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August 13, 2002 - August 22, 2002 - See More Archived News

Thursday, August 22, 2002
[Console] Street Hoops Ships for PS2, XBox - posted by Andy Grieser at 10:49 am CDT


Santa Monica, CA -- Aug. 22, 2002 -- Playground basketballers everywhere can now get their game on street-style with Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) Street Hoops (tm) for the PlayStation Ò 2 computer entertainment system and Xbox Ô video game system from Microsoft. The game features a slammin' soundtrack, authentic apparel, notorious courts like NYC's The Cage and Rucker Park, and a roster of playground legends including 1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing, Headache, Hot Sauce and more, as featured in the AND 1 Mix Tape Series. Street Hoops is currently available at retail outlets nationwide at a suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated "T" (Teen - gambling, strong lyrics) by the ESRB.

" Street Hoops delivers an authentic 'in your face' playground experience with the energy, intensity and showmanship of real-life street ball," said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "With real-world courts, today's top streetball stars and exciting action on- and off-the court, Street Hoops will be a slam-dunk for fans."

Street Hoops encompasses the look, speed, energy and attitude of park/playground blacktop competition. The game allows players to compete in a nationwide tournament representing their hometown on the most notorious street courts in nine U.S. cites, as well as four fantasy courts that can be unlocked during gameplay. Realism is the rule, allowing players to bet cash on competitions, buy authentic real-world gear including Sean John, Ecko Unlimited, Southpole, Pure Playaz, AND 1 and more with their earnings, talk trash, shout and push other players around, if need be.

The game features multiple modes of play including World Tournament, Lord of the Court, and multiplayer Full Court and Half-court games. Additionally, a large variety of real freestyle basketball moves, dunks and a top hip-hop music soundtrack featuring Cypress Hill, Method Man and Redman, Xzibit, DMX, Master P, Ludacris, and more, lend to the game's authenticity.

Street Hoops for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft is the first game on Xbox to support HDTV resolution of 720p running at 60fps . In addition, the audio for the Xbox version of the game offers Dolby Digital for discreet surround sound during gameplay. The PlayStation 2 version of the game offers DTS audio for discreet surround sound during game-play. Activision's Street Hoops will be released for the Nintendo GameCube this fall. Additional information about Street Hoops can be found at www.streethoopsgame.com .

Street Hoops was developed by Black Ops Entertainment, creators of award-winning, top-selling sports titles including Knockout Kings and the March Madness series.

[PCGaming] Earth 2150: Lost Souls Goes Gold - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:16 am CDT

Earth 2150: Lost Souls Goes Gold

Montreal, Quebec. August 22, 2002 – Strategy First, Reality Pump and Zuxxez Entertainment are pleased to announce that Earth 2150: Lost Souls , the third chapter in the award-winning Earth 2150 trilogy, has gone gold.

“Everyone has been anxiously awaiting the next chapter in the powerhouse Earth 2150 trilogy,” said Pro Sotos, Product Manager for Strategy First. “We are very excited to be bringing the latest installment to the RTS market.”

The first two titles, Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet and Earth 2150: The Moon Project were a huge success in the science fiction RTS realm and Earth 2150: Lost Souls brings players back to the same desolate, desperate setting for a new range of nail biting missions.

The latest chapter includes three new, extensive campaigns with 30 missions, map editor to create your own maps, over 25 multiplayer maps for LAN and internet, stunning graphics that take you on a spectacular voyage through several different countries and environments and a built-in fan base that is eagerly waiting to get back to 2150.

Earth 2150: Lost Souls will be on retail shelves in early September 2002. For more information on Earth 2150: Lost Souls ¸ please visit www.strategyfirst.com .

[Community] Gamer's Hell Interviews Kreed Team - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:42 am CDT

Gamer's Hell has posted an in-depth interview with the development team behind Kreed ( Burut CT), to be published by Russobit-M in spring 2003.

They answered about everything you would like to know about a FPS that you can't play yet.

[PressRelease] Majorem, 7th Day Team for Online Strategy Game - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:40 am CDT

7th Day Entertainment to Fund and Publish Ballerium for Release in Taiwan

Bney-Brak, Israel and Taipei, Taiwan, August 22, 2002 - Majorem Ltd., a developer of massively multiplayer games and technology, and 7th Day Entertainment, a producer/publisher of innovative entertainment software, today officially announced an agreement that will see 7th Day Entertainment finance the development of Majorem's upcoming massively multiplayer real-time strategy game 'Ballerium'. The agreement will also see 7th Day Entertainment handle publishing and distribution of Ballerium in Taiwan.

"We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with 7th Day Entertainment," said Adi Gaash, CEO of Majorem Ltd. "We look forward to working together with them in making Ballerium an exciting and enjoyable game."

"We are very excited to have Majorem as our development partner in bringing Ballerium to gamers in Taiwan and elsewhere," said Bob Wu, CEO of 7th Day Entertainment. "Strategy games will be changed forever after the world has seen how much fun Ballerium is."

