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July 28, 2008

EA KICKS-OFF MADDEN NFL 09 LaUNCH WITH MADDENPaLOOZA CELEBRATION

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., July 24, 2008 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that Madden NFL 09 will celebrate its launch with Maddenpalooza, a music, sports and gaming fan festival hosted at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on August 11. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the award-winning Madden NFL franchise and the release of Madden NFL 09, Maddenpalooza will run from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. the day before the official August 12 launch date. The event will feature live musical performances by bands from past and current Madden NFL soundtracks, including Good Charlotte who will headline the music stage. In addition to the music performances, Maddenpalooza attendees can enjoy a number of fan-friendly festivities including autograph signing stations with retired NFL legends, interactive NFL activities, 300 Xbox 360® gaming kiosks to play Madden NFL 09, and a Wal-mart pop-up store where customers can be among the first to purchase their copy of Madden NFL 09.

”Maddenpalooza will truly be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular video games in history,” said Director of Marketing Chris Erb. “The fan festival will provide an interactive experience for Madden fans to come together and experience Madden NFL 09 before its launch.”

Each summer, the launch of Madden NFL has emerged as a highly anticipated event that wins the attention of both consumers and media across the country. Past Madden NFL launches have centered around the concept of Maddenoliday, where thousands of Madden NFL fans flocked to stores and took the day off from work and school to immerse themselves in that year’s copy of Madden NFL. This year, with Maddenpalooza, EA SPORTS™ will take it to the next level for the 20th anniversary of Madden NFL. Hosted at the Rose Bowl, the stadium where John Madden and the 1976 Oakland Raiders won their first Super Bowl, Maddenpalooza brings together the impressive mix of elements from sports, entertainment and video games that have made the Madden NFL franchise an American pop culture icon.

In addition to Good Charlotte, whose song “The Anthem” first appeared on the Madden NFL 03 soundtrack, other music acts scheduled to perform include Busta Rhymes, Rev Theory, Airbourne, From First to Last and Young Dre The Truth. Each of these bands will perform throughout the day – leading up to the first sales of Madden NFL 09 which will begin at 9 p.m. PST at the Wal-mart pop-up store located within the Rose Bowl stadium.

Admission to Maddenpalooza is free, tickets will be distributed through the Los Angeles based radio station KIIS, as well as various other local radio stations and promotional partners. There will also be a limited amount of tickets available at the Rose Bowl on August 11 through a first-come-first-serve basis.

Madden NFL 09, the First Sports Game That Adapts To You, introduces over 85 new features and enhancements. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or a franchise rookie, Madden NFL 09 will continuously asses your skills and adjust the gameplay to keep the experience both fun and challenging, all while training gamers to become better Madden players. Madden NFL 09 also includes a brand-new broadcast presentation package featuring Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond, online leagues, and the most realistic graphics in franchise history.

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May 21, 2008

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue

Title: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
Genre: Racing
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Release Date: April 15, 2008
ESRB: E
Rating: 8 out of 10

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If it seems like a year is too long to wait for Gran Turismo 5, then Sony will satisfy your love of the road with this abridged and early version. I sort of think that $39.99 is a lot for a teaser, but now that I’ve played it non-stop for days I think it is worth it.

It’s sort of weird how the game starts and you have nothing. You have to buy your first car, and then the collecting starts. Part of the game is about collecting new cars and they’re all different so it is always cool. There are only 60 cars. This is more than enough for me, but still it would be better if there were more. They are sorted by brand such as Ferrari, Acura, Honda, Ford, Mitsubishi, Dodge, etc. There’s plenty of variety in terms of learning how each car handles and accelerates. I’m psyched that I can race using my car, and Acura Integra. There’s not much tuning, but then again, that’s not what GT is for.

The graphics and audio are amazing and enveloping once properly configured. Watching a full 1080p on my 65” HDTV and listening to 7.1 multi-channel sound makes me feel as much of a race car driver as I’ve ever felt if not more so. If anything, GT5 Prologue shows us that GT5 will look stellar. The details are all there. Shadows sweep across the track, water ripples on infield lakes, the steering wheels are leather wrapped. The only disappointment is that the crowd looks like some cardboard cutouts – Sony would have been better off leaving the crowd out completely rather than doing a half-assed job.

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The graphics really shine when you start to change camera perspectives while driving. One view involves you sitting behind the wheel, steering left and right, shifting, and tilting your head from side to side. You’ve got side view and rear view mirrors. The details are noteworthy. I’ve never seen another racing game like this. Of course, I find that view hard to use for racing and opt to use one that is almost first person. I think, and I would for someone from Sony to give me a pixel count, that there are more pixels in the rear view mirror of GT5P than there were in the whole screen in my beloved GT on PSX.

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April 23, 2008

Midway Gamers Day 2008

I recently went out to Las Vegas for Midway's Gamers Day at the Red Rock Resort. They showed a few games: NBA Ballers: Chosen One, Wheelman, TNA Impact, Unreal Tournament 3 Xbox 360, and This is Vegas were playable. They also announced a Mortal Kombat and DC Comics game, which looked like a MK fighter with Scorpion, Sub Zero, Superman, and Batman confirmed as characters. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd about that one. We wondered how the whole fatality thing would play out with the super heroes, for example, would DC want Superman to rip out his opponent's skull and show it to him? They also announced sequels for Game Party and Touch Master as well as Blitz: The League.

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There was a lot of talk, especially from Midway execs like Mark Booty, Interim President and CEO, about how Midway is reaping the benefits of centralization and standardization. The different studios share assets like game engines and design tools as well as knowledge. You could see how licensing the Unreal Engine and then using it to build every game is paying off in terms of how the games look, how complex the game play is, and how quickly they can come to market.

The big focus was on This is Vegas. The game is being made by Surreal Software in Seattle - they've been working on it for three plus years. It's an open world of a likeness of Vegas where you gamble, party, race, and fight. It's an ambitious project to create a world that big. This gives players the chance to live out "their Vegas fantasy." It looked OK, nothing special in terms of graphics or audio. The focus has definitely been on game play. I did the dancing mini-game, the same that was shown during the press conference. I thought that it was fun. I wonder about it conceptually though. My concern is that by offering many types of game play it may end up asking players to play in ways that they don't want to play, for example, the guy who wants to drive around and beat people up may not be the same guy who wants to enter a dance contest. But I talked to Darci Morales about this concern and she said that if you don't want to play a particular mini-game you don't have to. The point of all the mini-games is to build your buzz and gain experience and you could choose to do that however you want. I'm mainly interested in seeing how all of the different games and gaming mechanics translate into a holistic gaming experience. I think This Is Vegas is noteworthy because it looks like it'll be a hell of an achievement for Surreal and Midway when it is done and it deserves merit if only for being a massive effort at establishing an open game play world with lots of variety. I'm not sure whether that translates into being a successful game in an overall sense. I'd get a better idea from a more in depth demo where I could see how the player goes from one mode to the other, how fluid that is, and how all of the different modes combine.

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January 20, 2008

UbiSoft 2008 Preview

I met with Ubisoft the other day and talked to them about the games that they are working on for 2008. I saw a bunch of demos, and played some games. They even brewed a fresh pot of coffee for me.

Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 - It's the 10 year anniversary of the franchise and it returns with a bigger (meaning more game play) story. Due out in March 2008. There's a greater degree of character customization in equipment and experience points can be applied to better weapons. Enemy and squad AI is better. There's been a huge expansion of co-op game play - friends can jump in and out of the game on the fly without restarting levels. It's the same core game play as version 1 with simple team controls. They've worked hard to add verticality to the levels such as looking up and seeing an enemy through a skylight and then having to go outside and climb up onto the roof to get him. There's destructible cover so you can't sit in one spot and hide. You sort of have to think and plan rather than charge right in. There are 7 locations and each location has multiple scenarios.
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Far Cry 2 - They set out to keep the best parts of the original. The intention is to keep it real yet exotic so this version takes place in Africa. There's 50 square kilometers of open game world, mostly savanna with some jungle. All objects are coded meaning that nothing is just a stupid graphic so trees grow while you're playing and everything can take damage. There's wind and light from the sun that change as the day progresses. No mission will ever be exactly the same because there's a randomness about how enemies are deployed; they're not always in the same place at the same time. It's fast paced and from what I saw there was a lot of fire which is always a good thing. One fascinating thing that Clint Hocking (Creative Director) brought up is that it is now cheaper in terms of utilizing system resources to create vegetation procedurally than it is to make it animated. The game is due out roughly around holiday 2008. It will be the same game on console as on PC with the PC version having higher resolution.
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Petz Bunnyz - This cute little DS game is basically targeted at young girls who want to play with fluffy bunnies at Easter time. It's not my kind of game, but if you have a daughter who wants to raise a virtual bunny and play with it then this would be a hit.

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November 11, 2007

NBA 2K8 Review

NBA 2k8
Matt Congdon
Score 3.5/5

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Basketball, when anyone cares, is such a great sport. It’s all about being down to the wire and the players are running on empty but still manage to get that game winning steal. However the problem is in the NBA it seems like they hardly care. The NBA finals this year this amassed an all time low of viewers, which shows that the players’ lack of interest is infectious. I know I didn’t watch it, but I think I must have watched 30+ college games during the NCAA playoffs. As far as NBA video games go, NBA 2K8 does a good job capturing the feel of the NBA. The game has its lows and its highs. It can get very exciting when you tied up going into the final minute and playing against a friend, but playing against the computer isn’t that fun.
NBA 28k is a lot of fun at times but just like the NBA has some definite flaws. One of the most obvious is that too many damn layups and dunks are missed. If there is someone else in your vicinity in the paint chances are you will miss the layup. You shoot literally about 25% on layups with a defender on you. It gets really annoying after you miss a couple in a row. That problem also extends to shooting elsewhere. If there is a defender in your face you can’t shoot at all. For 3 pt shots for example if you are wide open you might shoot about 60%, while with a defender on a mere 10% or less. This make playing defense tough because you know if they swing to an open guard on the perimeter it’s pretty much automatic.

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NBA Live 08 Review

Review by Matt Congdon
Score: 2 out of 5

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The first EA Sports game that I played was Madden 64. I was horrified. I explicitly asked for NFL QB Club 98 for Christmas, but I was stuck with madden (what does my mom know about football or games). In my eyes this game sucked hard. How can you make a game without an NFL license or endorsements? When wanting to play as the Patriots I was stuck with some team named “Foxboro”, not to mention that the graphics sucked and so did the game play. I would describe it the pinnacle of boring. I promised this would be the last EA Sports game I would buy.
Later in life, I got a PS2 and decided to give EA Sports another chance on a different console. I was thrilled at Madden 2001,. The game kicked ass, and it kept getting better as the years passed. EA Sports produced a string of brilliant games and that kept getting bigger and better. I thought this was the kind of company that was out for the players not the dollars. Their hockey and basketball games all were a lot of fun to play and somehow the developers improved them from year to year.
Of course, EA Sports let me down. They suck again, They have started a long down spiral, passing mediocre a year or two ago and they are now about as bad as I can imagine [[I’m trying to avoid obscenity. Sucks is ok, but I draw the line at shit. MDS]]. NBA LIVE 08 illustrates this point. This game is crap. EA Sports just threw money and a deadline at a development team. It is inexplicable to me how a company can mess up basketball so badly after having good editions for last generation consoles. The game looks alright on an HDTV, but on an SDTV looks very distorted and odd. It seems like there are a lot of fisheye type replay angles. There are so many flaws that, the decent game they might have had for PS2 is now damaged goods.

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October 28, 2007

Rock Band Preview

I was lucky enough to be invited up to MTV the other day to take a look at the upcoming Rock Band. First of all, that building is really something. The lobby has a big waterfall and they actually had someone playing piano. I couldn't help but wonder when Sarrel Group is going to hire a pianist to play in the lobby during lunch time. Second of all, the room they showed me the game in was like a home theater lab and was very cool. Big huge projection screen TV and a massive sound system. Add that to an inside look at one of the most anticipated games of the year and what could be bad?

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To cut to the chase, I loved it. I had a great time playing the game. So much fun. It really tapped the closet musician in me. Much more than Guitar Hero, which is a hell of a lot of fun too, but Rock Band gives you more variety. If I felt like playing guitar I could. If I wanted to sing I could. Or I could play drums. Or not play drums very well as it would turn out. I wish there were more songs in the game, but overall I totally have to recommend Rock Band for people who want to play music games.

