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July 06, 2004 - August 26, 2004 - See More Archived News

Thursday, August 26, 2004
[Multi] Midway Announces 'L.A. Rush' - posted by Erich Becker at 1:07 pm CDT

Midway announced, yesterday via IGN, that the next installment in the critically-praised/gamer-loved Rush series will be released next Spring. The game, titled L.A. Rush, moves the series from the hills of San Fran into the busy streets of Los Angeles.

The game itself seems to be inspired by the Burnout series, GTA, and the rise of import racing games like SRS and NFS: Underground. Of course, let's not forget old school Rush with crazy jumps and over-the-top racing.

Here's a game summary from IGN:

"As for the act of driving itself, it's been confirmed that the game will be completely free-roaming with a mission-based structure and a series of new challenges that aren't necessarily tied to traditional racing. Additionally, players can look forward to experiencing cop chase, cross-traffic, and gridlock situations, while old-school gameplay elements like jumps and extreme shortcuts make their return as well. To make things even interesting, Midway has also included a number of different gameplay modes and more than 50 licensed street and concept cars. The variety of these automobiles should be vast too, with numerous kinds of muscle cars, SUVs, and import tuners. There will even be customizable parts and designs licensed by real companies with concepts provided by the aforementioned West Coast Customs. Midway has even alluded to celebrity voice-overs and a licensed soundtrack as well, but the details of such have not yet been finalized."

The game will be released for the PlayStation2 and Xbox next spring. As with Midway's recent announcement in bringing Mortal Kombat back to the GameCube, we can only hope for the same thing with Rush.

Source: IGN

[Multi] Thomas Jane to Voice 'The Punisher' - posted by Erich Becker at 12:30 pm CDT

Thomas Jane will provide his voice to THQ's upcoming Punisher game, but not his likeness, GameSpot reports. The in-game character design is taken from the Marvel comic book of the same name, rather than Jane.

While no reason was given, many believe it can be attributed to the film's disappointing box office results.

The Punisher (aka Frank Castle) will be dispatching criminals on PS2 and Xbox later this year and jumping home on DVD September 7th.

Source: GameSpot

[Multi] 'Burnout 3' Site Launches - posted by Erich Becker at 12:29 pm CDT

Electronic Arts has opened the doors to the basic version of the official website for Burnout 3: Takedown due early September on PS2 and Xbox.

More content, including samples from the game's licensed music tracks, are forthcoming.

Check out the site right here: Burnout 3 Official Website

Source: EA/GameSpot

[Xbox] 'Fable' Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 12:27 pm CDT

Microsoft announced today that the highly anticipated RPG Fable from Peter Molyneux has gone gold. The game, developed by Big Blue Box in conjunction with Lionhead Studios, will be on store shevles September 14 for the Xbox.

The game allows you, the gamer, to take a character through a literal lifetime of experiences. Your actions throughout your life shape the type of person you are and how you are treated in the game based on skills, reputation, and physical appearence.

Look for the $49.95 game to be appear in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, August 23, 2004
[PC] 'Evil Genius' Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 10:55 am CDT

NOTE: The game actually went gold on Thursday, but better late than never, right?...right?

Vivendi Universal Games announced today that the PC strategy/simulation game Evil Genius has gone gold and will ship to retail stores worldwide on September 28th. A trial version of the game will be released on the Internet on Monday, August 30th.

More information about Evil Genius can be found at the official website: http://www.howevilareyou.com/.

In Evil Genius gamers assume the role of a wicked mastermind bent on achieving global domination through the construction of the ultimate doomsday device. A tongue-in-cheek take on the 60's spy thriller genre, Evil Genius offers the chance to be the villain and control a secret island fortress complete with powerful (and strangely dressed) henchmen, mindlessly loyal minions and a wide range of hilarious gizmos.