Ballerium is scheduled to enter beta testing in Q1 2003, with final release set to occur mid-2003. In developing the game, Majorem is using its revolutionary OPIUM technology to create a fully persistent world that is able to handle an infinite number of players. Ballerium looks to be an innovative new entry to the massively multiplayer gaming market, providing players with never before experienced levels of persistence and control.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002
[PCGaming] Arnold Palmer Course Designer for Links 2003 Available for Free - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:09 pm CDT

Create the Links 2003 Course of Your Dreams With the Free Arnold Palmer Course Designer

Microsoft Game Studios today announced that virtual course designers can now download the new version of the Arnold Palmer Course Designer (APCD) for Links 2003. This free download enables designers to get a head start creating courses before Links 2003 hits store shelves in late September. To download version 1.5 of the APCD, please visit the official Links 2003 site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/links2003/apcd/ .

The APCD will also be included in Links 2003 and offers a wealth of new features so that courses will look more beautiful than ever before:

New Seam Blending - Greatly enhance the appearance of courses by softening the lines between adjacent terrain types and creating more organic-looking transitions

Two-Texture Blends - A two-texture blend is a combination of two textures -- one overlaying the other -- and can be used to create unique effects such as divots, dry patches, etc.

Water Color Selection - Customize the color selection

Object Library Merge Tool - Merge the new APCD version 1.5 object library with an object library from APCD 1.0

Path Mapping - Create a more realistic look for any created path

All of Type - Select a specific terrain type wherever it appears on the entire course

Improved Sound Planting - Unlike previous versions, there is a visual interface for planting sounds on your course for more accurate sound distribution

Objects - There is a new Object Library containing hundreds of all new 2-D objects, 3-D objects and new Planting Sets

Sounds - All the available sound files are brand new, high quality, and better organized. Included are global sounds (which play over the entire course) such as insects, birds, forest sounds, referred to as Ambient and Insect Loops. 3D sounds include animals, course sounds (mowers, sprinklers), traffic, water, etc.

Panoramas - There are seven new panoramas available (making it a total of 13)

Terrain Types - The Terrain Type scroll-down list box contains six new, higher-quality textures
Links 2003 will feature improved photo realistic graphics, six all-new championship courses, a growing list of high-resolution 3-D characters and expanded online capability. With its superior ball physics and unparalleled attention to detail, Links 2003 is the perfect way for golfers to experience true-to-life golf on their PC.

[Console] Return to Castle Wolfenstein Coming to XBox Live - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:08 pm CDT


Santa Monica, CA - Aug. 20, 2002 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and id Software(tm) announced today that Return to Castle Wolfenstein for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft will take console gamers to the front lines with online multiplayer warfare via Xbox(tm) Live , the first comprehensive, world-class online game service by Microsoft set to launch on November 15. Presenting platform-specific multiplayer features, including squad-based and co-operative Internet and split-screen modes, and an epic single player experience, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is set to offer Xbox players unrivaled gaming action. Nerve Software, creators of the award-winning multiplayer feature in Return to Castle Wolfenstein for the PC, is developing the highly anticipated Xbox game, with id Software serving as executive producer.

"By fusing the award-winning gameplay in Return to Castle Wolfenstein with new multiplayer modes, communication abilities, and technology, we're delivering the definitive team warfare experience for Xbox, " said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software.

Teams can coordinate and execute front-line attacks with extreme precision utilizing the Xbox Communicator, allowing players to verbally order air strikes, call for medics or even taunt opponents. With four distinct character classes and numerous gameplay modes to master, strategy and communication are the keys to victory on the battlefield.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein's Xbox multiplayer features allows players to challenge up to seven other gamers online utilizing Xbox Live 's matchmaking capabilities for intense, multiplayer warfare; engage in co-operative play through Xbox-system linked connections; or battle in two-player action through split-screen mode. Gamers can also look forward to new weaponry, an advanced target control system and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound capabilities.

"It's a great time to be a console gamer," states Larry Goldberg, executive vice president of Activision Worldwide Studios. "With the advanced technology of Xbox, console players will not only be able to experience the heart-stopping action of the Return to Castle Wolfenstein single player game, but also for the first time engage in the addictive multiplayer gameplay that PC gamers and critics have been raving about."

Set against the backdrop of WWII, Return to Castle Wolfenstein plunges players into a maelstrom of action, espionage and covert operations, as an American soldier tasked with infiltrating the heart of Nazi Germany and stopping the darkest plans of the Third Reich. Throughout the game, players are locked in combat with waves of Nazi storm-troopers, undead Teutonic knights and the twisted products of genetic experimentation. Return to Castle Wolfenstein further draws the player into the nightmare with advanced artificial intelligence (AI), photo-realistic character and environment textures, revolutionary effects, and an immersive story that unfolds before the player like a movie.

[Console] Hunter: The Reckoning Coming This Winter to Nintendo GameCube - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:22 am CDT

Interplay's mega-hit video game to release on new platform this holiday season

IRVINE, California, August 20, 2002 - Interplay Entertainment Corp. (NasdaqSC:IPLY), announced today their best-selling title Hunter: The Reckoning(tm) is coming to the Nintendo GameCube(tm) video game system this winter. Developed by High Voltage Software, Hunter: The Reckoning is a fast and furious action game based on the characters and fiction found in the popular role-playing game Hunter: The Reckoning and the immersive World of Darkness(tm) created by White Wolf Publishing Inc.

