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August 24, 2000 - September 05, 2000 - See More Archived News

Tuesday, September 05, 2000
Industry -- THQ Aquires Volition Software - posted by Erich Becker at 6:57 pm CDT

THQ, a massive publishing giant in the videogaming world, has aquired Volition Software.

Many would remember Volition as the developers of Descent: Freespace and Freespace 2 for Interplay.

Volition is currently working on two THQ games, Red Faction and Summoner. Red Faction is being bombarded with critical acclaim for the invent, and application, of fully destructable environments.

Handheld -- Handheld Gaming News - posted by Erich Becker at 6:47 pm CDT

First off, the Game Boy Advanced is getting lots of critical acclaim lately. With full backwards compatibility (none of this almost-fully-Sony-Crap) and tons of games in development, this could be the system to own next year. Word from ECTS is that there will be a simultaneous United States and United Kingdom launch of the game in July. No official release date has been set.

Secondly, we have WonderSwan news. The WonderSwan is going to be released in the US even after the NeoGeo Pocket Color disaster that basically, well, destroyed SNK (who is now out of business by the way). SquareSoft is also working on a new Final Fantasy game for the system. No official release date was available.

Related Links: FGNOnline

Friday, September 01, 2000
Soldier of Fortune add-on will not contain Co-op - posted by Erich Becker at 4:34 pm CDT

Every politicians game to hate is getting an free, downloadable add-on pack this fall. Although, as previously suspected, the game will not be containing an co-op mode.

A prospect of a co-op mode would have been awesome in a game such as this one, but it isn't going to happen. We can only dream.

The release of the add on pack has been put "not too long after Elite Force", so in other words soon, as Elite Force has gone gold.

Related Links: Soldier of Fortune.com

Dreamcast is now $149.99 Everywhere! - posted by Erich Becker at 4:30 pm CDT

What was thought as a bogus discount at Wal*Mart is now a nationwide price drop, the Sega Dreamcast is now $149.99 everywhere you go. With this news, you have no excuse to not pick up this little system of wonder.

With so many great arcade games emulated to perfection, the possibility of playing every Playstation game, and a great developer behind the system, there is no reason why you should pass this one up.

Sega is launching Sega.net in just 6 short days with online, lag free, play all over the country. Jump on the bandwagon, you won't be sorry.

Black and White Studios Created - posted by Erich Becker at 4:25 pm CDT

Lionhead Studios today created the third satellite group to thier operation, Black and White Studios. B&W Studios will focus on creation of a sequel to the game, development of the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game, and loads of tools to release to users to customize the game.

The branching off of this company will allow Lionhead to work on original projects after development is finished on Black and White (1). A Sega Dreamcast version of the game is also in production at the moment to be published by Sega itself.

Related Links: FGNOnline

Gran Turismo 2000 shows up late... - posted by Erich Becker at 4:21 pm CDT

Sony made it official to IGN.PS2.COM that its anticipated, and over-rated, driving simulation game, Gran Turismo 2000, would not be United States launch title on the 26th of October.

They also went on to say that announcements of the official line-up will be made soon.

Related Links: IGNPS2

Tuesday, August 29, 2000
News Bites :: Oh So Tasty! - posted by Erich Becker at 4:49 pm CDT

Star Trek Voyager - Elite Force GOLD!
The headline says it all really, the Raven developed, Activision published, Star Trek shooter has gone gold and should be on store shelves in the next couple of weeks.

nVidia sues 3dfx
In what could be the end for the 3D graphics pioneer, 3dfx interactive, has been sued by nVidia. nVidia claims that 3dfx infringed on their trademarks in the Voodoo 3, 4, and 5 lines of cards. If the lawsuit favors nVidia, this could be the end for 3dfx. Of course, the Justice Department isn't the fastest service in the world, so expect a looooong trial.

Related Links: FGNOnline

Warning Editorial News :: Leave SoF Alone! - posted by Erich Becker at 4:45 pm CDT

It seems that everyone out there has to find something that really pisses them off, and in recent months the butt of everyone's alligations is a great game named Soldier of Fortune.