All the everyday tasks of the megalomaniac are available to experience as players build a secret base, train minions, gain infamy and notoriety by completing daring missions, toy with the forces of justice by setting clever traps, torture captives with ingenious devices, and develop evil super weapons to complete a nefarious master plan.

[PC] 'Saga of Ryzom' Beta Re-Opens Aug. 30th - posted by Erich Becker at 10:51 am CDT

Now is the time to join the community of Ryzom! Starting today, Nevrax, an online game and software development company, will begin a ten-day ramp-up of the closed “focus beta” test of The Saga of Ryzom, leading up to a complete re-opening of the Ryzom Beta on August 30th for a final testing period prior to the game’s launch in September.

Nevrax also announced today the details of a special advanced test server that will be opening when the game launches in North America. The advanced test server will be where all new features will be tested there before being live, and advanced testers will be the first to try out new missions and other updates.

In order to test on the advance server you must either pre-order Ryzom or be specifically invited.

For those interested in participating in the Open Beta:

- The Open Beta officially starts at 5:00am (ET)/9:00 am GMT on Monday August 30th, and will end Thursday, September 14th.
- You will need a valid account to participate. If you need an account, register here!
- Client downloads will be available via BitTorrent, direct download, and both GameDaily and Fileplanet.
- All civilizations and territories will be available.

[Multi] VU Games Taps Sean Astin for 'Men of Valor' - posted by Erich Becker at 10:46 am CDT

VU Games announced today that the company has tapped Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) to portray a character in the upcoming Vietnam first-person-shooter, Men of Valor.

In Men of Valor, Astin voices the role of the novice, yet confident radioman Pat Hodges, better know to the squad as "Mouth." In this action-packed realistic portrayal of the Vietnam War, "Mouth," who is never seen without his backpack radio, speaks directly to the player, calling in fire and artillery support. In order to succeed, gamers must pay close attention to "Mouth's" directions during their quest to defeat the Vietcong and complete the game's daunting missions while in the humid and chaotic jungles of Southeast Asia.

Men of Valor is developed by 2015 and will be released on October 26 for Microsoft Xbox and the PC.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
[PC] New 'Massive Assault: Phantom Renaissance' Screens - posted by Erich Becker at 7:44 am CDT

Wargaming.net has released 30 new screenshots of the upcoming Massive Assault: Phantom Renaissance due to be released in Q1 2005. As you can tell from the screens, the game looks amazing. With a new interface, new units, new "Career" mode, and new planets the game is looking like something special in the turn-based strategy world.

You can find the new screens right here.

[PC] Exotypos Releases 'No Brakes: 4x4 Racing' - posted by Erich Becker at 7:39 am CDT

Exotypos announced today that they have released No Brakes: 4x4 Racing for the PC. The $14.95 game allows you to take the wheel behind 11 different jeeps and take on 10 off-road tracks.

For more on the game, here's the company line:

"No Brakes: 4x4 Racing puts gamers behind the wheel of 11 real-world jeeps and gives the chance to master all aspects of their driving skills on 10 awe-inspiring tracks in the single-player mode or start a head-to-head competition with up to 8 other gamers in the multiplayer with the ultimate goal to come out on top. Players will be surprised at the total realism of the game that features immersive 3D graphics with diversely themed environments. With excellent physics model and advanced levels of car responsiveness, the game offers the most authentic 4x4 racing experience ever including life-like car behavior and car body deformations. Thanks to freely adjustable cameras, gamers may enjoy watching the movie of their race recorded the way they want. In addition to 16 fresh mp3 tracks, the game allows playing any other selected music files. Play No Brakes: 4x4 Racing and it will deliver the authentic intensity, passion and dynamism that can only be found in real 4x4 races. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.exotypos.com/games.html"

The demo allows you try out the game, while the full version features all of the items referenced above.