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My love affair with Harmonix began back in the day of Frequency and Amplitude. At one point I reviewed Amplitude as one of the most innovative games to come out on PS2. Gameplay has remained essentially the same and I love it. This is apparently the culmination of everything that Harmonix has been working towards over the years.

The hook here is that you can play bass, guitar, drums, or sing. There is a real group experience. People can form their own band and then play together either in one place or online. The cool thing is that how well each of you play affects the overall score and the band's success. If someone screws up the others can bail them out with "overdrive" which is similar to GH's "star power". Guitar and bass are the same. Drums was really hard for me. After screwing up over and over again I developed the theory that I can no longer move my arms to push buttons as part of a game - I can only move my fingers to push buttons in a game. Vocals kicked ass. I have always wanted to scream Mississippi Queen (you know what I mean) while pretending I'm Leslie West.

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October 14, 2007

Midway TNA Impact! World Premiere

I'm down in Atlanta covering the world premiere of Midway's TNA Impact! video game. This is a very cool event focused on what looks to be a very cool game. We've rubbed elbows with TNA wrestlers, played the game against lead designers, drank an awful lot of bourbon, and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. You might even say it's been "Total Non-stop Action".

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I'm going to follow this up with a post tonight about the actual wrestling match. They got us press passes so we can get right up front and hopefully we'll take some great photos. I've also got some interviews with wrestlers that I'm going to post. I had a great time talking to Samoan Joe. He and I both wrestled in high school and then played judo afterwards. And now I write this blog and he beats the crap out of people in an 18 month undefeated streak.

The game looked very good. The wrestlers worked closely with Midway on facial capture, mocap, and the dynamics of the game. The 6 sided ring is there - they're adding cages, glass, and barbed wire later. The version we saw was about 60% complete so it was a little buggy, ie you could throw guys through fences and stuff. It was really fun to play, not like other wrestling games which have traditionally been a mix of button mashing and really hard to memorize combos. I thought that even at this early stage it had a very good feel to it in terms of how satisfying it was to lay the smackdown on someone and the rhythm of counter-attacks and reversals. One thing that I like in particular is the way guys react to getting punched; if you punch a guy in the face he grabs his face, and if you kick him in the gut he grabs his gut.

There are a lot of grapples, reversals, alternate-grapples, and aerial moves. It's pretty fast paced for a wrestling game. There's the beloved Irish Whip, climbing the turnbuckles, and running around the ring. The ropes ripple when you run into them which is a nice touch.

We only played some one on one quick play. They're adding a story mode, create-a-player, tag team, and online play.

Oh yeah, and Samoan Joe says he's going to kill you.

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May 17, 2007

The Bigs

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This game will ship June 25 and be available for 360, ps-3 psp, wii. This is the first 2k sports game on Wii, all aspects of the game use the Wiimote - pitching, catching, running.

Today we're looking at the Xbox 360 version.

Why The Bigs? It's a heroic baseball game, over the top, arcadey. The game celebrates the sport of baseball and make highllights and dramatic moments happen, including big catches, wall catches, dives, etc. It's all genuine MLB licensed products with all teams and all stadiums, but with a little bit of a dramatic flare.

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There are super slo-mo diving catches. What the players do is still tied to stats but also like a mini-game of timing button pushes to pull off the spectacular. In a double play timing is critical, hold onto it for too long and they slide into and knock you down. There's a knock over catcher button mashing to get slider on your side and then you bowl the catcher over and maybe he loses the ball. 2K Sports is bending the rules to make the game more interesting but not taking it to extremes like MLB Slugfest which was a ton of fun but not very much like baseball.

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There's a turbo meter and a big play meter. When pitching, throw strikes to earn turbo, batter takes ball and gets turbo, use turbo to enhance pitches and hits, use turbo in the field to run to the ball or whip it in from the outfield. Turbo becomes pretty important tactically. Pitches based on button that you push to choose pitch, aim with reticle, them meter fills up. Batting is simple - contact green or power red; you can influence direction of the hit with the left thumbstick. You manage baserunning with the left analog stick and color coded base running icons over each guys head. It's easiest to advance all or retreat all using bumpers. The big play meter gives you power blast ability to drive ball deep just by making contact, or make a defensive big play meaning big heat so all pitches are super charged and when you strike the opponent out you steal his points

Homerun pinball is Katie's favorite feature. It was pretty fun. It's like batting practice in Times Square and all the signs and objects are worth points when you hit them. It's a lot of fun and very competitive.

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multiplayer - 2-4 players coop switching turns
online play also

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March 6, 2007

The Redman Interview

Def Jam Icon ships today to PS3 and Xbox 360. EA was in town and they arranged for me to interview Redman and play the game with him. It was really exciting to meet him.

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Redman enters
MDS: How’s it going?
Redman: It’s just the bomb, man. The bomb. Smoked this (holds up mostly smoked blunt) We all ready for business.
Someone offers Redman a light. The lighter is green.
Redman: That’s a good color.
MDS: Green’s a good color, eh?
Laughing, Redman lights blunt.
MDS: I gotta tell you, Redman. I am a huge fan of yours. Much of my time in the mid ‘90’s was spent playing video games and listening to your music.
Redman: And getting high.
MDS: OK, OK. I wasn’t going to come right out and say it. And getting high.
MDS: The other thing is that I grew up in NJ
Redman: What part?
MDS: Millburn. So a lot of the places that you sing about, like Irvington
Redman: East Orange, Plainfield, Springfield
MDS: yeah, I always get a huge kick out of that
Redman: Nice. Nice.
MDS: So, how do you like the game?
Redman: I think the fucking game is fucking fabulous.
MDS: That’s your official quote?
Redman: Yes. I’m still trying to learn the motherfucker.
MDS: Did you play games when you were a little kid?
Redman: I had Atari. I had Coleco. So, yeah. I even had a Jaguar when it was out for a minute. I played a lot as a kid, but when I was introduced to Doom it took it to another level.
MDS: Oh, yeah!
Redman: I’m a first person shooter kind of gamer.
MDS: Totally. Doom2 totally changed my life. (High fives all around)
Redman: Yeah, man. I always wanted to meet the motherfuckers who did Doom.
MDS: I used to work at the NJ Medical School, on South Orange Ave in Newark. I was a network administrator and I built this whole setup so we could play Doom over the network after work.
Redman: Nice
MDS: We would play all night. It was awesome.
Redman: Wasn’t that shit weird, man.
MDS: There was nothing like that.
Redman: Nothing like that in the fucking world.
MDS: And it just like totally sucked you in and gave you this feeling of power.
Redman: And it felt like what Hell was like. Oh shit, that was messed up. They made one for Xbox, didn’t they?
MDS: Yeah, for Xbox 360, last year.
Redman: You know what else was a fucking good game? Powerstone. They ain’t never made anything like that again. Powerstone was a dope ass fucking game.
Kudo explains the controls to Redman.
Kudo: The face buttons are attacks so you can start whaling on those. The right analog stick, you can do a grab and throw by pushing up and then down.
Redman: You showed me some of that shit before.
Kudo: If you rotate the right thumbstick around from say 3 o’clock to the left it’ll knock the guy to the left. If you rotate it around to the right, it’ll swing kick him to the right. Or if you go straight down and straight up that’ll…
MDS: Would that by any chance be a blunt?
Redman: Yeah. Yeah, you can have it. Sure.
MDS: Dude, that is so fucking sweet. Thanks.
Redman: That’s the end of it but you can still smoke up on that one.
MDS: Thank you, sir.
Voice in the background says, “Someone take a picture of that”
Redman (still playing game): I’m trying to remember my grabs.
Kudo: Right, so if you push up on the right thumbstick then you can grab a guy and throw him into the hazards.
Redman: I know. The background has fucking got it.
Kudo: Why don’t you two guys fight it out? Hands controller to Matt
Redman: Yeah, while we’re getting high.

MDS: So how did you get involved in actually making the games?
Redman: I really owe everything to Lauren. You know, she’s been in my whole career, the whole time I’ve been banging out music. I’m just glad she saw what she wanted to do and she included me in her plans. First of all, she know me and Meth is big gamers. And for her to have this kind of plan and give me this kind of opportunity I think it’s beautiful. I like this shit and I don’t even like fighting games. I don’t play Tekken
MDS: What makes this better?
Redman: I mean it’s fucking like reality, man.
MDS: It’s not just button mashing
Redman: What it is, is that the characters are on here, the MCs and actors and stuff, but that is not the main issue. That is not what’s keeping this game over. Oh, I got a better character so I killed you. That’s not what it’s about. The action, the details, what’s going on with these things in the back. It’s taking it to the next fucking level. Watch a lot of games want to be like this shit here.
Other: Who do enjoy whipping on the most?
MDS: He seems to be enjoying kicking my ass.
Kudo: You can see how he’s taking damage and his face is messed up and his clothes are torn.
Redman: yeah, man, the fucking background. I’m fighting some guy and there’s a car and other fucking shit coming out.
MDS: So do you play a lot of games now?
Redman: I still play games. I’m on Call of Duty 3 for 360. And the reason why that’s out of control is because I’m learning shit on there. It’s not just fighting and shit but putting me in the action how these fucking soldiers were back then, the Germans and all that shit.
MDS: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Other: Tell me a little bit about the new album you have coming out.
Redman: The new album is called Red Gone Wild and it’s coming out on the 27th. I called it Red Gone Wild, not because it’s more wild and shit, I’d be doing that anyway. I broke the mold with previous albums I did. I got the deuces. I got a team now, I’m introducing Yellowhouse, MC’s Dick and Don, Ready Rock, Raquel, Marquee, Melanie, and E3. I haven’t had an album out in a while and want everyone to think of this as an introduction. This is some good music and I want to hear more. You all can tell I’ve grown. I’m 36 now so I can’t be talking about crazy young shit
MDS: You know, man, I was reading your bio and I saw that you’re born in April 1970. I was born in March 1970.
Redman: Yeah.
MDS: It’s funny.
Redman: Yeah, it is. You know, you right there. Meth was born in March 1971. Yeah.
Other: So are you happy with your character in the game?
Redman: Yeah. I love it. The thing is with all my characters in all the games they come up to me and say “Yo, your character is hard as hell to whup.”
Other: What do you think is the illest thing you ever said? What makes you say, That’s my shit right there?
Redman: On the mixing? I don’t know, I’ve got some pretty dope shit on there, like number 10, number 3.
Other: There’s something about Lil Wayne?
Redman: Yo, I blow ya minds, like Kurt Cobain. My block is hot like Lil' Wayne, I'll pop ya little chain. I'm ready, hip hop is not gon' be the same. Like the Roc and Dame, I'll dot the little change.
Redman: You know me. I’ll do the mixing. Number 10 is really where I showed some skills with that Eminem beat.
Redman: I’m in the studio like 15-20 hours a day. I’ve got my own studio in midtown Manhattan so you know midtown, you better get on that bitch.
MDS: Yeah, you’d better use it.
Redman: Once I put my name on that lease, that’s where my time goes. My studio ain’t got no windows or nothing like that. That’s how I get my shit on.
Redman and I continue fighting each other.
MDS: You play a lot of 360?
Redman: Yeah, I got the 360. I also got the PS3 but I ain’t really banged out on that yet. You know what I’m really surprise at? The Wii system.
MDS: I love it. It’s very inventive. There are so many different things you can do. The controller is pretty cool.
Redman: I think that’s some new wave shit that they’re doing.
Other: What’s your favorite game with you in it?
Redman: Right now, this Def Jam Icon shit. I was in this EA Sports basketball game.
Other: You were an unlockable character.
Redman: Yeah. I thought that was really cool.
MDS: What do you think of the convergence of urban culture and gaming? You know, like there’s more hip hop games. You’ve got all the kids playing games. More and more games use popular music. Do you see the games and music becoming more tied together as time goes by?
Redman: Hell yeah. Why wouldn’t they? That’s the new wave. Music, games. It sells. That’s what it is. I want to make some adult games. Like really wild. There’s plenty of kids games, but adults like to play games too. You could have a party and invite people over and show ass, titties, everything.

Redman: You can get hit by these graphics, too. You can get hit by the camera or the lights.
MDS: Yeah, you can throw the guy into them.

MDS: That’s awesome that you played Doom 2 like that.
Redman: Yeah.