The game has had tons of controversy over its content, it has been rated X by one foreign nation, and now is being called racist? Okay...

The current argument is that when the crosshair is placed on an American civilian the cursor turns green. When placed on an Iraqi citizen the cursor does nothing, and you can kill to your hearts content, and won't fail the mission.

Everyone is calling Foul on this one to Raven Software, developers of the game, but what they really should focus on is raising their damn children maybe? If I created a mod for Kingpin that changed all the F words to N words, would I be a racist? With all of this crap surrounding Soldier of Fortune, I can't wait to see what Raven does for Soldier of Fortune 2. Maybe we will see a baby-seal killing, step-child beating maniac shooting hookers on the streets of New York. That will give you something to cry about.

Get a freaking life, hippies.

Note: This editorial represents the personal views of Erich Becker and does not reflect the opinions or views of ESCMag or its staff as a whole.

Related Links: FGNOnline

UbiSoft Aquires Red Storm Interactive - posted by Erich Becker at 4:23 pm CDT

We reported on the rumors two weeks ago, but here is the official confirmation that Red Storm Interactive is now part of the ever-growing UbiSoft family. Enjoy.

PARIS (August 29th, 2000) - Ubi Soft Entertainment S.A., one of the world leaders in interactive game publishing, and well-known U.S. based publisher Red Storm Entertainment, Inc., announced today their definitive agreement for Ubi Soft Entertainment to acquire Red Storm Entertainment.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of stockholders of both companies and regulatory approvals, including U.S. antitrust review. Following completion of the transaction Red Storm Entertainment will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Ubi Soft Entertainment and a Ubi Soft brand, and it is anticipated that Red Storm will continue to be operated as an independent company.

It is anticipated also that most of the Red Storm Entertainment staff will remain intact in North Carolina. Red Storm’s UK office will join Ubi Soft in its Wimbledon office. All sales and distribution will be accomplished through a combined team which will be known as the Ubi Soft sales force.

Red Storm, a strong US brand
Red Storm Entertainment Inc. was founded in November 1996 by best selling author Tom Clancy and others. The company publishes hits such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and Tom Clancy’s Rogue Spear. The combined sales of these two games alone totaled more than 3 million copies globally, attracting both gaming enthusiasts and the general public.

The quality of Red Storm’s games have been met with critical acclaim in the gaming industry, especially the Rainbow Six franchise. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six has been released for PC CD-ROM, PlayStation®, Sega Dreamcast, Macintosh, Nintendo®64 and GAME BOY™ Color game console platforms. The game was voted 1999 action game of the year by PC Gamer. The sequel, Rogue Spear, was named 2000 action game of the year by both PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World and was elected the best multiplayer game of the show at ECTS in 1999. The intense squad-based action of Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear has made them two of the top multiplayer games played on Microsoft’s Gaming Zone.

With 1999 net revenues of $52 million, Red Storm is a multiple-media gaming company that produces, markets and publishes interactive computer games and other entertainment products. The company has a strong presence in North America which accounted for 70% of its 1999 sales. Red Storm has approximately 100 employees globally.

As part of the transaction, Tom Clancy entered into a new exclusive, long term license and endorsement agreement with Red Storm and Ubi Soft for all video and computer gaming platforms and products.

Leaping together to the next level of growth and profitability
Upon completion, this transaction with Red Storm is expected to be a major step in UbiSoft’s expansion program and is in accordance with its selective acquisition strategy. The strategy was initiated in May of 2000 with the acquisition of the Sinister Games (US) and Grolier Interactive Ltd. (UK) production studios. The acquisition of Red Storm strengthens Ubi Soft’s presence in the United States. With this acquisition North America will become Ubi Soft’s first market for the next fiscal year.

This latest acquisition also is anticipated to bring Ubi Soft one step closer to its goal of becoming one of the world’s top five publishers. The two companies complement each other, in terms of products, skills and global presence, offering the possibility of significant synergies. Moreover, Ubi Soft and Red Storm share the same approach to bringing quality interactive entertainment to the general public. The future group is especially keen to position itself as a leader of the online gaming industry.