[Industry] Jesper Kyd's 'Hitman' Symphony Performed Tonight - posted by Erich Becker at 7:34 am CDT

Danish-born music artist and composer Jesper Kyd (www.jesperkyd.com) today announced his award-winning symphonic score for the best-selling HITMAN™ series will be performed tonight in concert by members of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. The live performance takes place during the opening ceremony of the annual GC-Games Convention held at the Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, Germany.

Kyd’s live orchestral score for HITMAN 2: SILENT ASSASSIN was originally recorded with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Hungarian Radio Choir. The music featured in the game’s high profile promotional videos on MTV, G4TechTV, Spike TV, SciFi Channel, Comedy Channel, USA Network and VH1. The soundtrack was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Music at the Vault Network Awards and nominated as a finalist for GameSpot Best Music Award on PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The HITMAN 2: SILENT ASSASSIN soundtrack album also received the Editor’s Choice Gold Award from PSE2 Magazine. Most recently, GameSpot highlighted the HITMAN series as one of the all-time great soundtracks in "A History Of Video Game Music."

Thursday, July 22, 2004
[PC] 'Half-Life 2' Gold in August? - posted by Erich Becker at 11:03 am CDT

Several other websites are reporting this very same thing, so I thought we would jump on the bandwagon as well. HL2 World brings us a quote from Gabe Newell of Valve as saying, "Right now we are looking at our bug numbers. Each day you fix some bugs and you find some new bugs. The net number tells you how quickly you will get to zero. At our current rate of find/fix bugs, we'll be down to zero bugs in 16 days."

If that holds true, Half-Life 2, easily one of the most anticipated games...ever...will go gold the same week (maybe even the day) that equally anticipated game Doom 3 is released.

Half-Life 2, originally thought to be ready for release last year at this very same time, was delayed because of the high-profile theft of the game's source code. While no official release date has ever been given for the game, we can only hope that game will be done soon, seeing as how some of us are already pumping $400+ into getting our rigs ready for Doom 3.

We'll have more, when there is more...

[Xbox] 'Sudeki' Now Available for Xbox - posted by Erich Becker at 10:53 am CDT

Microsft Game Studios announced today that Sudeki, and Xbox exclusive RPG developed by Climax Group, is now available at retail. The game carries an MSRP of $49.95 and will be released for the European market in August.

Four heroes -- a sultry wizardress, a soaring gunslinger, a powerful swordsman and a dark huntress --are about to be hurtled over the edge in a flight into a world of darkness and evil. Sudeki pushes the limits of what an RPG can be by providing bigger worlds, more powerful heroes and sexier heroines; all set in the context of fantastical real-time action. In a world ripped apart by deceit, Sudeki players become heroes on a twisting path of betrayal, real-time combat and unbelievable magic.

[PS2] 'ESPN NFL 2K5' First Impressions - posted by Erich Becker at 10:49 am CDT

Truth be told I didn't know quite what to expect when I heard about the $19.99 price drop and expedited release date, but I'm not sure anyone else did either. Suddenly one of the industry's biggest names in gaming announces that one of the biggest, and most successful, franchises has taken on the persona of a budget title, you might be a bit worried. But those worries were unfounded, and after spending only very little time with ESPN NFL 2K5, I can honestly say it is the best football game I have ever played.

I'm a longtime fan of the NFL 2K series, starting with NFL 2K1 on Dreamcast, I always had a thing for Sega's series. Sure, 2K1 did have its faults, but being one of the pioneering games for SegaNET and finally giving gamers the opportunity to play online, against their friends, or enemies, was revolutionary back in the day. Last year I decided to give Madden a try, and see if EA Sports' series had made any improvements over the years. Madden 2004 was a great game, and the atmosphere it provided, along with great music, animation, and graphics was any pigskin fan's dream come true. But the game seriously needed some help on the ground, as the running game felt broken at times, and incomplete at others. While it is hard to describe in this form, I just couldn't get the feel for the gameplay as it left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Sega Sports fans who have defected to the EA camp, or those gamers who are looking for a great game, no matter what the cost, you won't have any buyer's remorse for picking up 2K5.