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March 3, 2007

SEGA's NYC Demo Day

SEGA was in town the other day and I checked out a bunch of their games. Almost everything they showed ships on March 20, 2007. I'm not sure why March 20 is such a significant date for them that they have to deliver every game on that same day. But whatever, I'll take them. A bunch of these were really fun. Virtua Tennis is always fun and Armored Core played pretty well, that is if you like blowing things to pieces.


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Virtua Tennis 3 for psp, xbox 360, ps3. This game flat out looks great on the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The attention to detail is superb: little puffs of dust come up from your footsteps when you run on the clay court, the linesmen move out of the way when the ball is hit at them. You can create your own player, customize him or her as far as appearance, cloths and equipment. Then you practice and play on the world tour, slowly advancing and improving your skills. On Xbox 360 there's a whole online leaderboard system. Four people can play together online from four different consoles. You can watch other people's online matches and develop your strategy against them.

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Armored Core 4
This is a mech game, but unlike other mech games you can actually move quickly in this game. Most mechs feel like you're piloting them through molasses, but in Armored Core 4 you can jump and strafe and all those good things. Multiplayer online is new. There are 6 different factions. They wanted to make it appeal to new players and veterans as well. You start in the Independent City and it's sort of like a training mission. There are over 35 different missions. You have primary and secondary fire weapons. Your mech is highly mobile and you can strafe; there's regular boost and quick boost for dodging during combat. In general, mechs are more agile than before, and I can say that it seemed so when I played. I could jump over stuff and quickly cut to the side to avoid enemy fire. It's for ps3 and 360 and ships on mar 20. You can customize appearance with paint and emblems and can use the colors to camoflage yourself. This is pretty cool because you could do something like put on desert camo to fight in the desert and have an advantage. You can trade weapons and parts with other players online; some missions are search and rescue, most take 20 minutes or more, mechs have primal armor which is like a force field.

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Sonic and the Secret Rings
, just released on Tuesday. This game was designed specifically for the Wii and has more of a 2d feel to it. You tilt the controller left and right to steer while Sonic naturally accelerates. Press 2 to jump, snap the controller forward to catch some more air and do your homing attack. It's an arabian nights story where Sonic needs to find 7 rings before the evil genie does. There are 8 different game worlds each with a few tracks. As far as multiplayer, there are 40 party games for up to 4 players. They all have different movements of the controller depending on the games. It's an E rated title targeted at family fun. This is a solid Sonic game and I hold Sonic games in high regard. There was a time when I sunk at least 80 hours into Sonic on my Game Gear. Man, that was a long time ago.

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February 2, 2007

SPLITFISH™ CLARIFIES JANUARY 30 SONY PLAYSTATION 3 FORCE FEEDBACK SYSTEM NEWS RELEASE

Edmonton - Feb 02, 2007 SplitFish(tm) GameWare Inc., a leader in video game hardware innovation, today responded to the growing interest and speculation stemming from their January 30 press release regarding their SensorFX force feedback system that they have developed for the PlayStation 3 and other next-generation video game consoles.

According to SplitFish president, Ken Tetterington, “SplitFish is devoted to bringing our controller technologies such as the SensorFX and EdgeFX to the PlayStation 3 and other next generation gaming systems so that consumers can have the most exciting, immersive gaming experience possible. We have met recently and continue discussions with Sony Computer Entertainment of America specifically related to SplitFish’s up coming PS3 gaming technology portfolio. However, SCEA have not, as they have stated, yet seen our very recent force feedback technology.”
“We have a very amiable relationship with Sony,” continued Tetterington, “Our goal is to work in cooperation with Sony to provide a win-win situation for PlayStation 3 owners.”

The new SplitFish dynamic force feedback system was designed to insure compliant operation with the new tilt, motion and directional sensor technologies currently found in the next generation consoles. While the SplitFish EdgeFX uses a mechanical feedback system, this new technology produces a whole new aspect of force and tactile feedback.

This low power consumption force feedback technology uses no moving parts to produce meaningful sensory feedback. A broad range of intensity and sensation compliment the ability to derive feedback sensations from isolated areas on the controller, one side or the other, movement from front to back or all areas at the same time. As an example, a gamer playing a racing game can feel variations in pulse, strength and location allowing them to feel intensity differences between a smooth guardrail swipe and a full frontal slam into a wall.

The patent pending SensorFX has two modes, one for games that have force feedback support already built in and the other mode that relies on motion tilt sensing and button use and other actions to trigger the SensorFX tactile feedback. SplitFish plans to work with video game publishers and next-generation hardware manufacturers in an effort to establish standard support for this full directional force feedback technology.

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EA AND PANDEMIC STUDIOS ANNOUNCE WORLDWIDE CO-PUBLISHING DEAL FOR MERCENARIES 2: WORLD IN FLAMES

Redwood City, Calif. – February 1, 2007 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS), the world’s leading interactive entertainment company and Pandemic Studios, one of the world’s leading independent game developers, today announced a worldwide co-publishing deal for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames™, the sequel to the best-selling* new intellectual property of 2005, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction™. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Pandemic Studios and to be working together to make Mercenaries 2: World in Flames a global blockbuster,” said EA Partners vice president and general manager, David DeMartini. “EA Partners is committed to providing the world's best development studios with access to EA’s unrivaled global publishing resources, helping gamemakers reach the widest possible audience.”

“Pandemic Studios is excited to join forces with EA Partners to give Mercenaries 2: World in Flames a spectacular global launch,” said Pandemic Studios CEO Andrew Goldman. “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames will set the bar for explosive, open world action games in the next generation, and everyone at Pandemic is excited that fans will be able to get their hands on it later this year.”

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is currently in development by Pandemic Studios and is slated for release in 2007 on the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. For more information on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames visit www.mercs2.com.

*According to NPD Data

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Continue reading "EA AND PANDEMIC STUDIOS ANNOUNCE WORLDWIDE CO-PUBLISHING DEAL FOR MERCENARIES 2: WORLD IN FLAMES" »

January 31, 2007

Major League Baseball 2K7

I met with my good friends Anthony (from 2K Sports) and Katie (from Access PR) yesterday and they showed me Major League Baseball 2K7 on Xbox 360 and PS3. It's going to be available on everything except GameCube and Wii (they would have had to create a whole new control system and couldn't do it in time for the season) and it will ship in the first week of March 2007. i was pretty impressed with it. Overall, the graphics and sound are great. The details are all there, from Inside Edge statistics that affect AI on a play by play basis, to 150 signature style individualized player animations, and even to shirts rippling in the wind and little puffs of dirt coming up from player's footsteps. The commentary was reasonably interesting, at least for the few innings that we played. The heckling "Hey, I stole your girlfriend Jeter") was pretty cool.

Here's a screenshot from PS3:
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Pitching controls remain the same, using the "Payoff Pitching" system and now you can even control the catcher and have him call the game. Hitting is the same using the swing stick. On PS3 you also have the option to swing using the controller due to it's 6-axis motion sensing capability. I couldn't get the hang of this during the brief time that I had with the game. They reworked a lot of the fielding so that momentum when running seems more real than last year. They also revamped every stadium, including lighting down to the way that shadows affect hitting. The PIP baserunning makes it easy to control runners.

Here's a screenshot from Xbox360:
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There is online play with online leagues for both Xbox 360 and PS3.

Also new is the ability to manage your budget and set ticket prices in franchise mode.

Here's a PSP screenshot:
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2K Sports Announces All-Pro Football 2K8

NEW YORK, NY – January 31, 2007 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today the return of football to its video game line-up with All-Pro Football 2K8. The critically acclaimed 2K football series once again hits the gridiron with the legendary gameplay, innovative features, and outstanding visual quality sports gamers have come to expect from 2K Sports.

“Football gamers have been awaiting the return of the 2K series,” said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “All-Pro Football 2K8 will deliver an authentic next generation gridiron experience and we are happy to give fans another choice in the football category.”

All-Pro Football 2K8 will be available this summer on next generation video game systems.

For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com.


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January 30, 2007

Midway Winter Gamers Day

I spent a few days in Las Vegas last week to visit Midway. They booked The Joint at the Hard Rock for a great event that highlighted several of their 2007 and 2008 titles. They had some great sushi and the scotch was flowing freely; what could be bad?

BlackSite: Area 51 This FPS is due to ship summer 2007 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The story is pretty cool. You're sent into an area because some troops are missing and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. There are all sorts of creepy crawlies that come after you. My favorite are the ones that you kill but their heads pop off and continue to pursue you. Midway promises realistic sound, but I couldn't tell because it was in a crowded noisy room. The graphics look great and lighting effects were very cool. The massively destructible environment is another cool thing. All in all, the short level that I played was a whole lot of fun. There's also a basic squad based element, which I mainly used to order my guys ahead on point. There were some performance issues, but it's a very early build. All in all, this is a title that I'm looking forward to.
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Hour of Victory This Xbox 360 WWII FPS is built on the Unreal Engine 3 so it looked fantastic. The innovation with this title is the ability to switch between 3 characters. There's the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character, the stealthy slit their necks from behind character, and the eagle eyed sniper. At various points in each level you are given the opportunity to switch guys. Interestingly, you can do any part of the game using any character although some are better at certain parts than others. I found that using the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character made this game feel exactly like Call of Duty. Not a bad thing for me, because I love these WWII shooters. In fact, I can remember a night when the guy in the apartment above me asked me to stop storming the beaches at Normandy (Medal of Honor) because it was 2 in the morning. I wonder how many other people like them. How much of a market is there for them? Very little was said about multiplayer modes, although the level looked like a good multiplayer design. The other cool thing is that you can take over turrets, planes, tanks, etc. That's always tons of fun in multiplayer.
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They also showed Stranglehold which looks like so much fun. I've written about it several times before.
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They showed a trailer for The Wheelman with Vin Deisel. I can never tell very much about a game from the trailer. It's too early for me to have anything to say about this one.

They showed a great video about the controls for Mortal Kombat: Armagedon for Wii. This looks like a lot of fun. It's basically a combination of swipes and motions with the remote and a little button pushing. I'm really looking forward to playing this one.
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And finally they had playable The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar which is a MMO for PC. They announced that it will ship on April 24, 2007. They just started a pre-order program which gets you the game for $9.99 per month or $199 lifetime. It looked good and there was a lot of excitement about it.

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January 29, 2007

MIDWAY CONFIRMS THEORY IS A FACT: BLACKSITE: AREA 51 IS COMING SUMMER 2007

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 29, 2007 – Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced BlackSite™: Area 51®, an action packed, first person shooter experience which pits gamers against alien enemy forces using the infamous U.S. government landmark, Area 51®, and the surrounding areas as the battlefield backdrop. BlackSite: Area 51 is currently in development for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and for the PC.

Developed by Midway Studios - Austin, BlackSite: Area 51 is a next-generation game that will redefine the first person shooter (FPS) genre. While other FPS titles claim to feature
“action-packed, highly realistic gameplay,” BlackSite: Area 51 takes next-gen gaming to an
all-new level integrating cutting edge technology, game design and story writing to create the ultimate entertainment experience. The player’s modern-day emotions and fears are driven into a world charged with grave responsibility affecting lives hanging in the balance and eventually finding himself torn between his professional orders and his own ethical standards. In the end, only the actions of the player and his squad can shape the outcome of BlackSite: Area 51 during this potentially pivotal moment in history.

“BlackSite: Area 51 gives players the opportunity to experience next-generation, first person shooter action in one of the world’s most intriguing and mysterious environments,” said Denise Fulton, studio head, Midway Studios - Austin. “Gamers will be instantly immersed in the game’s seamless storyline, set in the desert and small towns surrounding Area 51 that feature highly detailed environments that transform themselves into awesome battlefields. Without question, BlackSite: Area 51 will raise the bar in the next generation FPS genre with its stunning visuals, life-like squad interactions and its multitude of online multiplayer modes.”

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January 24, 2007

EA Demo Night

The other night my good friends at EA invited me to come over and see some of their upcoming titles. Overall, it looks like they have a strong spring liineup. I spent so much time there that they were kidding me that I should help pack up.