“The games published by Red Storm will complement Ubi Soft’s product range and this acquisition will allow the group to reinforce its existing expertise in multiplayer action and strategy games. We are convinced that in the years to come this genre of game will undergo strong growth as witnessed by the dazzling success of Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear. Red Storm is indisputably the leader in multiplayer action and strategy games,” said Yves Guillemot, President and CEO, Ubi Soft Entertainment. “This agreement also gives Ubi Soft access to world-renowned licensees such as Tom Clancy, which will be added to our already strong brand portfolio.”

“This merger is good for Red Storm as consolidation is a natural and necessary phenomenon in any fast growing field,” said Red Storm Entertainment President and CEO, Doug Littlejohns. “While Red Storm has been remarkably successful throughout its short life, the acquisition by Ubi Soft, a major player in this industry, will ensure that together we are capable of leaping to the next level of growth and profitability.”

About Red Storm
Red Storm Entertainment, Inc. is a multiple-media gaming company that produces, markets and publishes interactive computer games and other entertainment products in several forms, including CD-ROM and console games, books, board games and related merchandise. Co-founded by best-selling author Tom Clancy, who has served as its Chairman of the Board, Red Storm Entertainment is based in Morrisville, North Carolina, and has its European headquarters in the United Kingdom. For more information call (919) 460-1776, or visit the company’s website at www.redstorm.com.

About Ubi Soft Entertainment
Ubi Soft Entertainment is a global producer, publisher and international distributor of interactive entertainment products. A leading company in the industry, Ubi Soft’s strong and diversified lineup has grown considerably over the past couple of years. As well as developing original properties, Ubi Soft has also steadfastly partnered with several high-profile companies and is dedicated to delivering consumers with quality videogame titles while offering blockbuster franchises. Founded in 1986, the company has offices in 18 countries including the United States, Canada, France, Germany and China and sells its products in a total of 52 countries. For more information about Ubi Soft, please visit http://www.ubisoft.com.

Related Links: UbiSoft

Monday, August 28, 2000
Tribes 2 Beta Signup Underway - posted by Erich Becker at 4:34 pm CDT

Want to test out Tribes 2 before anyone else gets the chance to? Well, here is your chance. Sierra is taking 1,000 gamers from across the country and asking them to test out the latest from Dynamix.

Sign up period is ten days and counting...

Here is the link

Related Links: Sierra Studios

Gamer's Nexus goes Nucking Futts with RA3 - posted by Erich Becker at 4:26 pm CDT

Gamer's Nexus has gone Nucking Futts with the latest version of Rocket Arena, Rocket Arena 3.

Here is a snippet:

These are some of the best looking maps I've ever seen. Each one has a very unique feel and personality. Most are small, but that's the idea. This isn't about camping a sweet sniper spot; it's about in your face, breathing down your neck, one on one combat. Aside from just looking great, RA3 plays great. Even though the basics are simple, there are a few rules that you can modify to make the game exactly what you want it to be. RA3 does not have to be a one on one duel. But it doesn't stop there. RA3 excels in another key area: music. Included with the basic install are five jammin' mp3's, and there are an additional 14 songs which make up the RA3 soundtrack available as a separate download. That's right, I said mp3's. RA3 has an integrated mp3 player which lets you not only play all the top quality tunes included with the mod, but can also import any mp3's on your hard drive that you want to frag to.

See the full article here.

Related Links: Gamer's Nexus

CPU Review tackles MSI8809 GeForce 256 - posted by Erich Becker at 4:22 pm CDT

The folks over at CPU Review have been given the chance to review the MSI GeForce 256 video card. With benchmarks for Quake II, Quake III, Incoming, Forsaken, Turok, Final Reality, and 3DMarks 2000 they gave the card a good work out.

Head on over to CPU Review, and find out the final score!

See the full review CPU Review

Sunday, August 27, 2000
Infogrames Entertainment announces GameCitizen.com - posted by Erich Becker at 6:57 pm CDT

The following is a press release from Infogrames announcing the Canadian, GameCitizen.com.