"We are extremely excited about bringing Hunter to the Nintendo GameCube," states Jim Molitor, Vice President of Production at Interplay. "We don't want Nintendo GameCube owners missing out on this thrilling game."

Played from a third person perspective, Hunter immerses players in the nightmarish setting of Ashcroft, a town plagued by creatures of the night.

Throughout the game's many gothic environments, players will face over 30 creature variants from bloodthirsty vampires to unstoppable legions of the walking dead. Hunter has already garnered stellar reviews and has been called a spiritual successor to games like Smash TV and the Gauntlet series, with the ability for up to four players to play cooperatively on the same screen.

Interplay Entertainment Corp. is a leading developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for both core gamers and the mass market. Interplay currently balances its development efforts by publishing for personal computers as well as current and next generation video game consoles. Interplay releases products through Interplay, Digital Mayhem, Black Isle Studios, its distribution partners and its wholly owned subsidiary Interplay OEM, Inc. More comprehensive information on Interplay and its products is available through its worldwide web site at www.interplay.com.

Since their entry in the role-playing game market in 1991, White Wolf Publishing Inc. has grown and maintained an average marketshare of 26%. With collective books sales in excess of 5.5 million copies during this time, White Wolf is one of two undisputed worldwide publishing leaders for pen and paper role-playing games. Their properties have been licensed into television series, comic books, action figures, professional wrestlers, a myriad of merchandising and, of course, video games.

High Voltage Software Inc. was founded in 1993 and has been crafting games for three generations of consoles and the PC. The Chicago-based developer boasts a resourceful mix of the gaming industry's brightest young talents and skilled, veteran developers. Imaginative design, powerful proprietary technology, and a proven development process have made High Voltage Software a fierce competitor in the entertainment industry. More information can be found at www.high-voltage.com.

[ESCmag] Boards Temporarily Down - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:37 am CDT

The ESCmag/M.e. boards are temporarily down while they're moved to a new server. The forums will return tomorrow (or Thursday at the latest).

[PCGaming] Prince of Qin Ships to U.S. Stores - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:33 am CDT

Prince of Qin – where elements of fighting and strategy come to play…

Montreal, Quebec. August 20, 2002 – Publisher Strategy First and developer Object Software are pleased to announce that the action RPG Prince of Qin has shipped to retail stores nationwide.

“Combining the best elements of Diablo and Baldur’s Gate, gamers everywhere should grab a copy of Prince of Qin,” says Steve Milburn, Director of Marketing for Strategy First.

"We think gamers will be intrigued by the unique gameplay techniques and fascinated by the impressive Qin Dynasty setting," says Richard Wallis, Chief Executive Officer of Object Software.

Prince of Qin is an action-RPG that blends fighting and strategic elements for an incredible voyage through the Qin Dynasty 2,200 years ago. Ancient China, a land of traditional ruins, historical dynasties and unparalleled beauty is the backdrop for this true story of an Emperor and his two sons who are locked in a bitter duel. When their father suddenly died, the younger son forged an edict ordering his brother Fu Su to commit suicide, leaving him in power. This is reality, but in Price of Qin players are in charge!

Take on the role of Fu Su and strive to learn the truth, plot revenge on your enemies and prevent your brother from controlling the dynasty.

Exclusive to Prince of Qin, engage in Multiplayer action with up to 500 gamers on one server; a unique equipment-making and inventory system; various endings; over 150 non-player characters; five different types of legendary Heroes; fierce foes and a sophisticated fighting system rooted in the ancient philosophy of the Five Elements are what makes Prince of Qin a truly unique experience.

Infogrames will distribute Prince of Qin exclusively in North America.

Monday, August 19, 2002
[Web] Sierra Launches The Official Casino Empire Web Site - posted by Andy Grieser at 10:53 am CDT

New site features product information, screenshots, and downloads for the first truly unique casino simulation to hit the PC

BELLEVUE, WA (August 19, 2002) - Sierra Entertainment, Inc., a studio of the Games division of Vivendi Universal Publishing, today announced the launch of the official website for its upcoming casino simulation game, Casino Empire(tm). The site features screenshots, news, downloads and all the community support necessary to help run Vegas from the ground up.

The site can be accessed at http://casinoempire.sierra.com.

Casino Empire is an in-depth simulation game that delivers all the glitz, glamour, sights and sounds of Vegas. Players are immersed in the colorful world of "Sin City" as they build, manage, and compete in an effort to rule the empire. Each level provides players with a new story and an opportunity to win big and increase their wealth and status.

Along the way, gamers meet a host of helpful characters, celebrity impersonators, and have access to a full range of resources to attract and entice their growing clientele. From milking the high rollers and utilizing ties to the mob or positioning the most popular slot machines near the cash machines and adding décor and ambience to their eight unique casinos, it's all Vegas, all the time with Casino Empire.

Sunday, August 18, 2002
[PCGaming] Medieval: Total War Goes Gold - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:10 pm CDT

Newest Addition To The Total War Franchise Ships August 20th

London, UK - August 15, 2002 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and The Creative Assembly announce today that Medieval: Total War TM, the sequel to the award-winning Shogun: Total War TM, has gone gold and is on its way to manufacturing. The highly anticipated PC strategy game challenges players vie for control of Europe through epic battles of conquest that span more than 400 years of savage medieval combat. Medieval: Total War carries a suggested retail price of $39.99 and is rated "T" for teen by the ESRB.