Command and Conquer 3 - The epic struggle between the Global Defense Initiative and The Brotherhood of NOD continues as the third Tiberium war begins. This is a pretty solid RTS for Xbox 360. I was surprised at how easy it was to command my troops across the whole map. The PC version ships on March 28 and the Xbox 360 version ships in Spring 2007.
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Def Jam: Icon - What can I say, these Def Jam games are massively popular. This one integrates hip hop music and fighting like never before. The music actually affects the fight. Drive him down with a series of punches that grow stronger because they match the bass line. Environments pulsate and debris flies along with the music. There's also an all new single player story mode that takes you from nobody to hip hop mogul as you build a record label, discover new talent, and become a hip hop icon yourself.
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Medal of Honor Vanguard - I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: Everyone likes killing Nazis. This latest installment of the highly successful WWII FPS is back and it looked great. They've simplified the HUD and gotten rid of the medpack system. Now when you're hurt you go hide in the corner and heal. This ships in March 2007 for PS2 and Wii.
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NBA STREET Homecourt - Featuring a brand new game engine that will knock your socks off, this wild street trick basketball game returns. This game is totally next gen with guys sweating, muscles rippling, cloth physics, all very smoothly integrated into game play. A new animation engine makes all the crazy moves you can pull look fluid. New controls let you create hundreds of tricks on the fly. Get ready to defy gravity and practice saying "Not in my house"!
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December 23, 2006

TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT(TM) SNEAKS UP ON PLAYSTATION®3

SAN FRANCISCO - December 21, 2006 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announces that it will launch Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent(TM) on the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system worldwide in March 2007, in time for the European launch of Sony's powerful new console.

Ubisoft will develop special features for the PLAYSTATION®3 system version, adding multiplayer maps and skins, as well as support for the SIXAXIS(TM) wireless controller in single player and multiplayer modes. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent(TM) will be a perfect fit for the PLAYSTATION®3 system's raw power.

"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent is already a best-seller and has set a new standard for the Splinter Cell series,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO at Ubisoft. "I am sure that Double Agent will prove to be a must-have title for PLAYSTATION 3 system.”

About Ubisoft:
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through its strong and diversified line-up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 21 countries and sales in more than 50 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge videogame titles to consumers. Ubisoft generated revenue of €538 million for the 2004–2005 fiscal year, an increase of 8% over the previous fiscal year at constant exchange rates. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.

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October 27, 2006

Bethesda Softworks Announces Its Return to First-Person Shooters with Rogue Warrior™

October 27, 2006 (Rockville, MD) - Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, today announced its plans to publish Rogue Warrior™, an authentic, tactical first-person shooter based on the best-selling book series by Richard (Dick) Marcinko, former U.S. Navy SEAL and founder of both SEAL Team Six and Red Cell. Rogue Warrior is being developed for the Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Windows by Zombie Studios in conjunction with Bethesda Softworks. Rogue Warrior is scheduled for a fall 2007 release.

“We are very excited to be working on Rogue Warrior, which allows us the chance to bring Bethesda’s creative vision and development expertise to this brand,” said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks. “This game marks our return to shooters since our highly successful Terminator series, and we hope to offer fans a true next-generation gameplay experience.”

Rogue Warrior is a story-driven shooter that provides team-based tactical combat set in massive, contiguous levels using Unreal 3 streaming technology. Central to the game’s single and multiplayer experience is the idea of a freeform battlefield, where players are given the freedom to choose how to complete a given objective, allowing for creativity and surprises, rather than heavily scripted events and tightly contained spaces traditionally used in this genre.

An advanced AI system allows NPCs to react and fight realistically, see and hear others, and respond as a team. Rogue Warrior offers a new take on the multiplayer experience, with 10 gameplay modes and a system whereby maps are created using tiles that are selected by each team. Rogue Warrior’s tiling system allows users to experience over 200 maps in both day and nighttime settings. In addition, the campaign features solo and on-the-fly cooperative play for up to four players, where anyone can join or leave an existing campaign game at any time without having to go to menus or save progress.

“Rogue Warrior is the game we’ve been waiting to make for years,” said Mark Long, lead producer at Zombie Studios. “We’re using terrific technology in a way that’s different from other games - we have a unique HUD and control system for your teammates, on-the-fly co-op play, and we’ve really focused our efforts on making multiplayer more fun and challenging by giving you lots of modes and hundreds of maps you can see and play. We’re thrilled to be working with Bethesda on this new initiative using a brand we know and love.”

In Rogue Warrior, you play Dick Marcinko, leader of an elite SEAL unit trapped behind enemy lines in North Korea on a covert mission to assess the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. When war breaks out between North and South Korea, you must try to lead your team back into South Korea while greatly outnumbered and with no support and limited resupply. Your journey will take you through a variety of never-before-seen environments inside of North Korea, including submarine pens, shipbreaker yards, prison camps, and more.

A 30-year veteran with the U.S. Navy, Dick Marcinko served in both the Underwater Demolitions Team and Navy SEAL programs, was a military attache in Cambodia, and conceived, founded, and commanded SEAL Team Six, the U.S. Navy’s first counterterrorism unit. He later created and ran Red Cell, a unit created to test the Navy's anti-terrorist capabilities for highly-secured bases, nuclear submarines, ships, and other purported “secure areas”, including Air Force One. Dick’s experiences as a Navy SEAL were captured in his New York Times best-selling autobiography, Rogue Warrior, and his Rogue Warrior fiction series.

“I think this game has a lot going for it and I’m very excited to be a part of it,” said Marcinko. “You have input from my SEALs and me on everything from animations to equipment to artificial intelligence to tactics to ensure accuracy of the gameplay, plus a story that has lots of relevance with the current events in North Korea, and the expertise in making great games that comes from Bethesda and Zombie…I think it’s going to take names like only a SEAL can.”

Continue reading "Bethesda Softworks Announces Its Return to First-Person Shooters with Rogue Warrior™" »

October 10, 2006

EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 for PlayStation 3 - December 12 Ship Date

The best-selling next-generation sports game on Xbox 360 gets a face lift this holiday season!

EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 for the PlayStation 3 will be shipping on December 12 to retail stores nationwide. Featuring exclusive content including a comprehensive ESPN Integration package, film-quality graphics and a new first person mode called Get in the Ring, the PlayStation 3 version continues to innovate on the hit franchise.

Get in the Ring mode allows gamers to experience the fight through the eyes of the boxer from the moment they step into the ring until someone is KO’d. The unique first person view can be played on or offline, throughout the career mode or in single bouts. For the first time ever, gamers will truly experience the sensation of the sport with different visual and audio effects occurring throughout the fight such as ear ringing, restricted vision, flashes of bright light, color shifts and blur effects that simulate the sense and feeling of getting punched.

Key Features

Get in the Ring—Rely on your instincts in this PLAYSTATION®3-exclusive game mode that allows you to fight through the eyes of your boxer from the moment he enters the ring.

ESPN Integration—ESPN raises the bar with this all-new level of integration only available on the PlayStation 3. Get the latest scores and news with streaming radio, ESPN motion, live ticker updates, and ESPNEWS.

Split-Screen Multiplayer Action—Take advantage of HDTV technology and 16:9 widescreen ratio and go head to head against your friends in PLAYSTATION®3-exclusive split-screen battles.

Film-Quality Graphics—Facial expressions and body language convey your opponent’s health and energy, and let you know when he’s ready to hit the canvas.

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September 28, 2006

Bethesda Softworks Announces Oblivion™ for PLAYSTATION®3 and PSP®System

September 28, 2006 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks® announced today that its blockbuster role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls® IV: Oblivion™ will be a launch title for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system this November in North America, and next March in Europe when the new console is expected to be released there. In addition, The Elder Scrolls® Travels: Oblivion™ will be released on the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system in the Spring 2007 in North America and Europe.

Both the PLAYSTATION 3 and PSP system titles will be published exclusively in North America by Bethesda Softworks, while in Europe, Ubisoft will serve as co-publisher. Complete details on both games are available in Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine’s (OPM) exclusive cover story (November issue), which hits newsstands Oct. 10. In its article OPM previews the gameplay, graphics, and new content in Oblivion and concludes: “If any game is worth the price of the PS3, Oblivion is it."

Released in March for Xbox 360™™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows, Oblivion has already earned high praises and awards from publications around the world. Official Xbox Magazine (US) gave Oblivion a 9.5 out of 10 and an Editor’s Choice award, calling Oblivion “An Absolute Masterpiece.” G4 TV named it the Best Game of 2006, and PC Gamer (UK) ranked Oblivion #1 on its list of the Top 100 PC games of all time.

Metracritic.com lists Oblivion as the highest rated game of all time on Xbox 360. Oblivion has also been nominated for numerous awards in upcoming events, including the Golden Joystick Awards (five nominations) and The British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards (five nominations).

“We’re very excited to be able to bring a game like Oblivion out for launch for the PLAYSTATION 3,” said Bethesda Softworks president, Vlatko Andonov. “Oblivion’s countless awards and commercial success to date make it clear that PLAYSTATION 3 owners are in for a real treat this November.”

Oblivion features a powerful combination of free-form gameplay, unprecedented graphics, cutting edge AI, character voices by acting legends Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Terrance Stamp, and Lynda Carter, and an award-winning soundtrack. Gamers can choose to unravel Oblivion’s epic narrative at their own pace or explore the vast world in search of their own unique challenges.

After the mysterious and untimely death of the Emperor, the throne of Tamriel lies empty. With the Empire ready to crumble, the gates of Oblivion open and demons march upon the land - laying waste to everything in their path. To turn the tide of darkness, you must find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all of Tamriel.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is rated “M” for Mature by the ESRB and will be in stores throughout North America on November 17. For more information on The Elder Scrolls and Oblivion, visit the official web site at www.elderscrolls.com.

Continue reading "Bethesda Softworks Announces Oblivion™ for PLAYSTATION®3 and PSP®System" »

September 26, 2006

2K Sports Announces NBA 2K7 Now Shipping

NEW YORK, NY – September 26, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), proudly announced today that NBA 2K7 for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system is now shipping to stores across North America. The top-rated NBA simulation title* continues to deliver stunning visual quality, unparalleled gameplay, and unique innovations that are a trademark of 2K Sports titles.

“Without a doubt, this is definitely our finest basketball effort to date and possibly the finest sports title we’ve made,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “NBA 2K7 delivers the next generation details that sports gamers have wanted. The development team has worked extremely hard to not only set a new standard in visual quality, but also develop new gameplay features that we believe will set a new standard for the next generation of sports games.”

NBA 2K7 showcases the dynamic movements of every single NBA player with the introduction of Signature Style, featuring over 300 unique animations in jumpshots, dunks, dribbles and passes. Athletes in NBA 2K7 look and move exactly like their real-life counterparts, and display the same tendencies and behaviors, bringing intelligence and realism to the next level. Improved arena atmosphere includes enhanced lighting effects and dynamic 3D crowd behaviors, and over 30 new gameplay cameras.

NBA 2K7 brings the most comprehensive game modes for any sports game including 24/7: NEXT, an entertaining Streetball story mode with unique basketball challenges; a completely redesigned Create Player system; and the Association, the most complete franchise mode that includes three-team trades, progressive fatigue and more.

2K Sports continues to lead the online charge with the most comprehensive online features for NBA 2K7, including improved online stat tracking, online tournament features, and the addition of online fantasy leagues.

NBA 2K7 is available for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for $59.99, and for the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system for $29.99. NBA 2K7 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system will also be coming this holiday season.

For more information click on www.2ksports.com

*According to GameRankings.com average scores of 2003-2006 basketball video games.

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September 22, 2006

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES NBA 2K7 FOR XBOX 360, XBOX and PLAYSTATION®2 HAS GONE GOLD!

#1 Rated Basketball Simulation Game Series To Retail At $29.99 on Xbox® video game and entertainment system and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and $59.99 for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system

NBA 2K7, the latest in the top-rated* NBA simulation video game series, has gone gold and is set to hit retail shelves on September 26th. NBA 2K7 introduces new standard setting features like Signature Style, improved Shot Stick™ control, enhanced arena atmosphere, online fantasy leagues, and much more.

“I’m very excited and proud of our finest basketball video game title to date,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “NBA 2K7 truly delivers the next generation features in both graphics and gameplay that sports gamers have been wanting for years. I’m really pleased with the hard work and creative thinking our development team has put into this title.”

NBA 2K7 showcases the movement of every single NBA player with the introduction of Signature Style that features over 300 unique animations in jumpshots, dunks, dribbles, and passes. Athletes not only look and move exactly like their real-life counterparts, but will display the same tendencies and behaviors during a game. Improved arena atmosphere includes enhanced lighting and full 3D crowds with their own behavior, and over 30 new gameplay cameras bring the game to life like never before.