DTI and Infogrames Entertainment
launch an online gaming platform for the Canadian market:

Montreal, CANADA --August 16, 2000 – Infogrames Entertainment SA (Paris Bourse: SICOVAM 5257) and DTI announced today a new Canadian Web division for online video games – GameCitizen.com.

Designed for the gaming community, GameCitizen.com will offer, in addition to online gaming, the chance to chat with, meet, and challenge other players from around the world. The site will provide seasoned gamers and newbies with cheats and strategies, as well as daily news from the gaming industry. Moreover, visitors can access a section for unlimited free downloads of patches, trials, games, screen savers, videos, soundtracks, and desktop themes.

As an integral part of WAP, In-Flight Entertainment, and Interactive Television, the Web division and its GameCitizen.com content have contributed to Infogrames by developing software solutions for integrated platforms, thereby strengthening GameCitizen.com’s portal for new communications platforms.

Benefiting from Infogrames’ proven track record and industry leadership in publishing, and distributing video games, GameCitizen.com is the premier online gaming reference point and already foresees international development with further strategic partnerships.

From action (Slave 0), simulation (Total Air War), sports (V-Rally), and strategy games (Imperium Galactica II), to classics like Backgammon and Chess and international new releases, over 300 game titles will be featured on the site.

Based in Old Montreal, GameCitizen.com is made up of gamers, journalists, developers, designers, and other strategic positions, creating many new opportunities in Montreal.

Moreover, with its commitment to rapid growth, GameCitizen.com is always searching for new partnerships for content, marketing, e-commerce, as well as technological partners in the game publishing industry.

About GameCitizen.com and DTI-Infogrames

GameCitizen.com is a division of DTI-Infogrames.

DTI-Infogrames is a privately-held company based in Montreal, Canada. Infogrames Entertainment SA (www.infogrames.com), a world leader in digital interactive entertainment, owns a controlling stake in DTI-Infogrames. Involved since 1995 in software solutions research and development for integrated platforms, DTI-Infogrames’ unique expertise includes in-flight entertainment, interactive television, wireless applications and multiplayer network gaming. DTI-Infogrames is committed to offering its customers the best value-added product.

Visit our Web sites at www.dtisoft.com and www.gamecitizen.com

About Infogrames
Infogrames Entertainment SA (Paris Bourse: SICOVAM 5257) is a worldwide leader in the interactive entertainment software industry. Headquartered in France, the company develops and publishes award-winning computer and video games for the PlayStation® game console, PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo® 64, Nintendo® Game Boy® Color, Sega® Dreamcast™, Macintosh®, and personal computer platforms. Founded in 1983 by chairman and CEO Bruno Bonnell, Infogrames has published many award-winning franchises in its 17-year history, such as Alone In The Dark™, Test Drive®, Driver™, Deer Hunter™, Oddworld™, Unreal, Independence War™, and V-Rally™. The company is also known for its best-selling and award-winning line of children's entertainment software from Humongous Entertainment starring Putt-Putt®, Freddi Fish™, Pajama Sam® and SPY Fox™, as well as its successful Macintosh publishing label, Macsoft, the number one publisher of Macintosh entertainment software. In addition, Infogrames has a number of key strategic licenses including Warner Bros. Looney Tunes™, Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues™, Le Mans 24 Hours®, AM General Hummer®, Harley-Davidson®, and Dodge® Viper.

Related Links: GameCitizen.com

Microsoft releases new MGS PC Info - posted by Erich Becker at 6:50 pm CDT

Microsoft today released more screenshots of Metal Gear Solid for the PC. The new screenshots can be seen at www.mgspc.com.

The website also speaks with Peter Connelly, producer of MGS PC, as he discusses the new high resolution graphics, save anywhere feature, and the added gameplay of the VR Missions being included in the PC version.

The game is set for a retail release in September of this year. Of course, ESCMAG will be there for a full review.