"This latest episode in the Total War series sets the benchmark for the future of RTS gaming," said Tim Ansell, managing director, The Creative Assembly. "Medieval: Total War is the first strategy game to ever properly represent warfare on such a massive scale. The sight of 10,000 troops clashing onscreen is like nothing gamers have ever seen before."

"Medieval: Total War puts the brutal conflict and violent social upheaval of the middle-ages center stage on the player's screen," states Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "The game's epic scope and design innovations mark Medieval: Total War as the next major milestone in the RTS genre."

Medieval: Total War TM allows players to take control of one of 12 European powers as they attempt to rewrite history through a mixture of epic battles, trade, diplomacy and resource management. Featuring an incredibly powerful 3D engine, the game supports real-time 3D battles of more than 10,000 troops and more than 100 unique unit types, including knights, infantry and siege engines, in terrain as varied as deserts, forest, plains and mountains. Players will utilize authentic battle strategies and tactics as they unleash their forces against medieval castles and mighty fortresses with an arsenal of battle-field weapons including long-bows, muskets, cannons and catapults which can pound castle walls and buildings to rubble.

[Web] SSX Snowdreams Online Game Launches - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:10 pm CDT


For those aching for a blizzard in the dead of summer, pogo.com just unleashed SSX Snowdreams. Check it out at: www.pogo.com or www.ea.com.

SSX Snowdreams is a free online game that delivers single-player snowboarding fun in one of two game modes: Circuits, where boarders stay on course and push out as many tricks as possible while racing against the clock and Free Ride, where players explore the mountain and choose to race against the clock or concentrate on racking up big air trick points. Players take on the role of one of two characters, each of whom has different abilities, and select from two snowboards to live out their "snowdream" fantasies. Big tricks and lightening speed times rack up pogo.com tokens and cash jackpots.

Today’s jackpot is $1,164.86. That would buy a sweet new board and some thrasher threads for the upcoming season on the real slopes!

[Community] Official Dark Angel Site Launches - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:09 pm CDT

It's post-apocalyptic Seattle and you are Max, a genetically enhanced super-soldier on a quest to reclaim her past by finding her sister and fellow genetically altered escapees. Can Max overcome the battle that rages inside her, as the soldier she has always been is confronted by the woman she wishes to become?

PlayStation®2 and XboxTM fans can check out the details on James Cameron's Dark Angel with the debut of the teaser site on Thursday, August 15, 2002, at 1:00PM PST and the first James Cameron's Dark Angel trailer available for download.

Based on the hit TV series created by Academy Award® winner James Cameron, James Cameron's Dark Angel is a must-have game for fans of the show and 3rd person action adventure gamers. Step into Jessica Alba's role as Max, crusading to find her sister and fellow genetically altered escapees. With 25 single-player missions and 6 unique post-pulse environments, players command an innovative fighting system that includes intense hand-to-hand combat and unique evasive moves that utilize slow motion effects and stealth.

Be sure to bookmark , and
keep up to date on all the latest about James Cameron's Dark Angel!

[PCGaming] The Primal Hunt Begins - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:08 pm CDT

Sierra Entertainment and Fox Interactive Announce
Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt Expansion Pack Ships to Retailers

BELLEVUE, WA (August 15, 2002) - Sierra Entertainment, Inc., a studio of the
Games division of Vivendi Universal Publishing, and Fox Interactive(tm)
announced today Aliens versus Predator* 2: Primal Hunt expansion pack ships
to computer retail outlets worldwide. Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt
continues the nail-biting terror and suspense from the award-winning Aliens
versus Predator 2. With all new weapons, player characters, single-player
and multi-player levels, this original interlocking story is an all out
bloody battle of three of the deadliest species in the universe as the
Aliens versus Predator 2 saga begins.

As this terrifying story begins to unfold 500 years prior to Aliens versus
Predator 2, players become one of three heroic and deadly characters that
are all fully prepared to do what it takes to take ownership of a powerful
and sought after artifact. Choose to play as the Predator that becomes
trapped in stasis only to awaken 500 years later, the human corporate
mercenary, Dunya, or as the Predalien, a twisted hybrid of Alien and

Other Key Features of Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt
* Nine new single player missions (three per species)
* Intense multi-player combat - includes four new levels
* Includes all patches/updates and additional maps issued by
Monolith since the release of AvP2.
* New species-specific weapons and combat styles
o Human - Dual Pistols, Turret Gun, Deployable
Sentry Gun
o Predator - Energy Flechette, Self-Destruct
(only in multiplayer)
* Two new creatures indigenous to the planet.
* New environment - never-before-seen Predator ruins
* Ties in with original story of Aliens versus Predator 2 and
provides closure to some open-ended questions

Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt is now available at retail for a
suggested retail price of $19.99. For more information, go to
http://AvP2.sierra.com or order by phone at 800-757-7707.

[Community] Gaming Illustrated Reports on SCEA Gamers Day - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:05 pm CDT

Gaming Illustrated's Executive Editor Sean Gibson was invited to the SCEA Gamers Day on August 14th, 2002, and reports in with a detailed description of his journey, the people he met, the new games he previewed (including 5 exclusive previews of new PS2 titles!!), the latest titles about to hit the market, and inside information you just don't want to miss.