NBA 2K7 delivers a wealth of comprehensive gameplay modes including 24/7: NEXT, a new entertaining Streetball story mode with new basketball challenges, a brand new Create Player system, and the Association, the most complete franchise mode that includes three-team trades, progressive fatigue and more.

The integration of music in NBA 2K7 is without peer as the soundtrack, produced by highly acclaimed music producer Dan The Automator, features artists like Mos Def, Fabolous, Hieroglyphics, Tribe Called Quest and many more.

With seamless online play and the most comprehensive online feature set anywhere including complete online stat tracking, online tournaments, and new online fantasy drafted leagues, 2K Sports continues to lead the online gaming revolution.

Continue reading "2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES NBA 2K7 FOR XBOX 360, XBOX and PLAYSTATION®2 HAS GONE GOLD!" »

PLAYSTATION®3 News From Tokyo Game Show

A few hours ago at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi delivered a visionary keynote to a standing-room only crowd. Below is a summary of his remarks for those who could not attend. Additionally, please find the attached news release issued by Sony following the keynote speech.

* The launch of the PLAYSTATION®3 signals an evolution in gaming and entertainment with a particular emphasis on the importance of online networking as the key driver for growth in the industry. The gaming and entertainment business is no longer limited to a static, disc-based world. It is a living, breathing community enabled by the power of the PS3 to connect seamlessly to the vast world of information, content and interpersonal interactivity only available online.

* As the power of networking is realized through systems such as PS3, user interaction, including user-created and -influenced content will be increasingly relevant in the development of entertainment across the industry. The PS3 has the capability to allow creators of entertainment content direct access to their end consumer, which is something that was not possible in the past. It is easy to imagine the potential this represents for the interactive entertainment industry.

* The video game industry needs to think in a bigger way, utilizing technological innovation to its fullest in the development of entertainment content. The Internet and global networking provide an incredibly rich environment from which to create new experiences for the consumer. The giant steps forward we are seeing enabled by the PS3 are just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible when you match the most advanced technologies with full network capability.

* The computing power of the PS3 is unmatched and has garnered the interest of industries outside the gaming and entertainment worlds. Even today, IBM researchers are working on ways to harness the power of the PS3 networks and access computing capacity through 16,000 PS3 cell processors to address such medical problems as Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease. Using the processing power of networked PS3 units around the world to create one massive computer to process complex calculations presents enormous opportunities in a variety of applications.

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August 30, 2006

ACTIVISION'S MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE SCORES AWARD-WINNING COMPOSERS

Santa Monica, CA – August 29, 2006 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that award-winning composers Chance Thomas (Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Lord of the Rings series), Cris Velasco (God of War) and Mark Griskey (Best of LucasArts Original Soundtrack) have scored the upcoming, critically-acclaimed Marvel™: Ultimate Alliance video game. The trio has produced over 50 minutes of original music for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, including arrangements for multiple game levels, the in-game cinematics and the Super Hero™ and boss battle themes.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is Raven Software’s highly anticipated action/RPG that allows players to create their Marvel dream team from the largest roster of Super Heroes ever in an epic quest that will determine the fate of Earth and the Marvel Universe. With over 140 popular Marvel characters and a playable cast of more than 20 Super Heroes, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Blade and Captain America, gamers will embark on a dangerous journey across exotic terrain and well-known comic book locations like Atlantis, the Shield Heli-Carrier and the Skrull home world in an attempt to defy Dr. Doom and the world’s most notorious Super Villains.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance will be the first Super Hero game available this fall for all next-gen gaming systems. Additionally, the game will be available for current-gen consoles, handheld and PC platforms, and carries a “T” (Teen – Mild Language, Violence) rating by the ESRB.

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EA’S BURNOUT 5 CRASHES ONTO PLAYSTATION 3 AND XBOX 360

Guildford, UK – August 29, 2006 – Buckle up and prepare to unleash automotive anarchy in the ultimate burner’s paradise. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Burnout™ 5 is in development for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft®.

Burnout 5 gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate seamless racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first.

“Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360,” said Alex Ward, director of game design at Criterion Games. “To create truly next-generation gameplay, we needed to create a truly next-generation game, from top to bottom.”

Burnout 5 also delivers the next level of speed and destruction, with brand new next-generation technology allowing gamers to literally rip their cars in half, in the most explosive pile-ups in the series’ history.

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August 23, 2006

EA AND DIGITAL ILLUSIONS UNVEIL BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY FOR NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLES

EA AND DIGITAL ILLUSIONS UNVEIL BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY FOR NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLES

Redwood City, Calif. – August 21, 2006 – Throw out the rules of engagement, this is all-out war! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Battlefield: Bad Company™ is currently in development for the Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft® and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

Built from the ground-up for next-generation consoles using Digital Illusions’ bleeding-edge Frostbite™ game engine, Battlefield: Bad Company drops gamers behind enemy lines with a squad of renegade soldiers who risk it all on a personal quest for gold and revenge. Featuring a deep, cinematic single-player experience loaded with adventure and dark humor, the game delivers the series’ trademark sandbox gameplay in a universe where nearly everything is destructible.

“The heart of DICE’s multiplayer games is the frenetic, unpredictable nature of the sandbox experience, where anything could happen at any moment, and that’s what we’re bringing to the core of Battlefield: Bad Company’s single-player campaign, said Karl Magnus Troedsson, senior producer at DICE. “In a world that’s 90 percent destructible, the gameplay possibilities are infinite – the battlefield is always changing, forcing players, teammates, and enemies to react accordingly. Gamers will have total freedom to adapt to and tackle challenges in creative Battlefield-style ways.”

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August 22, 2006

MERRY MADDENOLIDAY! EA’s MADDEN NFL 07 HITS STORE SHELVES TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 22, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced that Madden NFL 07, the newest iteration of the EA SPORTS™ best-selling football franchise with the exclusive videogame license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC, is in stores everywhere today. Madden NFL 07 continues to lead with innovation and gameplay by reinventing the running game with the all-new Lead Blocker Control and the new highlight stick so you can run like the real players run. NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode comes to Madden NFL 07 this year, where you can live the life of an NFL Superstar.

Madden NFL 06¸ since its launch, has sold more than 6.5 million copies*, and was the #1 selling videogame of 2005 in North America. Madden NFL Football has become a cultural phenomenon, with more than 51 million copies sold (LTD), and the launch day becoming a holiday for many avid fans.

“Madden NFL Football has become a cultural phenomenon and, with Maddenoliday, we are honoring all the Madden gamers across the country who line up at midnight and then take off the day to play Madden NFL 07,” said Todd Sitrin, VP of marketing for EA Tiburon and EA SPORTS brand. “We continue to bring innovative changes to the game every year, and now with the improvements in the running game, Madden NFL 07 is even more authentic. You will know how it feels to be actually on the field playing with the pros.”

You now control the running game like never before with Lead Blocker Control in Madden NFL 07. For the first time ever, step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower, or slash away from would-be tacklers as you fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks, and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs.

NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode makes its debut in Madden NFL 07 on the Xbox 360 and is even deeper for the current generation systems. You can create and customize your own player and guide him one Sunday at a time from that position on the field for an all new way of experiencing the game. Madden NFL 07 Franchise Mode is deeper than ever before. On current generation platforms, now scout collegiate prospects with the all-new NFL Draft Scouting System and the College All-Star Game, or watch players around the NFL impact their teams with the new Franchise Player Roles feature. On Xbox 360, participate in an interactive player rehab through mini games.

For the Xbox 360 there is an all-new Mini-Camp mode where you can build up your players attributes by running him through skill-based, combine-type mini-games. In the off-season use Mini-Camp to condition players or rehab injuries to get back on the field faster. Track your career accomplishments in Franchise Mode to earn Madden Gamer Points, then risk your points against the computer or live opponents in the same room.

In its second installment on the PlayStation® Portable system, Madden NFL 07 brings you a new exclusive mini-games -- return kicks, avoid tackles, and players can aim for the high score in “End 2 End.” And for the first time you can transfer an entire season in Franchise mode from your PlayStation®2 to your PSP system.

September 1 in Denver, CO is the kick off to the highly-anticipated 5th annual EA SPORTS™ Madden Challenge, played exclusively this year on the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, with a $100,000 grand prize check for the Finals winner. Void where prohibited. Eligibility Restrictions Apply. Tournament runs on published dates in each city. For additional details and Tournament Official Rules see www.maddenchallenge.com.

Entering its 17th year and with more than 51 million copies sold life to date, Madden NFL Football continues to stand out as the most popular football videogame franchise of all time with a combination of innovative new features and the most authentic football gameplay. Developed in Orlando, FL by EA Tiburon Madden NFL 07 will be available on August 22 on Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™, PC (as well as www.downloader.ea.com), PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system and Game Boy® Advance. Madden NFL 07 is rated “E” (Everyone) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99 for the Xbox 360, $49.99 for the PlayStation 2 console and Xbox, $39.99 for Nintendo GameCube, PSP, and PC, $29.99 for Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. In Europe, Madden NFL 07 launches on PS2, Xbox, NDS, PC, PC Downloader August 25 and on Xbox 360 and PSP September 8. For more information check out www.madden07.com.

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August 18, 2006

2K Sports Introduces Cinemotion™ to NHL 2K7

NEW YORK, NY – August 17, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today a new and exciting direction in experiencing the intense action and thrilling drama of an NHL video game with NHL® 2K7’s newest feature, Cinemotion™. Combining new dynamic gameplay camera angle technology, cutscenes, player chatter and unique audio options, Cinemotion truly immerses gamers into the drama of hockey like never before.

“With all of our 2K Sports products, we’re always looking for new ways to enhance and revolutionize the sports video game experience,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “With Cinemotion, we have been able to really take this experience to the next level. Cinemotion creates a completely customizable atmosphere for gamers, introducing several different ways of playing the game in terms of gameplay cameras and music, in addition to other dramatic elements.”

Fans will notice the impact of Cinemotion as soon as the puck drops, as NHL 2K7 features a new dynamic parametric camera angle during gameplay that maximizes the gamer’s vision down the ice. This new camera angle specifically takes advantage of widescreen viewing, giving players the optimal perspective on all that’s happening on the ice. The camera smartly zooms in when there’s intense action along the boards without distracting the gamer. Additionally, gamers will truly appreciate the atmosphere and the character of each NHL arena when using this new Cinemotion camera angle.

The drama of an NHL game is perfectly delivered with cutscenes and player chatter in NHL 2K7. Cinemotion intelligently activates cutscene sequences that are shot from brand new camera angles and perspectives, to include penalty shots, face-offs and scoring. Player chatter adds a new layer of gameplay audio, as players on the ice will shout orders, give encouragement to teammates and react to specific game situations, elevating the drama and excitement.

To fully engross gamers in an all-new NHL experience, sound plays a big part in Cinemotion presentation and users can select between two different sound settings in NHL 2K7. Harry Neale and Bob Cole are back once again to deliver their unique insight and entertaining wit to every game when users select Cinemotion- Commentary. For gamers who want something much different, Cinemotion-Music replaces the commentary with an orchestrated score that dynamically changes with the action throughout every game. With Cinemotion-Music, the score will change based upon the action on the ice to reflect the overall mood. All Cinemotion music options are completely customizable so each user can have their own unique NHL 2K7 experience.

NHL 2K7, the top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, is coming in September 2006 to the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system; and will be available in holiday 2006 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system**.

For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

*According to GameRankings.com average scores of 2003-2006 hockey video games.

** This title has not yet been concept approved for the PlayStation®3 system by Sony Computer Entertainment America.


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August 11, 2006

2K SPORTS REUNITES A TRIBE CALLED QUEST FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL 2K SPORTS BOUNCE TOUR

New York, NY – August 10, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), today announced the reuniting of legendary hip hop act, A Tribe Called Quest, to headline the first leg of the 2nd Annual 2K Sports Bounce Tour in 15 cities. This marks A Tribe Called Quest’s first tour in over half a decade. In addition to headlining the tour, an exclusive track from the group will appear on the upcoming ‘Dan The Automator Presents 2K7’ soundtrack with Phife Dawg appearing as a playable character. Joining A Tribe Called Quest on this historic national tour is Rhymefest.

Comprised of Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, A Tribe Called Quest is known as one of the most intelligent and artistic rap groups of the ‘90s with four solid albums and a string of hip-hop classics prior to their 1998 break-up. This heavily anticipated reunion marks one of the top hip-hop happenings of the year.