Related Links: Metal Gear Solid PC

Sierra launches Throne of Darkness Website - posted by Erich Becker at 6:45 pm CDT


BELLEVUE, WA (August 21, 2000) - Sierra Studios(tm)today announced the launch of the official website for Throne of Darkness(tm), the incredibly vast action-Role Playing Game (RPG) set in feudal Japan. The new site, found at www.throneofdarkness.com, will provide the gaming community with continuously updated information on Click Entertainment's highly anticipated PC title, due to ship Q1 2001.

The new Throne of Darkness website showcases everything from never-before-seen screen shots, development sketches and a downloadable opening movie, to character overview and animations, gameplay details, development team bios and a threaded discussion forum. There are also links to the latest Throne of Darkness game news, previews, reviews, and press releases.

Throne of Darkness offers gamers both a massive single-player and multiplayer experience as they vie for control of power in ancient Japan. Tightly based on Japanese mythology, the single-player game casts gamers in a fight to overthrow the Dark Warlord and his army of the undead. Seven distinct samurai are ready to challenge the evil that stalks the land. Lead
up to four of these characters into battle with the unique Play Calling system for controlling the computer AI, and wield more than 75 spells based around the four elements. The multiplayer game allows up to 35 gamers to battle for supremacy in this ancient land. Multiplayer will be playable online via Sierra.com powered by Flipside.

Click Entertainment is a San Francisco-based developer of PC and console games. The company's objective is to set new standards in the electronic entertainment industry by creating games of the highest caliber. For more information, visit Click Entertainment's website at www.clickgames.net.

Sierra On-Line, Inc. http://www.sierra.com/ is one of the original developers and largest worldwide publishers of interactive entertainment and productivity software. Sierra is a division of Havas Interactive, a global leader in interactive content, and is one of the world's largest publishers of education, entertainment and home productivity software. Its divisions, Blizzard Entertainment(r) Coktel, Knowledge Adventure(r), Sierra(tm) and Flipside.com(tm) are famous for releasing critically acclaimed and award winning titles. Havas has operations in the US and in Europe and is a subsidiary of the French publishing house Havas, part of Vivendi

Related Links: Throne of Darkness Website

Saturday, August 26, 2000
Two New Reviews LIVE! - posted by Erich Becker at 6:31 pm CDT

Our console sections gets its wake up call as reviewer, John Benedetto, gets his grove on reviewing SouthPeak Interactives, Fighter's Destiny 2 for the Nintendo 64.

"Ever since Street Fighter II exploded onto the video game scene years ago, the genre of fighting games has been a staple of any console system out there. It was expected that every system have its one flagship fighter; SNES had SFII, Genesis had Mortal Kombat and Playstation had Tekken. The Nintendo 64, however, has as of yet been lacking a definitive Grandmaster in the fighting game division. Southpeak Interactive has entered its contender, Fighter Destiny 2, into the competition. Unfortunately, this little scrapper of a video game has a ways to go before it can compete with the other champions."

::Check out the full review here.

The second review comes from me, Erich Becker, as I get to play one of the best action adventure games released this year, Heavy Metal FAKK2. Check out my full review right here.

Thursday, August 24, 2000
Episode IV: Return of Duke Nukem - posted by Erich Becker at 3:15 pm CDT

Duke Nukem is back, and even while we wait for 3DRealms to finish Duke Nukem Forever, the Dukester is getting the episode treatment by WEB Corp. For those who aren't familiar with an episodic game. Gamers download the first episode of a game, free of charge, and then continue to download episodes for a small fee charged to a major credit card. WEB Corp recently aquired the liscense to work with the Duke Nukem name, and they couldn't be happier. Here is the full Press Release.


Episodic Gaming Company Signs One of Most Successful Licenses in Videogame History; Duke Nukem Property Returns to Original Publisher

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- August 23, 2000 -- World Entertainment Broadcasting Corporation (WEB Corp.), the foremost provider of interactive episodic games over the Internet, today announced they have signed a deal with 3D Realms to exclusively publish an episodic game series starring the venerable Duke Nukem. WEB Corp. founder Jim Perkins, the original publisher of the Duke Nukem I, Duke Nukem II and Duke Nukem 3D, will once again bring gaming's greatest action hero to life.