[Console] Microsoft to Include "Shenmue: The Movie" DVD with "Shenmue II" - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:04 pm CDT

Microsoft to Include "Shenmue: The Movie" DVD with "Shenmue II"

Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Xbox owners can get caught up on the journey of Ryo Hazuki to avenge his father's death through the "Shenmue: The Movie" DVD. The DVD will come bundled with the Xbox exclusive "Shenmue IIä" when the game ships in North America on November 6 of this year. The DVD is 90 minutes long and features English or Japanese voice-overs with the option for Japanese subtitles, and is playable on the Xbox with DVD remote or North American DVD players.

The full-length movie draws upon the original footage from the Sega Dreamcast release of "Shenmueä" to deliver the same experience as if viewers had played the game through from beginning to end. It was originally showcased in Japanese theatres and then sold separately on DVD for 4700 yen (approximately $40). The theatrical trailer shown in Japan is now posted on the Xbox press site at http://www.xbox.com/press/shenmue_movie_announce.htm.

"Shenmue II" is an epic adventure with all the elements of a great movie: drama, mystery, suspense and action. It offers a unique game-playing experience that seamlessly blends elements of action, adventure, fighting and role-playing games. In "Shenmue II" players assume the role of Ryo Hazuki, a young man dedicated to the task of tracking his father's murderer and unlocking the mysteries of the Phoenix Mirror. "Shenmue II" continues where "Shenmue" left off, bringing Ryo to Hong Kong with many unanswered questions as he follows the trail of Lan Di, the man who killed his father.

[PCGaming] Strategy First and Monte Cristo Announce 4 New Titles Have Gone Gold - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:03 pm CDT

Montreal, Quebec, August 16, 2002 – Strategy First and Monte Cristo are pleased to announce that the first four titles in their multiple title co- publishing agreement, Airline Tycoon Evolution, Dino Island, The Partners and Micro Commandos have gone gold this week.

“We are very excited to be bringing the first group of Monte Cristo titles to the PC community,” said Ryan Bastien, Product Manager at Strategy First. “These are four fun-filled games that are sure to appeal to gamers of all ages.”

Airline Tycoon Evolution, an airline management game, is the follow up to the hugely popular Airline Tycoon and puts players in charge of a major airline, overseeing, among other things, all the security measures.

Dino Island is another simulation title, but this time the excitement takes place on land. Players control the reins of the world’s newest theme park, creating their own dinosaur residents, managing all the entertainment and business matters and keeping the crowds coming in.

The Partners is a life simulation game that brings a Sims style touch to an exciting law office where the daily ups and downs are anything but mundane. Control 20 different lawyers as they try to survive office politics and win cases at the same time. All the excitement of a TV series in a video game!

Micro Commandos puts gamers in a big role as part of a small group of aliens who are stuck in a human basement and need to take down enemy aliens and the life-size family cat to gain control of The Ultimate Weapon as they try to conquer the human race.

All four Monte Cristo titles will be on retail shelves in September 2002. For more information on Airline Tycoon Evolution¸ Dino Island¸ The Partners and/or Micro Commandos¸ please visit www.strategyfirst.com. Infogrames will be exclusively distributing all four titles in North America.

[PCGaming] Shattered Galaxy Score Some Booty Contest Ready to Launch - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:02 pm CDT


(August 16, 2002 - Santa Clara, CA) Get ready to jump into the online
universe of Shattered Galaxy for fun deep space action and relentless
combat -- and for a limited time a chance to win prizes! Between August
19 to August 31, in the Score Some Booty contest, gamers who have signed
up for Shattered Galaxy accounts by August 19 can adventure through the
in-game tutorial of Shattered Galaxy, to find the missing word or phrase
from the passages of text in the tutorial. By finding all five passages
and entering them in the corresponding blanks, they can register for a
chance to win any of a number of cool prizes:

- Twenty (20) people will receive a Shattered Galaxy FM radio
- Three (3) people will receive a six month long Shattered Galaxy
- And for the big booty, one (1) lucky winner will come away with
the big score of an awesome SONICblue DHT7100 DVD Home Theatre System,
courtesy of SONICBlue (http://www.sonicblue.com)!

For further details visit the official Summer of Shattered Galaxy
(http://www.sgalaxy.com/summer/summer_main.html). Download the Shattered
Galaxy game free to experience award-winning warfare online for the PC,
and then register with a game account to have a chance winning outside
the game too!

Set in deep space in the distant future where the remnant of humanity
fights for survival and glory, Shattered Galaxy is an award-winning
massive online warfare game for the PC. To find out more about Shattered
Galaxy, and to download the 14-day or 50 hour free play demo updated
with the latest and greatest patches and enhancements, visit

[Community] Official Quantum Redshift Site Launches Today - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:01 pm CDT

Official Quantum Redshift Site Launches Today

Microsoft Game Studios today announced the launch of the official "Quantum Redshift" site, at www.quantumredshift.com. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the game's various hyperspeeds through four movie clips in the Speed Factor section. As players race at higher speeds, they will notice that a tiny bump in the road is now a powerful launching ramp. In the Pilots section, there are character bios for seven of the game's 16 racers, which includes screenshots of each ship, home circuit and weapons. Expect continuous site updates with new media and pilot information until "Quantum Redshift" hits stores shelves this holiday season.

