the current Call of Duty Official Mapmaker Competition, iFilms has put up a video interview with members of the Infinity Ward team where they talk about what goes into a good map and a quick run through the tools provided. You can see the video right here.

For more information on the contest, and the all-expense paid trip to L.A., if you with, check this out

[PlayStation2] EA Announces Eyetoy Support for the next Harry Potter Game - posted by Erich Becker at 1:40 pm CDT

Electronic Arts announced today that the upcoming video game based on Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will support Sony's Eyetoy. Here's the low down on how the device will be used in the game:

To utilize the EyeToy feature, players start out by donning the Sorting Hat(tm) and are sorted into their respective Hogwarts house. In addition, gamers can experience a variety of Mini-Games, including:

- Chocolate Frogs: Clap your hands together to catch a Chocolate Frog and make a nice, chocolaty mess!

- Exploding Snap: A popular pursuit of Hogwarts pupils, Exploding Snap requires players to match their cards with the snap card to create explosions and increase their score. Chaining correct matches together produces even more explosions!

- Seeker Practice: Now everyone can improve his or her seeker skills by attempting to catch the ever-elusive Golden Snitch(tm) - just watch out for the Bludger!

- Zonko's Joke Shop: There's only one way to stop Dungbombs! Use Frog Spawn Soap to explode all Dungbombs onscreen; Hiccough Sweets causes them to jump and Stink Pellets slow them down.

The game, which ships under the EA GAMES(tm) brand, is scheduled for release in May 2004 for the PlayStation 2, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(tm), Game Boy® Advance, and PC. EyeToy functionality will only be available for the PlayStation 2 platform.

[PlayStation2] VU Games Ships The X-Files: Resist or Serve to Retail - posted by Erich Becker at 1:35 pm CDT


Conspiracies, Paranormal Chaos & Bone-Chilling Terror Can Now be Found on Store Shelves

LOS ANGELES, CA - (March 16, 2004) - Vivendi Universal Games announced that the video game The X-Files: Resist or Serve has arrived at retail stores nationwide. The X-Files phenomenon has been combined with the best elements of a next-generation survival horror game to create an engrossing gameplay experience. Developed by Black Ops Entertainment for the PlayStation*2 computer entertainment system, The X-Files: Resist or Serve is a third-person action adventure game spanning three unique episodes created by the executive producers of The X-Files.

Play through the game as either of the two main characters, Agent Mulder or Agent Scully, each with their own unique abilities. While on the path to solve the mysteries they uncover and survive the ongoing nightmare surrounding them, players will interact with familiar characters and environments that have been faithfully recreated from The X-Files television show. With the inclusion of authentic voiceovers from the entire cast including David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, a haunting score and music created by the composers responsible for the music behind the television show and a storyline that fits into the timeline of The X-Files' seventh season, players are immersed into The X-Files experience.

The X-Files: Resist or Serve is available now on PlayStation 2 for a suggested retail price of $29.99 with an ESRB "Mature" rating. For more information, log onto www.vugames.com

[PC] Microsoft Announces Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - posted by Erich Becker at 1:32 pm CDT

EverQuest Creator Announces New MMORPG, "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes"

REDMOND, Wash. - March 16, 2004 - Microsoft(r) Game Studios and Sigil Games Online Inc. today announced that "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes," a next-generation massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG), is currently in development for the Windows(r) platform. Brad McQuaid, one of the game industry's most renowned designers and co-creator of "EverQuest," is leading a star-studded team of MMORPG veterans to create the next evolution in the genre.

"Sigil's unparalleled expertise and experience in the field will bring groundbreaking advances to the genre," said McQuaid, president and CEO of Sigil Games Online. "In recent years we've become concerned with a growing trend to water down gameplay in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. At Sigil, we're designing our game for the existing MMORPG gamer who is looking for both new challenges and new rewards. On one level, 'Vanguard' combines everything we've learned from MMORPGs: their strengths, their deficiencies and how to address them. Even more important, we plan to introduce a whole new level of gameplay that represents, in our opinion, the logical evolution of the MMORPG genre."

The "Vanguard" team includes McQuaid and Steve Clover, both of whom co-authored the original design document and led the design team for "EverQuest." McQuaid then served as the producer on "EverQuest," with Clover driving development as lead programmer. Working with McQuaid as "Vanguard's" co-producer is Jeff Butler, who also co-produced the "EverQuest" expansion "The Ruins of Kunark" and later served as producer on the highly successful expansions "The Scars of Velious" and "The Shadows of Luclin." Rounding out the "Vanguard" leadership team is art director Keith Parkinson, the award-winning artist responsible for the painted box art for the original "EverQuest" and several later expansions. More information about "Vanguard: Saga of Heroes" can be found at the official site at http://www.vanguardsoh.com/.

[Industry] QUAKECON 2004 Information - posted by Erich Becker at 1:30 pm CDT


MESQUITE, Texas - March 16, 2004 - Pack the car, buy the airline ticket, or get a new pair of walking shoes - just do whatever it takes to be at QuakeCon 2004. The 9th annual QuakeCon video game festival and tournament storms into town August 12-15 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. This annual fan pilgrimage to the largest, most awe-inspiring North American LAN event will be a four day adrenaline-pumping party with 5,000 of your closest friends. With 24 hour-a-day entertainment, action, and activities QuakeCon is open to video game fans worldwide completely free of charge. First-come, first-serve online registration for QuakeCon 2004 will begin at 9:00 PM EST on Wednesday, April 14 at www.quakecon.org.

"QuakeCon is the Woodstock of gaming, with thousands of fans from around the world coming together for 4-days of non-stop competition, parties, and just hanging out with friends," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. "QuakeCon attendees expect the biggest and best -- they won't be disappointed. There simply is no equal." The new venue will house the largest-ever BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area accommodating 3,000 players, an increase of 1,000 seats from last
year's packed house of 2,000.

The four-day event will erupt with contests, workshops, hardware and software demos/exhibits, give-aways, loud parties and white-knuckle tournament action - attracting top players from around the globe. To reserve a room, call the Gaylord Texan at 866-782-7897. To receive special negotiated room rates of $109 for single or double occupancy and $119 for triple or quad occupancy, QuakeCon attendees should inform the reservation desk that they'll be at the hotel for QUAKECON. Additional information regarding the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center is available at www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylordtexan.


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