The ESPN integration is, bar-none, one of the best aspects of the game. Every menu, every info-graphic, every video cut is recreated perfectly from the source material of Sunday Night Football. Chris Berman's intro, halftime show, and recaps look and sound like the real thing (sans some annoying lip-sync problems), and at times, you may actually forget you are playing a game.

One of the neat features is the replay cuts of big plays, but since the play clock continues to run during these stylized scenes you can simply tap X and continue to watch, while picking your next play rather than completely skipping them, like previous years.

Notably absent from the main menu is the Season mode, which was somewhat disappointing, but you can take over a season in the newly revamped Franchise Mode which I haven't been able to dive into yet.

My first game was the Bucs (me) versus the Arizona Cardinals (my hometown team, for shame). Even in digital form the Cardinals should just forfeit every game, but that is another story. Playing at the default ("Pro") level, I managed to shutout the ailing desert team 27-0 with the Cards throwing 6 interceptions. Not having played last year's game, I had heard that bobbled and batted balls were a big part of the passing game, and while I had my share last night, I owe them up to the fact I was getting used to the controls and picking plays solely based on either run or pass, and not lineup configuration.

As for the presentation of the game, the graphics are beautiful on PS2 and, again from what I have already read online, the Xbox version is even prettier. Sound is also very well done even with the somewhat-cheesy commentary. After scoring 3 touchdowns and a single field goal the commentators took a look at my drives, complete with two punts and an INT, and said I couldn't make anymore costly mistakes. Since when does being up 24-0 indicate problems in my offense?

While I haven't dived into the robust Franchise Mode (complete with coaching and training regiments) or explored some of the other features and gimmicks (think First Person Football), my time with ESPN NFL 2K5 has been nothing short of immensely fun, and for the $20 price tag, you really shouldn't miss out on it.

Look for a review of ESPN NFL 2K5 in the coming weeks here at ESCMAG.

Thursday, July 15, 2004
[DS] EA Announces 'The Urbz' for Nintendo DS - posted by Erich Becker at 11:44 am CDT

Electronic Arts announced today that the company will publish a version of the upcoming simulation game, The Urbz: Sims in the City, for the Nintendo DS. The game, developed in conjunction with Griptonite Games, will ship in November 2004, at the supposed launch of the new handheld system.

The Urbz will use the unique capabilities of the DS by allowing users to interface with the game via the lower touch screen, as well as including exclusive items and other features.

"We're thrilled that this new franchise is the first from Electronic Arts to illustrate the power of the Nintendo DS," said Sinjin Bain, Vice President and Executive Producer. "On the Nintendo DS, we are able to do things with The Urbz(tm): Sims in the City (tm) that we could not do with any other console. Like the system itself, this game is completely unique. Never before have Sims players been able to unleash their alter egos in an urban environment - complete with the sounds, scenes and settings of the city."

No specific release date or price point was available at this time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
[PC] More 'Fallout 3' Information - posted by Erich Becker at 1:05 pm CDT

GameSpot has put up an interview with Fallout 3 executive producer Todd Howard and how the Fallout franchise will evolve in Bethesda's hands. Check out the full interview right here.

[PC] CONFIRMED: 'DOOM3' Gold; Ships 08/02 - posted by Erich Becker at 12:47 pm CDT

The rumors proved to be true in this case, id's latest game, the thrid in the DOOM series, is finally done. The game has entered manufacturing and will be available starting August 2, 2004.

Once again, DOOM3 is done!

[Multi] 'ESPN NFL 2K5' is Gold; In Stores 07/20 - posted by Erich Becker at 10:11 am CDT

Sega and Take-Two announced that the budget priced ESPN NFL 2K5 has gone gold and will be on store shelves next Tuesday, July 20th. Don't let the budget price fool you, this is a complete game with all the features you have come to love since the series debuted on Dreamcast.