"Quantum Redshift" challenges gamers to display a rare combination of racing skill and weapons strategy to achieve ultimate victory. Set 100 years in the future, "Quantum Redshift" features a new racing tournament of speed and daring that has become an organized sport and is conducted on tracks all over the world. Gamers race on futuristic terrains and compete in fierce grudge matches against multiple opponents, including a nemesis. "Quantum Redshift" delivers hyperspeed racing, 16 vehicles, 16 detail-laden tracks, weapons strategy, crafty AI opponents, spectacular aerial jumps and character-based nuances to appeal to action and racing gamers.

"Quantum Redshift" is being developed by Curly Monsters Ltd. An independent production studio headquartered in Birkenhead, England, Curly Monsters Ltd. is dedicated to producing visually exciting, high-quality, action-based console games exclusively for Xbox. The company currently employs nine staff members with over 70 years of combined game development experience.

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for PC (http://www.microsoft.com/games/), including such franchises as "Age of Empires," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon"; Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as "Halo," "Project Gotham Racing" and "NFL Fever"; and Zone.com (http://zone.msn.com/), the official games channel for the MSN® network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "OutSmart."

[PressRelease] Create New Fantasy Worlds With the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:00 pm CDT

Create New Fantasy Worlds With the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit

Microsoft Game Studios and Gas Powered Games today announced that the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit is now available for download. The Dungeon Siege Tool Kit grants gamers the freedom to rework nearly every aspect of the Dungeon Siege world, making this best-selling title not only a game, but also a platform for those who wish to create their own spells, dungeons, and even their own entire worlds.

The Dungeon Siege Tool Kit contains the Siege Editor, the same editor used by Gas Powered Games to create Dungeon Siege; and Siege Max, a custom-created gmax game pack that allows gamers to create new terrain, buildings, dungeons, creatures, players, weapons, armor and more. In conjunction with the release of the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit, five more Siege University tutorials have been made available, bringing the total number of tutorials to 28. For more information about the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit and Siege University visit http://www.dungeonsiege.com/su.shtml.

Dungeon Siege is an action fantasy role-playing game featuring an immersive fully 3-D environment. The game plunges players into a continuous 3-D fantasy world on a quest to stop a mysterious evil that has been unleashed. Beginning with a single character, players can travel through the world and gather a party of up to eight characters, or choose to face the challenge alone. The action role-playing in Dungeon Siege propels players into one over-the-top battle after another as the storyline unfolds.

Dungeon Siege is available in stores now, or it can be ordered by calling Microsoft at (888) 218-5617, or on the Internet at http://shop.microsoft.com/ for an estimated retail price of $54.95 (U.S.). For more information, please visit the official site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/dungeonsiege/.

Friday, August 16, 2002
[ESCmag] Goin' on Vacation - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:44 am CDT

Greetings from high atop ESCmag Tower, where we're still diligently working to roll out version 5.0 by Sept. 1. Well, not so diligently on my part: I've chained Toby to his computer, and am skipping town with the Sunshine Girl. So, no new column today. However, I'll be sure next week to regale you with stories from the Dairy State. Milkalicious!

In the meantime, hit the forums, ya freeloaders!

Thursday, August 15, 2002
[FirstLook] Super Mario Sunshine (GCN) Initial Impressions - posted by Erich Becker at 8:34 am CDT

Last weekend I had a chance to sit down and play one of the first levels of Nintendo’s latest, Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube, and from my initial impressions I can honestly say that gold has been struck once again. While I will be presenting my in-depth review in the next couple of weeks, I will give some initial impressions of what I saw.

As many know Super Mario Sunshine takes on a tropical island where Mario has been falsely accused to spreading this brown muck all over the place, and while the game plays very similar to Super Mario 64, and looks very similar, you can tell this is the true migration, and evolution, of Mario.

The thing that surprised me most was how the new water-pack adds a whole new element to the game. With this strapped on Mario’s back you are able to shoot a jet of water (beautifully rendered by the GameCube’s powerful ATI chip) to destroy enemies, clean up the muck, or disturb the local Non-Player Characters (NPCs). While the cannon will have multiple uses in the final game the demo version that I was able to play allowed you to shoot water as described above and hover for a limited amount of time using the water sprayers as a jet-pack. While most of Mario’s moves are intact, such as the Sideways Jump, Triple Jump, etc., the water-pack allows for so many different puzzles that couldn’t be accomplished in Super Mario 64.

Graphics are amazing, but not spectacular like you would expect. Those expecting Resident Evil graphical status are going to be surely disappointed, but as I’ve explained to everyone on message boards and online chats that image is not everything, and for Mario games it doesn’t matter what they look like, what matters is that they are fun to play. If graphics are of big importance to you, Super Mario Sunshine relies more on subtle effects like the water evaporating into the ground or the many different droplets coming off of the nozzle of your water-pack instead of flashy effects that spin the screen and such. Like I said, they aren’t spectacular, but they are next generation.