“I’m excited for me and my group to be a part of the 2K Sports Bounce Tour,” said Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. “It’s a win-win situation for Tribe because we get to be a part of such a dope game, and we get to reach out and touch our fans in these 15 cities. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity. Also, I’m excited because everyone knows I am a sports nut, so being down with the game and also being a character in the game is crazy to me.”

The 2nd Annual 2K Bounce Tour is the latest addition to 2K Sports’ series of annual live events that bridge hip-hop, sports and video game culture by featuring renowned music artists, sports gaming kiosks, projection vignettes and celebrity and professional athlete appearances. The tour will take place in more than a dozen top markets throughout the month of September, with details posted at http://2ksports.com/go/bounce/.

Tour Dates (first leg):

Sept 8 - Las Vegas NV

Sept 9 - Berkeley CA

Sept 10 - Los Angeles CA

Sept 13 - Denver CO

Sept 15 - Chicago IL

Sept 16 - Milwaukee WI

Sept 17 - Toronto ON

Sept 20 - Baltimore MD

Sept 22 - Washington DC

Sept 23 - Atlanta GA

Sept 24 - Lake Buena Vista FL

Sept 28 - Atlantic City NJ

Sept 29 - Worcester MA

Oct 1 - Sayreville NJ

Oct 5 – TBA, NY

“After The Roots headlined last year’s Bounce Tour, we knew we had to raise the bar even further,” said Tim Rosa, director of brand and lifestyle marketing for 2K Sports. “We jumped on the opportunity to reunite the legendary A Tribe Called Quest, whose positive vibe and innovative style meshed perfectly with the 2K Sports brand.”


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August 3, 2006

2K Sports Announces Diverse Music Lineup from Sub Pop Records for NHL 2K7 Video Game

NEW YORK, NY – August 2, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today that independent rock music pioneer Sub Pop Records, among other record labels, will provide music tracks from its diverse catalog for NHL 2K7.

Featuring an eclectic mix of uniquely spirited music inspired by the individuality of hockey, NHL 2K7’s soundtrack features 18 songs, including tracks from influential Sub Pop artists such as Postal Service, Hot Hot Heat, Sleater-Kinney and Mudhoney.

NHL 2K7 will feature the following Sub Pop Records’ tracks:

• Arlo- Runaround

• Band of Horses- Wicked Gil

• Hot Hot Heat- Talk to me, Dance with Me

• Kinski- Hot Stenographer

• Love as Laughter- Temptation Island

• Mudhoney- Empty Shells

• Nebula- Giant

• The Postal Service- Brand New Colony

• Seaweed- Losing Skin

• Sleater-Kinney- Rollercoaster

• The Constantines- Working Full-time

• The Thermals- I Hold the Sound

“Sub Pop is the leader in bringing the underground sound to the mainstream without compromising their integrity,” said Tim Rosa, director of brand and lifestyle marketing for 2K Sports. “Because we share this mindset when developing our games, NHL 2K7 is the perfect vehicle for Sub Pop to stay true to its vision.”

"While Sub Pop and hockey are rarely mentioned in the same breath, the vibe of our music really suits the action of NHL 2K7," said Steve Manning, Publicity/Marketing Director, Sub Pop Records. "Because 2K Sports values authenticity in its games with the same passion we treasure authenticity in our artists, we knew this partnership would resonate with fans of both the sport and our music."

The top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, NHL 2K7 introduces a groundbreaking presentation system that will engross gamers with a completely different way of playing a hockey video game than ever experienced before—a new look, new sound, and new feel bring raw emotion and exciting drama. New additions to ProControl™ empower players to turn up the defensive pressure on specific opposing players. Combined with high-quality visual details and the most comprehensive franchise options available, including the new rivalry mode, and NHL MVP Joe Thornton on the cover, NHL 2K7 elevates the realism of the sport, delivering the best hockey game on any system.

NHL 2K7 is coming in September 2006 to the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system; and will be available in holiday 2006 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

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EA ANNOUNCES 55DSL COLLABORATION WITH NEED FOR SPEED CARBON

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that fashion street wear brand 55DSL will be coming to Need for Speed™ Carbon. Exclusively designed items from 55DSL, plus a selection of garments from their ‘Zurka and the 55 Vagabonds’ winter collection, will feature prominently on key in-game characters in the game,developed by EA Black Box in Vancouver, British Columbia. Need for Speed ™ Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads..

55DSL items are specifically tailored to the game, bringing with them the unique style and tone of the brand. Exclusively designed clothing for the game, will be available only through local EA events around the world and pre-order campaigns.

Andrea Rosso, the Creative Director of 55DLS is enthusiastic, “When the opportunity to work with EA, and in particular Need for Speed™ Carbon, came along, it seemed like a natural progression for us. I’m a gamer and I’m going to play this game for sure so to see characters wearing our exclusively designed t-shirts and other items, is really amazing for me.”

“This partnership adds another layer of authenticity to our role in street culture”, says Larry LaPierre, Executive Producer. “Having 55DSL integrated so tightly within Need for Speed™ Carbon adds an increased sense of realism to the game and gives fans the opportunity to wear exclusively designed items that brings them closer to the action.”

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July 28, 2006

2K Sports NHL2K7 and NBA 2K7 Previews

The good news is that they're going to try to have both NHL 2K7 and NBA 2K7 available for PS3 launch. It's not an official declaration that they will have the games, just an announcement of an intention.

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NHL 2K7 This is, of course, the hockey game. They've developed a new concept in hockey game play called "cinemotion", where you can either have no commentary and a dynamically orchestrated soundrack synched to the action, or have commentary. There are a lot of new cut scenes and they've added a lot of player voices in something like 16 different languages. There's a new skating engine and new animations. I am a huge hockey fan and I thought that the game looked extraordinarily realistic. There's a new "parametric" camera angle that is above the rink sort of like the ESPN cameras; it moves in and out, up and down, and you can actually see a line change. The game plays much more fluidly when you can see the whole ice surface, it's really easy to step up in the hole and make a play. The right bumper is a drop pass. The left bumper can be used to send a teammate to shadow or take out a player. In franchise mode trading logic has been tuned and the computer does a better job of balancing team chemistry. There's a rivalry system that builds rivalries over time based on year to year play. There's also something called "opprotunity knocks" where as GM you get a random phone call that you can accept or decline and it can be a good thing or a bad thing for your team. Online leagues are now based on a real point system. Overall, I think the game looked great on the Xbox 360 and I can't wait to play it.

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Marty's Better!

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July 21, 2006

2K Sports Announces Unique New Features for NHL 2K7

NEW YORK, NY - July 18, 2006 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today new standard-setting features for NHL 2K7. The top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, NHL 2K7 introduces a completely new skating engine to give users the true on-ice movement of an NHL game. Additionally, Pro Control(tm) receives new enhancements to both offensive and defensive controls, giving hockey fans thrilling new ways to attack and defend on the ice. These new features elevate the realism of the sport, delivering the best hockey experience on any system.

"Year after year, we've been delivering new and innovative ways to play the exciting game of hockey," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "The new skating engine in NHL 2K7 far surpasses anything we've ever produced and the advancements made in Pro Control(tm) add the excitement and control our fans have been craving."

Hundreds of new skating animations have been captured to bring an unprecedented level of high quality to all the skating movements in NHL 2K7. Hockey players in NHL 2K7 will glide, turn, stop, and adjust their movement on the ice with astounding realism. Not only will skating look much more natural, players will also experience the true momentum of skating whenever players dig into the ice to accelerate or carve the ice to make sudden stops. The new skating engine adds both remarkable visual excitement and an entertaining gameplay challenge to all hockey fans. In addition to the numerous new skating animations, several new checking, passing, and shooting animations have been added, making all the action in NHL 2K7 flow with amazing detail.

New gameplay enhancements have been added to Pro Control(tm), giving users offensive and defensive tools to utilize on the ice. While on offense, players now have the ability to execute drop passes, allowing users to setup new screen plays and create new scoring opportunities to catch the goalie off-guard. Pressure Control(tm) brings a tactical element to defensive hockey as players now can instruct teammates to defend opposing players while on the ice. Varying degrees of pressure can be selected - whether it's telling your teammate to shadow a selected opponent or deliver a big check - allowing players new defensive options on the fly. Pro Control(tm) in NHL 2K7 will deliver the offensive and defensive options hockey fans have been asking for,truly delivering the next generation of hockey.

NHL 2K7 --featuring 2006 Hart Memorial Trophy recipient, Joe Thornton on the cover-- will be available for the Xbox 360(tm) and Xbox(r) video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system and the PlayStation(r)3 computer entertainment system. More features will be detailed at a later time. NHL 2K7 for Xbox 360, Xbox and PlayStation(r)2 are slated to release in September 2006, with the PlayStation(r)3 coming this holiday season.

For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

*According to GameRankings.com average scores of 2003-2006 hockey video games.

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Colin McRae Kicks Up DIRT As Genre-Leading Series Goes Next-Gen

New York (July 20, 2006) – DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road is revealed today as the title for the next generation of the genre-leading, 8 million+ selling rally racing series. Codemasters also confirms the game will launch for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC simultaneously in 2007.

DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road is set to be the most diverse and exhilarating off-road racing experience ever with sensational gravel, mud and dirt events the world over. Events will include the series’ intense point-to-point races and take players further off-road than ever before.

Race in challenging heavyweight 850bhp cars, drift on the loose gravel and blaze past high-speed blind corners of Hill Climb events along perilous cliff edges. All 12.4 miles of the world famous Pikes Peak International is included, with over 150 precarious turns to negotiate through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

How about engaging in multiple car races with Dakar-style trucks and super-powered 4x4s on the toughest desert terrain in Rally Raid competitions? Then there are Rally Cross events, switching between dirt and road racing, where the competition is always tight, fast and collisions with your opponents are inevitable.

With more off-road racing styles to be revealed, DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road will also offer a dedicated mode for European, International and Global rally championships featuring official 2WD, 4WD, Classic and RWD rally cars.

DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road will deliver the wheel-screaming exhilaration of off-road racing with the next generation of the series’ sublime car handling and physics system and a devastating new damage engine that ensures players experience every bump in the track, every loose rock, every inch of shifting dirt through the reactive environments.

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July 12, 2006

Midway Games Holiday Preview

I met with Midway today and saw their holiday 2006 lineup.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar - This is a Turbine developed MMO for the PC that will ship "when it's ready." Beta testing begins around the end of August. They believe that they've created a state of the art MMO set in Tolkein's world. It's a large world where players have to act in groups and changes are persistent. Explore the world and fight monsters to unlock accomplishments and special skills. You can customize your character by developing different skills. It's easy to play, the quest list is showing on the right side of the screen all the time with specific steps that you have to take. There are classes and professions. Bree town is a major gathering place that Turbine forsees as a bustling city full of player and nonplayer characters where you can train and participate in secure auctions. There are huge open areas like the Misty Mountains. Even though I was looking at an alpha build I thought it looked good. You can drag and drop to equip items. Quests encourage you to participate in group activities so there are some social aspects to it.
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Mortal Kombat Armageddon In the seventh of the series for PS2 and Xbox, Midway brings back over 60 characters from the earlier versions. A huge feature is Kreate-A-Fighter where character creation is totally tweakable down to (or up to) breast size. If you add it all up there are millions of combos of different features that you can customize. You can also customize fighting style and button combos and write a bio for your character. Then you can take it all online and battle against other people's characters. There's also Kreate-A-Fatality where you enter a series of 3 button presses and can make your fatility as complex as you want. We're talking about ripping out skulls, spines, beating hearts. There's also a hidden mode that they're releasing information about in August. Konquest mode is bigger and better with better graphics and more realistic melee fighting. It's a single player story driven mode with boss battles that are the classic MK style. There are 20 plus backgrounds, some classics revisited now in 3D. This ships in October 2006 for PS2 and Xbox.
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Mortal Kombat Unchained - This ships in October 2006 also and is for PSP. It's got ad hoc WiFi multiplayer combat. There are 30 characters. Honestly, this looked fine but after seeing the Xbox version the PSP didn't look so great.
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July 8, 2006

Mercenaries 2 first newsletter now available

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is not coming out until 2007, but Pandemic Studios is allowing Mercenaries 2 Community Members be a part the development fun through its first ever monthly newsletter. The first one is coming out later today and contains lots of great exclusives, such as the winner of the recent tattoo contest where Pandemic will draw the winning entry onto the final version of Mattias in the actual game!