As an avid player of both the Madden and NFL2K series, I have always favored Sega's series to EA's, mainly because Madden's running game is horrible.

Look for the game to fly off shelves as buzz for the title is increasing as the release date gives the game a month's head start ahead of Madden 2005.

ESPN NFL 2K5 will be available for the PlayStation2 and Microsoft Xbox on July 20th for an MSRP of $19.99.

Look for a review on ESCMAG as soon as possible.

[Multi] 'The Roots' Website Goes Live - posted by Erich Becker at 9:58 am CDT

The official website to Tannhauser Gate's upcoming RPG-hybrid, The Roots, has gone live with the announcement of The Roots: Gates of Chaos for N-Gage. You can check out the official site and get the low down on the game by clicking right here.

The Roots is set for release September 3, 2004 on PC and Xbox. No release date was given for the N-Gage exclusive Gates of Chaos.

[PC] Bethesda Picks up 'Fallout 3' - posted by Erich Becker at 9:53 am CDT

Bethesda Softworks, the award winning company behind Elder Scrolls, announced on Monday that they have aquired the rights to develop and publish the next game in the long running Fallout series, Fallout 3. The game was thought to be dead ealier this year when Interplay closed the Black Isle studio, responsible for the previous two games, and reportedly stopped development on the highly-anticipated release.

Bethesda said, in an interview with GameSpot, that it is too early to tell on whether or not the development team will use game material already completed by Interplay, or if the game will be a PC only title. The development team is known for the third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective, rather than the fixed, isometric view. How that will factor into Fallout 3's development remains to be seen.

The deal also secures Bethesda with the rights to Fallout 4 and Fallout 5, should the company choose to develop them.

While this is all good news for RPG and Fallout fans, it seems as though these business dealings have put the game's release far into the future. Regardless of the wait, I'm just happy to see Fallout 3 back on a release list.

We will have more when it becomes available.

[Multi] 'NCAA Football 2005' Now Available - posted by Erich Becker at 9:47 am CDT

EA Sports announced today that NCAA Football 2005, the next game in the long running college football series, is available at retail. The game, available for the PlayStation2, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox is rated "E" for Everyone and marked with an MSRP of $49.99.

Here's a run down of some of the game's features straight from EA:

"For the first time in a football videogame, the game day atmosphere around the field and in the stadium will affect the players on the field in NCAA Football 2005. Visiting teams will have to fight crowd noise when calling plays while home teams can play off of the thunderous support from their fans. Featuring the Top 25 Toughest Places to Play, players can compete in the most elite stadiums across the country including LSU's "Death Valley," "The Swamp" at Florida, Michigan's "Big House," and Nebraska's "Sea of Red."

With the new Match-Up Stick, gamers can track the crowd's impact on each player, then find and exploit key personnel mismatches. Players can use the Composure Meter to recognize which players are rattled and to determine the players they can count on in critical situations. After big plays, players can celebrate in style with new team-specific fan celebrations like the Gator Chomp and Texas Hook 'Em Horns. NCAA Football 2005 also features the deepest Dynasty Mode(tm) to date where players can build up their schools, transform young players into rising stars and monitor program integrity."

NCAA Football 2005 is available for online play on the PlayStation2 and Microsoft Xbox via Xbox Live.

Go Sun Devils!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004
[Multi] 'Far Cry: Instincts' Delayed till Q1 2005 - posted by Erich Becker at 10:59 am CDT

Ubisoft announced today that their upcoming console port of Far Cry, Far Cry Instincts, has been delayed until Q1 2005. The reason? "The new ship date will ensure that both the Xbox and PS2 versions have the same impressive graphics and unique immersive gameplay elements as the highly-regarded Far Cry™ PC version."

Early buzz coming out of E3 was less than positive for the first person shooter, so, hopefully, this delay will allow the development team more time to refine the game for consoles.


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