I’m having a hard time to comment on the sound as the volume for the game was turned way down playing at Funcoland, but you can expect the same high-caliber score that we have found in all Mario games to this point. Also, expect a nice injection of tropical/reggae music to keep things light and uplifting in this tropical paradise.

What it all really comes down to is if the game is fun to play, and this is where I’m the most impressed. The level that I had a chance to demo made you journey up to a windmill where a piranha plant was spewing the muck all over the island below, you make your way up, cleaning a path in the process and dodging enemies while trying to rid the land of this evil. This mission, undoubtfully one of the first in the game, makes you use the water-pack to get a feel for what it can do. You have the classic Mario task of dodging rolling balls as they come down a steep incline, you destroy enemies, you do everything we have come accustom to do with Mario, but on a whole new system, and a whole new way of looking at the game.

Those who doubted Nintendo in the past for not making due on their promises with the GameCube will have some backtracking to do with their comments. Super Mario Sunshine, in the short time that I had to play it, impressed me beyond all means. I certainly can’t wait to pick up my copy in two weeks.

As I walked out of the store I knew I would be having the time of my life when I received my game on the 26th of this month. So as I got into my car to drive away, I gently patted my pre-order slip concealed in my wallet and speed off knowing gaming goodness was just two weeks away, and the coming age of the GameCube has finally arrived.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002
[Console] XBox Live Nears Launch - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:34 am CDT

Xbox Live to Launch on One-Year Anniversary of Console Launch

The Next Revolution in Video Games Begins Nov. 15

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 13, 2002 — On Friday, Nov. 15, the one-year anniversary of the launch of the most powerful video game system on the planet, Microsoft Corp. will launch its Xbox™ Live online game service and propel the North American gaming world into the future of video games.

At launch, more than 5,000 North American retail outlets will begin selling the Xbox Live Starter Kit for a suggested price of $49.95 (U.S.). For the price of a new game, the kit includes a one-year subscription to the broadband-only service, the highly anticipated Xbox Communicator headset and a minigame so gamers can start playing with their friends right away. Retail programs will be supported by + a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign that will include advertising, retail communications and promotional activities.

In addition, at least seven Xbox Live-enabled games are currently scheduled to be available on Nov. 15, with up to 10 more to follow by the end of the holiday season. Scheduled launch games for Xbox Live are “Unreal Championship” from Infogrames Inc.; “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” from Ubi Soft Entertainment; SEGA Sports™ “NFL 2K3” and SEGA Sports™ “NBA 2K3” from Sega®; and “Whacked!™,” “MechAss
ault™” and “NFL Fever 2003” from Microsoft Game Studios. More than 50 Xbox Live-enabled games will launch during 2003, including “Halo™ 2,” “Counter-Strike,” “Midtown Madness® 3” and “Star Wars® Galaxies: Empire Divided™” from LucasArts Entertainment Company. More than 60 game publishers are currently working on Xbox Live-enabled games.

“We designed Xbox from day one to catapult console gamers online,” said J Allard, general manager of Xbox at Microsoft. “Xbox Live is the answer for gamers who want to take this next leap forward. Last year at this time, we took gaming to the next level by launching Xbox; now we’re in concert with our partners and the industry to ensure that Nov. 15 will once again be a great day for gamers and the industry. Xbox Live is the first unified gaming service that takes gamers beyond the box to a global gaming arena where they become the superstars.”

The Xbox Live service was part of the initial design of the Xbox console, taking into consideration specific feedback Microsoft received directly from gamers and game developers about what they wanted and expected from an optimal online gaming experience. Key to the service is the support of four datacenters: two in Seattle, and one each in London and Tokyo. These datacenters will enable Microsoft to assist publishers by managing the hosting, networking, security and billing so game creators can focus on awesome game content, and gamers can be comfortable with a single bill for all gameplay. In addition, gamers will benefit from key, consistent features of the Xbox Live service across games from all publishers, including these:

• Gamertag. A player’s Gamertag will be the same for all games across the global gaming service.

• Friends list. Players will be able to find their friends online and invite them to a game, no matter which Xbox Live game they’re playing.

• Xbox Communicator. Voice communication functionality is integrated with all Xbox Live multiplayer games, enabling teammates and opponents to speak to one another during games. Key elements of this feature exclusive to Xbox include voice masking, global muting and parental control.

• Matchmaking. QuickMatch allows gamers to enter a multiplay experience with a single button click, and with OptiMatch, an Xbox Live exclusive, players will be able to select games and opponents based on similar skill levels.

• Ability to download content to the Xbox hard disk. Only Xbox enables console gamers to download and permanently store both free and for-a-fee content that can include new levels, characters, missions and statistics.

To date, more than 100,000 gamers have signed up for an opportunity to be beta testers for the Xbox Live service. Later this month, more than 10,000 of these gamers will be selected to participate in the final stage of the beta test.

Details for the Xbox Live service launch in Japan and Europe will be announced in those markets in the coming months.

[PressRelease] Shrapnel Games to Produce First Board Game - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:34 am CDT

Shrapnel Games Teams to Publish Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load
Shrapnel Games to Produce First Board Game!

Cary, NC, August 13, 2002

Shrapnel Games announced a partnership with Mark H. Walker to publish Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load today. Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load, the game with "more game, less guff" marks a new direction for Shrapnel Games as its first published Board Game title.