Other hot items include:

* The second videoblog - Get a behind the scenes look at the people making the game and see the swank LA offices of Pandemic Studios
* New vehicles unveiled in the Designer’s Diary
* Hot topics in the discussion forums – including the infamous and never ending ‘pillow fight ~~ (of doom)’

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June 23, 2006

EA UNCOVERS TOP SECRET IN-GAME MUSIC SOUNDTRACK FOR MADDEN NFL 07

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., – June 23, 2006 – Crank it up, gamers! The football pre-season kicks off with a bang as Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) reveals the 35 songs that will be featured in Madden NFL 07, becoming the de facto soundtrack of the 2007 football season. The bone-crunching action and heart-pounding adrenaline of the grid iron is intensified by the game’s one-of-a-kind mix of rock and hip hop.

“Year after year, the music selected for inclusion in EA’s smash hit football series invariably becomes the soundtrack of the football season, moving beyond the game to turn up in football stadiums and on live TV broadcasts,” said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing at EA. “The Madden NFL Football franchise is recognized across North America as a driving force behind break-out bands… this year EA does it again.”

Players step onto the field in Madden NFL 07 with the thundering roar of the crowd in the background and the air filled with pounding rock anthems and energizing hip hop beats. Dr. Dre’s protégé who first appeared in NBA LIVE 06 and NFL STREET 2, Bishop LaMont now makes an appearance on Madden NFL 07 with a track featuring Chevy Jones, while Lupe Fiasco is on deck with Jonah Matranga. These hot tracks are included alongside new releases from fan favorites AFI, Audioslave, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. Also this year, game fans will be spellbound by new music debuts from Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars, Dave Navarro’s band The Panic Channel, and Rise Against whose sophomore record is anticipated to be one of the biggest rock albums of the year.

Again this year, the hip hop production team Da Riffs remixed nearly a dozen original NFL FILMS music pieces will be showcased throughout the menus and in gameplay.

The complete in-game soundtrack for Madden NFL 07 includes:

ARTIST

SONG

30 Seconds To Mars

Battle Of One

AFI

Summer Shudder

Al Fatz

Came Down

Anti-Flag

This Is The End (For You My Friend)

Atreyu

Ex’s And Oh’s

Audioslave **

Revelations

Bishop LaMont feat. Chevy Jones **

The Best

Cartel

Say Anything (Else)

Cord **

Go Either Way

Damone

Out Here All Night

Dashboard Confessional

Reason To Believe

Dynamite MC **

Bounce

Feezy 350

Playa What

Glasses Malone **

Right Now

Hit The Lights

Until We Get Caught

Keane

Is It Any Wonder?

Less Than Jake

Still Life Franchise

Lupe Fiasco feat. Jonah Matranga

The Instrumental

Matchbook Romance

Monsters

Omnisoul **

Not Giving Up

Rise Against

Drones

Riverboat Gamblers

On Again Off Again

Saves The Day

Head For The Hills

Shorty Da Kid **

Get Loose

Spank Rock

Backyard Betty

Sparta **

Future Needs

Taking Back Sunday

Spin

The Panic Channel**

Teahouse Of The Spirits

The Pink Spiders

Easy Way Out

The Rapture**

WAYUH

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

In Fates Hands

The Sleeping

Don’t Hold Back

Trae

Real Talk

Underoath

Ever So Inviting

Wolfmother

Woman

** Indicates song will debut in Madden NFL 07 before being released to retail


Continue reading "EA UNCOVERS TOP SECRET IN-GAME MUSIC SOUNDTRACK FOR MADDEN NFL 07" »

EA ANNOUNCES NEED FOR SPEED™ CARBON

Redwood City, Calif. – June 22, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that Need for Speed™ Carbon is in development and will hit the streets this November. Developed by EA Black Box in Vancouver, British Columbia, Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to reinvent the franchise and continually uncover new and exciting trends in car culture. Canyon Racing is a real test of a driver’s skill and we think it provides a fantastic game play opportunity to lean into,” said Larry LaPierre, the game's executive producer.

What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world’s most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals’ neighborhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve. Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt™ technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.

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May 30, 2006

2K's BioShock Sweeps E3 Best of Show Awards on Three Leading Gaming Websites

BioShock looked great at E3! I loved it. The water effects were mesmerizing.

New York, NY – May 30, 2006 – 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today that BioShock has received multiple nominations in the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Game Critics Awards and to date has won 17 E3 awards including a sweep of Best of Show awards from IGN, GameSpot, and GameSpy. BioShock is an innovative shooter in development at Irrational Games, a wholly owned 2K studio. BioShock will be available for next generation systems in 2007.

“We are very pleased with the overwhelming enthusiasm BioShock received at E3,” said Christoph Hartmann, President, 2K. “Irrational Games is at the forefront of defining next generation gaming with BioShock. Set in a rich underwater utopia gone horribly wrong, BioShock features emergent gameplay driven by player choice which seamlessly integrates RPG, adventure, and shooter elements.”

Awards:

E3 Game Critics - Winner to be announced

Nominated: Best of Show

Nominated: Best Original Game

Nominated: Best Console Game

Nominated: Best Action/Adventure Game

GameSpot

Winner: Best of Show

Winner: Best Xbox 360™ Game

Winner: Best Action Adventure Game

IGN

Winner: Best Game in Show

Winner: Best RPG (Xbox 360)

Winner: Best RPG (Overall)

IGN (cont.)

Winner: Best Artistic Design (Xbox 360)

Winner: Best Artistic Design (Overall)

Winner: Console Game of Show (Xbox 360)

Winner: Console Game of Show (Overall)

GameSpy

Winner: Best of Show (Overall)

Winner: Game of Show (PC)

GamesRadar

Winner: Best of E3 (Xbox 360)

Team Xbox

Winner: Best Sound

DailyGame

Winner: Best of Show (FPS)

CV Games

Winner: Game of the Show

Winner: Best of Show (Xbox 360)

Playboy.com

Selected as one of the top 5 best of show

Scripps Howard Syndicate

Selected as one of 10 notable games

Continue reading "2K's BioShock Sweeps E3 Best of Show Awards on Three Leading Gaming Websites" »

May 24, 2006

EA and the Jeep® Brand Join Forces in Medal of Honor Airborne

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 23, 2006 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) and the Jeep ® brand announced today that they have signed a deal that will give gamers a chance to experience Jeep vehicles in Medal of Honor Airborne™ as they were found in World War II. The classic Willys-Overland Jeep will appear for extended, action-packed sequences in several missions of Medal of Honor Airborne.

Medal of Honor Airborne is the newest installment from EA’s critically-acclaimed Medal of Honor™ franchise which was credited with pioneering the First-Person Shooter (FPS) WWII genre when it debuted in 1999, and is the best selling WWII FPS franchise of all time. By fully controlling the airdrop from the very first step through landing, Medal of Honor Airborne adds a new dimension of player choice by letting the player decide where every mission begins and how it plays out. Building on the key tenets of the franchise including historical accuracy, research, and authenticity, for the first time Medal of Honor Airborne will include fully player-drivable vehicles, including the Willys Jeep.

Jeep played an integral role in the war effort as an indispensable tool in tracking the enemy, exchanging information and moving troops. Over 350,000 Willys Jeep vehicles were built and used during WWII, and at one point the assembly line was pushing out one vehicle every 90 seconds. When driving a Willys Jeep in Medal of Honor Airborne, the player can choose to use it as a mode of transportation, or as a mobile attack platform taking full advantage of a variety of mounted weapons. Authentic to their use in WWII, the Willys Jeep will be able to access more areas than the other drivable vehicles featured in Medal of Honor Airborne, because of Jeep vehicle’s superior four-wheel drive off-road capabilities.

"Video games are quickly becoming the medium of choice for a new generation of consumers and Chrysler Group has been at the forefront of this exciting revolution," said Jay Kuhnie, Director - Jeep Communications, Chrysler Group. "By teaming with Electronic Arts and Medal of Honor Airborne, Jeep is celebrating its history while helping to take this medium to its next level."

“The Medal of Honor Airborne experience begins with unprecedented freedom of approach from the air. With the addition of the Willys Jeep, that freedom continues on the ground, on road and off, and in combat scenarios of all types." explained Patrick Gilmore, VP and Executive Producer at EALA. “This is the first time in any Medal of Honor game that a player will have the ability to drive a Willys Jeep, and we’re very excited to see this new addition increase the fun and intensity of the gameplay.”


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May 18, 2006

E3 Coverage - SEGA

I had a good time over at SEGA with Jenny. Overall, they've got an impressive bunch of games.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz - This is a Wii launch title and I'm looking forward to it. Playing is a good demonstration of how the Wii controller can be used. Imagine that you are holding the puzzle tray in your hand. Tilt the controller the way that you would tilt the puzzle tray to move the monkey the way you want. It makes the game very cool. There are 50+ mini games and 50+ puzzle trays. Some of the mini games have creative ways of using the controller. For example, in the hammer throw you twirl the controller and release the button to throw the hammer.
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Sonic Wild Fire (working title) - This is another Wii launch title. Sonic falls asleep reading the Arabian Nights and journeys into that world. It was fun to control him running through the game using the controller, tilting it to turn, flicking it up to jump. I got pulled out in the middle of this demo so I don't have much more. I also don't have a screen shot for this one.

Midieval II Total War - This is a PC only title due to ship in November 2006. It's being developed by a 40 person Australian team. There are 21 factions, 17 of which are playable. They doubled the resolution at which the graphics engine runs. They replaced the battle engine. Troops are now individuals that move and think independently within the context of their orders. You can upgrade the troops and see the difference in how they battle. There's a vegetation system that makes for great looking trees and bushes. The environment has strategic value so you can use it to win battles by trapping the enemy. The battle was something to see. Troops look around for their next opponent, corpses stack up in pools of blood. You can fight in the Crusades where there's a whole aspect to the game of managing the relationship with the Pope.
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May 14, 2006

E3 Coverage - 2K Games

NBA 2K7 - 2K did more motion caption on more players so there are more players in the game with their signature moves. For example, Steve Nash pauses every few minutes while dribbling to lick his fingers. Shot stick is more precise so you have more control over your dunks and layups. Players sweat, the clothes ripple. There's online play on all platforms. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships at the beginning of basketball season.

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NHL 2K7 - 2K focused on making gameplay a more cinematic experience. Their goal was to emulate the movie Miracle. As such, players are more graceful and gameplay is more fluid. You can give defensive orders instead of just watching them and hoping they do the right thing. They've got NHL and NHLPA licenses. They promised me that the crap in the current version has been cleaned up, that the inicidence of garbage goals scored from the back of the net is down and that the stats and announcing are accurate. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships in Fall 2006.

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College Hoops 2K7 - This is a basketball game where the more important aspect is coaching. You have to take into account team chemistry, not just grab the ball and drive the lane. The stadiums are realistic. There's an in-depth legacy mode and online play. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships in Fall 2006.

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May 12, 2006

E3 Coverage - Capcom

On Wednesday I got to meet with my good friend Alicia Kim and see Capcom's line of upcoming games. Alicia's really the one who launched my career as a game reviewer about 5 years ago when she hooked me up with a Dreamcast and a whole lot of SEGA games.

Lost Planet - You're on a very cold planet. In fact, the whole game is about how cold it is and how much thermal energy you can gain and store. You have to maintain your thermal health in this futuristic scifi 3rd person action adventure. This comes out on Xbox 360 in Q1 2007.

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Dead Rising - This game comes out soon, in August 2006. You're a photo journalist in a mall that's been overridden with zombies. You can use anything as a weapon, and I did. I was beating up zombies with a huge teddy bear. It was hysterical.

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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins - This game comes out for PSP in September 2006. It's a sequel but everything in it is completely new. It's a 2D side scroller. The great thing is that when you die you come back in at the same spot where you died. This prevents you from having to redo the entire level over and over again until you get it right.

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Capcom Puzzle World - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. It's all previously seen content but new to the PSP. It includes Super Puzzle Fighter, Blank Blank and three versions of Buster Brothers

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Power Stone Collection - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. Again, no new content, just Power Stone 1 and Power Stone 2 ported to PSP. It's a multiplayer fighter with wacky weapons. You collect power stones to unlock abilities and weapons. You can take your own screenshots, so if you beat the crap out of your friend really bad you can take a screen shot, save it to the memory stick, copy it to the PC, and e-mail it to all of your other friends.