As a result of the deal, consumers will explore new levels, try out new weapons and immerse themselves in the Duke experience when WEB Corp. begins episodic
distribution of this brand-new episodic game series early next year. The game is designed to appeal to long-time Duke fans as well as a brand new audience of casual gamers.

"I can't wait to bust into episodic gaming," said Duke Nukem, star of the upcoming WEB Corp. game series, who was lifting weights and polishing firearms in preparation for his debut. "Before, I was restricted to kicking ass every once in a blue moon. Now that I'm working with WEB Corp., the sky's the limit - I'll be taking on new challenges all the time."

"I am very excited to work with Duke again - this time for our episodic line-up," said Jim Perkins, President and CEO of WEB Corp. "He's got fans around the world
who are hungry for additional challenge, more adventure, and a constant stream of aliens for Duke to blast out of existence. As one of the original publishers of Duke Nukem, I feel strongly that the episodic gaming model is ideal for Duke. This allows us to offer more Duke to more gamers everywhere."

"The episodic gaming model is the next logical step for Duke," said Scott Miller, co-founder of 3D Realms. "We have an opportunity here to combine a successful license with ground-breaking new Internet distribution, resulting in an even better deal for consumers - more game play, less cost, and an ongoing Duke series."

3D Realms created the first game based on the Duke Nukem license in 1991. "Duke Nukem 3D" catapulted the license into superstardom when it sold over 1.5 million copies at retail, as well as one million add-on products, such as "Duke it Out in D.C." To date, over one million PlayStation® game console and Nintendo® 64 ports of Duke Nukem 3D have been sold. WEB Corp. plans to release additional details about the episodic game based on the Duke Nukem license later this year.

This news follows the announcement last month that WEB Corp. has formed a strategic alliance with Sunstorm Interactive, the undisputed leader in casual games. In
addition, the company recently announced development deals with ImaginEngine, winner of Hasbro's 1999 "Excellence in Children's Software" award, and Yobro Productions.

Episodic Games Provide Low-Cost High-Quality Entertainment WEB Corp. is poised to shake up the computer gaming and entertainment industry through direct-to-consumer distribution of interactive products. Within this distribution model, consumers download one episode of a game for free, play it,
and then purchase subsequent episodes online. Consumer benefits from this kind of Webisodic(TM) content include lower cost, easily understood games delivered
at a higher frequency with convenient and simple access through the Internet. According to Forrester Research, the number of casual game players is estimated to reach 34 million by 2002, a 71 percent increase from 1998.

About 3D Realms
3D Realms Entertainment develops compelling interactive entertainment that takes advantage of the latest 3D gaming technology, with a focus on the PC platform. Best known for the Duke Nukem game franchise (since 1991), 3D Realms creates content rich games that focus strongly on central characters. With its offices near Dallas, Texas, 3D Realms, a division of Apogee Software, Ltd., has been a key innovator since 1987, when it pioneered the shareware approach to game
distribution. The company is now one of the best known and respected developers of computer entertainment worldwide. For more information about 3D Realms, please visit http://www.3drealms.com.

About WEB Corp.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, World Entertainment Broadcasting Corp is dedicated to digitally delivering high-quality, compelling entertainment to consumers via the Internet. The company is a global entertainment software publisher for personal computers, video game consoles, next-generation interactive entertainment platforms, personal digital assistants and cell phones. WEB Corp. was formed in 1999. For more information, please visit www.webcorpgames.com.

Related Links: WEB Corp Games

New Column LIVE! - posted by Erich Becker at 2:55 pm CDT

Escape Magazine is proud to present the latest in my long line of columns. My current column deals with the lack of any inovation in a sequel dominated world. Check it out here, or by clicking the link below.

"Looking at the current situation in gaming, it can make you wonder if there is a bright and prosperous future. Everywhere you look, you see Tomb Raider 4, 45 repackages of Half-Life and so very many "me-too" games. Many proclaim that the death of gaming will be the lack of games, but from where I am sitting the death of gaming will not come from a lack of games, it will come from the lack of innovation."
- Erich Becker

Related Links: The True Death of Gaming?


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