Richard Arnesen, Director of Covert Operations for Shrapnel Games, said, "We've known Mark Walker for some time, and when we saw the design for Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load we were instantly excited.

This game brings back the fun of Board Games in the vein of Advanced Squad Leader, without the tomes of rules that went with them. It creates a taut and accurate depiction of the battle that can fit into today's wargamers hectic schedule. We are very excited to bring something new and dynamic to the Board Gaming world, a world everyone at Shrapnel Games has been a part of at one time or the other in our lives. Even more exciting is that this squad level engine is tackling the under utilized Vietnam War as its backdrop!"

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Shrapnel Games on this venture," stated Walker. "This is the game I've always dreamed of playing. It has buckets of flavor without books of rules. Lock 'n Load truly has 'more game, less guff.'

Born of thirty years of gaming experience and an equal amount of frustration with dry-as-dust rules, Mark H. Walker's Lock 'n Load is all about fun, all about the experience. Tired of games with books of rules? Sure you are; you have a life and so do we. Most of us aren't college kids anymore. We've grown up and we have grownup responsibilities: a family, a career, a life. There just isn't the time to wade through a bible of instructions before we play. Neither is it fun to spend huge hunks of your time researching an obscure rule. That's not fun; that's work. Not impressed yet? Check the features below:

* Dare we say THE BEST board game graphics ever? We do dare. The two artists working on the game, Ron Shirtz and Richard Canavan, are simply amazing. Better still, it's an art you can see without a magnifying glass. The map hexes are 1", squads and leader counters are 5/8", weapon teams are 3/4", and vehicles a whopping 7/8" square! That's what we call beauty!
* The game's impulse system keeps both players actively involved in every minute of play.
* The game is squad based; units represent each nationalities' squads, half-squads, weapon teams, and vehicles.
* The single man counters include leaders, medics, heroes, chaplains and snipers. Each significantly affects play. And each leader and hero gets a randomly selected Skill Card before the scenario begins. These cards bestow benefits such as stealth bonuses, ambush experts, and many others.
* The game's random events add a twist to each scenario. Your objective may be to capture the town, but suddenly a Huey goes into the brush 500 feet downstream. You know that you have to rescue that pilot, but so do the Viet Cong! Playing Mark H. Walker's Lock 'n Load feels like reading a good military adventure. All this in fewer than 10 pages of rules!
* Desperate assaults, unexpected ambushes, and stand up firefights are all part of this fantastic piece of work. Included in the module is a complete set of Mark H. Walker's Lock 'n Load rules, twelve scenarios, Skill Cards, four gorgeous, geomorphic maps, 280+ counters, and player's charts. You can't go wrong.
* But Vietnam isn't the end, it is only the beginning! We have modules in the works for Desert Storm, The '82 Falkland War, Operation Anaconda, World War II's Pacific and Western Fronts and even a module based on Mark's upcoming Sci-Fi novel. All this and you get the same great graphics, the same low intensity rules.
* And much much more...

Currently in beta, Lock 'N Load is expected to ship in October, 2002. A demo will be available in a few weeks at the Shrapnel Games website at http://www.shrapnelgames.com. The retail price will be $44.95, but those that pre-order the game before September 25th will save $5.00 off the retail price. To pre-order visit Shrapnel Games' online store, the Gamers Front, at http://www.gamersfront.com.

[PressRelease] Activision Gets Worms 3 Rights - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:29 am CDT


Dynamic New Edition of Multi-Million Unit Selling Franchise Set to Bring The Loony World of Worms to Next -Generation Platforms

Santa Monica, CA - August 13, 2002 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with the U.K. - based developer, Team 17(tm), to publish the highly anticipated title Worms(tm) 3 and an additional yet-to-be-announced Worms title. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision has acquired multi-platform worldwide publishing and distribution rights for the game, excluding PC rights in Korea, Taiwan and China.

The first official sequel since the highly acclaimed games Worms 1 and Worms 2 , Worms 3 will utilise the full power afforded by next-generation platforms, featuring ground-breaking fully deformable landscape technology, and will continue the wild humor and intensive, addictive fun that gamers expect from the Worms franchise. Worms 3 will showcase a raft of new gameplay features, while retaining all the familiar chaos of the original titles, complete with bizarre power-ups, loopy weaponry, and crazy cartoon graphics - in both single and multi-player modes. Worms 3 is expected to ship in 2003. The game has not yet received an ESRB rating.

"We are thrilled to be introducing Worms onto the next-generation console systems," states Kathy Vrabeck, executive vice president, global publishing and brand management for Activision. "The franchise has sold more than seven million units worldwide since its inception in 1995. Worms' unique humor, instant playability and addictive gameplay have remained popular across two generations of hardware with the franchise appearing on almost every platform. Now delivered in 3D, the game is sure to be even more popular than its predecessors drawing in a new generation of gamers around the globe."

"With Worms 3 , we have the opportunity to strengthen an already powerful franchise and provide the definitive gaming experience within the Worms universe," adds Debbie Bestwick, commercial director of Team 17. "We look forward to forging a long-term future for the Worms franchise with Activision, a company well known for its ability to develop properties in a creative and forward-thinking fashion."


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