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Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. It is 19 Capcom arcade games such as Street Fighter 2.

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Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 - This is for PS2 and Xbox and ships in October 2006 with 18+ classic arcade games.

God Hand - This is for PS2 and ships in October 2006. Developed by Clover Studios, this can best be described as a samurai game set in a future western style world with funky surf music. It has over the top action and lots of fighting.

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May 11, 2006

Pandemics Studios Sets E3 on Fire with “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Los Angeles, Calif., May 10, 2006 – Burn, baby burn! Pandemic Studios unveils a first look at the sequel to the best-selling original IP of 2005, “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames™” (www.mercs2.com) today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Built for the PlayStation 3 entertainment system, “Mercenaries 2” takes all the next generation hardware has to offer and turns it into an explosive action game set in a massive, highly reactive, open world.

“The combination of next generation hardware and this open-world setting was an invitation to set the world on fire and that’s exactly what we’re letting gamers do,” said Josh Resnick, president, Pandemic Studios. “The ‘play with fire’ feature means fire is no longer just an effect, but a whole new method of destruction - one of the mercenaries’ favorite new toys.”

The dynamic fire technology is ground-breaking next generation gaming at its best.

“Shoot holes in the sides of fuel trucks and watch the oil spill under the feet of unsuspecting enemies and light it on fire with a match,” continued Resnick. “It’s only one of the infinite possibilities in a world where you make the rules because you are your own boss.”

“Mercenaries 2” is set in Venezuela, where a power-hungry tyrant has seized the oil supply, sparked an invasion, and turned the vast South American nation into a free-fire zone. The game features the latest and most dangerous in civilian and military technology, everything from shiny new sports cars and guns to giant cargo helicopters, tanks, rocket launchers and more. The new grappling hook can snag flying vehicles allowing you to commandeer them in the sky. More importantly, this is a next generation world where everything you can see can be bought, stolen, driven or, of course, blown up, and every action has its consequences.

Asked what they wanted most in a sequel, Mercenaries fans said, ‘cooperative multiplayer action’. Players can now team up with friends to tackle the main “Mercenaries 2” campaign. Game play is split-screen, with players un-tethered.

Whether played solo or in teams, water is no longer an obstacle. In “Mercenaries 2,” players can travel over or under water. Commandeer watercraft or swim to traverse oceans, rivers and lakes.

Gamers can now go to www.mercs2.com to get all the up-to-date information on the game straight from the development team. Developer diaries and video blogs take you behind the scenes. An online forum lets you share experiences and barter for digital assets.

A Tat for Matt

A contest launched today encourages fans to design a tattoo that returning mercenary, Mattias, will wear in the game. The winner will be named in the game credits, and the winning tattoo will be featured on the website.

Continue reading "Pandemics Studios Sets E3 on Fire with “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" »

May 10, 2006

E3 Coverage - Mercenaries 2 World in Flames

Last night my friend Andrew and I went to Pandemic's party and saw their PS3 title Mercenaries 2 World in Flames. I was very impressed that they had this Humboldt Fog goat cheese that I really like. This is the first actual PS3 game that I've seen played. I've seen plenty of trailers and movies but this ws the first time I saw someone playing it. The game is due out in 2007.

It's pretty similar to the original Mercenaries. There's a support mechanic so you make friends with NPCs and then your friends can be called in with particular things to help you, like they'll bring you a dune buggy or a helicopter. One really cool thing is the ability to light fires and basically play with fire. That's the first time I've seen fire as a toy and not fire as an effect in a game. The dev team is going for an action movie feel so a lot of stuff looks very cinematic with the way the camera shows the action. You can take control of any vehicle anywhere. There's a grappling hook that you can use to board helicopters while they're in the air and then fly them.

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May 9, 2006

KONAMI ANNOUNCES WINNING ELEVEN: PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2007

LOS ANGELES – Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Booth #800 – May 9, 2006 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSPâ„¢ (PlayStation®Portable) system, and PC, as well as the series’ debut on the Xbox 360â„¢ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Nintendo DSâ„¢. Marking the return of the world’s top soccer franchise, the game extends its leadership position with new international teams, new modes of play and astoundingly realistic gameplay.

The world’s best rated soccer video game franchise, Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 expands upon the series’ unmatched realism with faster gameplay, more responsive control and improved artificial intelligence. Players will now make intelligent runs without the ball, identifying opportunities and pointing to where they would like the ball to be delivered. Similarly, the game is now more physical, with defenders jockeying for position and strikers working to turn their opponent as they receive the ball. The game’s shooting system has also been refined, letting players take more snap shots, while volleys have been updated for more player control.

Players will also be able to enjoy the Beautiful Game in more ways than ever before with new play modes. International Challenge mode lets players compete through four continents of opposition to become a champion, while Random Selection Match lets gamers take the field with a group of players selected at random from a predetermined league or geographic area. The popular Master League mode returns with more options, allowing players to take complete control of their favorite team and control its destiny for an extended period of time.

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Rockstar Games announces Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360™ and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system

New York, NY – May 9th, 2006 -- Rockstar Games, the universally-renowned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), is proud to announce Grand Theft Auto IV, the next-generation console debut of the genre-defining Grand Theft Auto franchise. Developed by world-class designers Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto IV will be simultaneously available for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360™ and is currently planned to be in stores in North America on October 16, 2007 and in Europe on October 19, 2007.

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E3 Coverage - Sony Press Conference

The big news from the Sony press conference is that PS3 will hit North America on 11/17/06. However, and this is the part that not only puzzles me but also makes me feel sick, there will be two versions, one for $499 and one for $599. Both have built in hard drives. With the $599 package you get a bigger hard drive. I'd write more about what Sony said, but I'm still in shock. I thought the Xbox 360 was expense. The PS3 is going to be rediculous.

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ACTIVISION ANNOUNCES NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLE LINEUP

Santa Monica, CA. – May 8, 2006 -- Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today confirmed that the company is currently in development on three launch titles for both the PLAYSTATION® 3 computer entertainment system and Wii™ (formerly code named Revolution) platforms. The company has been working closely with both Sony Computer Entertainment America and Nintendo on the development of Call of Duty® 3 and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which will be released on both next-generation systems, as well as on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Activision also is developing two completely different games based on the Tony Hawk franchise – Tony Hawk’s Project 8™ for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam™ for Nintendo’s new Wii system. In fiscal 2007, the company will release 10 games for the three next-generation platforms including the titles listed above as well as X-Men: The Official Game for the Xbox 360.

Additionally, at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo Activision will unveil a sneak peak from its highly anticipated Spider-Man 3™ video game that demonstrates the in-game model of the renowned Super Hero and the power of next-generation technology. Activision’s Windows PC lineup is led by id Software’s Enemy Territory™: QUAKE Wars, the highly-anticipated online team-based first-person action game.

These announcements underscore Activision’s commitment to being a leader on all of the next-generation gaming systems. The company established an early leadership position on the Xbox 360 and according to the NPD Group, has the #1 Xbox 360 game with Call of Duty® 2. Activision’s next-generation slate is anchored by well-established, recognizable brands that the company owns or controls.

Activision also announced its game lineup for the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 10 - 12, 2006. The company’s slate showcases games for both next-and current-generation consoles and Windows PC platforms.

“Activision will showcase a diverse and well-rounded game slate at this year’s E3 convention,” said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc. “We expect that our well-established brands and multi-platform development strategy should continue to provide us with an advantage in the new console era. The next-generation console systems feature significant visual and audio enhancements that will continue making video games more accessible to audiences worldwide.”

Next-Generation Launch Titles:

Activision’s PlayStation 3 system launch lineup will take advantage of the hardware’s multi-core processing to deliver smoother, faster gaming experiences that will closely resemble feature film quality values. The company’s launch games for Nintendo’s Wii system will fully utilize the Wii’s revolutionary freehand-style controller by offering more immersive gameplay.

Call of Duty 3, the follow-up to the #1 next-generation game, delivers the intensity of being closer than ever to the fury of combat during the battle for the Liberation of Paris, the most harrowing campaign of WWII, known as The Normandy Breakout. Through a seamless narrative, Call of Duty 3 delivers the rush of unrelenting battle and breathtaking action of the Allied offensive that changed the fate of the world. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii, Xbox, PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an all-new action/RPG that features over 140 Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains and the largest roster of comic book characters ever seen in a video game. Players get to create their Super Hero team from over 20 playable characters including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Blade and Captain America, and through their actions determine the fate of both planet Earth and the Marvel Universe, which is revealed in one of several epilogues. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP™ (PlayStation® Portable) system, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Windows PC; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Designed and built exclusively for Nintendo’s next-generation and handheld systems, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam delivers a totally innovative and unique skateboard experience focused on head-to-head racing. The game allows players to feel the breakneck speed of downhill competition as they tear up the world’s steepest terrains while performing tricks and outmaneuvering opponents in such locations as San Francisco, Machu Picchu and Hong Kong. Taking on the role of Tony Hawk or one of nine characters, players compete in time-based challenges in one of three gameplay modes including race, trick and slalom. (Wii, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Reengineered from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 system and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and pressure of skating against some of the world’s top pros in true to life competitions as they aim to become the #1 skater. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Powerhouse E3 Lineup:

Set to redefine online action gaming, id Software’s Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars is the ultimate team-and objective-based multiplayer experience. Developed by Splash Damage and executive produced by id Software, the first person strategic action game is set within the epic QUAKE® universe in the year 2065 and pits the Allied troops of the Global Defense Force (GDF) against a new Axis of Evil – the barbaric and technologically advanced Strogg. Built on id Software’s new MegaTexture™ rendering technology and featuring strategic team play, persistent character promotions and the universe’s most powerful weapons and vehicles, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars transports players to the frontlines of an epic new war for Earth. (Windows PC; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Building on The Movies™’ critically acclaimed gameplay, The Movies: Stunts & Effects™ Expansion Pack ups the ante on movie production with the addition of stuntmen, death-defying stunts and new stunt double characters; a new particle effects engine that let’s players enhance their scenes with incredible visual effects including fireball explosions, shattering glass, smoke and steam; an all new “Freecam Mode” that allows players to adjust the camera location, angle, field of view and path to create truly unique movies; and the addition of new miniature sets that let players create dramatic sweeping angles. (Windows PC; summer; Rated “T” (Teen – Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Tobacco Violence) by the ESRB)

Based on DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film, Over the Hedge™ takes players on an all-new adventure beyond the movie as they assume the roles of RJ the raccoon, Verne the turtle, Hammy the squirrel and Stella the skunk and turn a suburban neighborhood loaded with dangerous obstacles and traps into their personal playground. (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and the PC have been rated E10+; Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS have been rated E by the ESRB; available on North American retail shelves May 9)

X-Men: The Official Game catapults players into an original storyline that serves as a prelude to Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and allows them to command the distinct powers of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman as they face off against formidable enemies, battle through massive environments and embark on an epic quest to save mutant-kind. (Rated “T” (Teen - violence) for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC by the ESRB; Rated “E-10+” (Everyone 10 and older – fantasy violence) for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance) by the ESRB; available on North American retail shelves May 16)

Building on last year’s #1 poker title and the #1 brand in poker, World Series of Poker®: Tournament of Champions takes a story-based approach putting players on the Pro Circuit as a new pro and protégé of Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Players test their skills at the premier Circuit Events in hopes of qualifying for the winner-take-all, invitation-only Tournament of Champions at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas. Along the way, they face-off against more top pros than ever before, including Joseph Hachem, the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion and Jennifer Tilly, the Academy Award nominated actress and World Series of Poker bracelet holder, among others in hopes of bringing home the Tournament of Champions trophy. (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PC, PSP system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

New Online Content:

Further expanding the experience of the #1 title for the Xbox 360, Activision will release four all new Call of Duty 2 Xbox 360 multiplayer maps at E3 that unleash a blistering barrage of battle for gamers. The four maps will be available via Xbox Live® online game network. The Bonus Pack features two maps set in Germany and will be released for free. While the Skirmish Pack contains two additional maps set in Russia and France will be sold for 400 Microsoft Points™ through Xbox Live® Marketplace.

Video taped comments from Activision’s CEO, Robert Kotick, concerning E3, the PlayStation 3 system, Nintendo Wii and the future of digital entertainment, are available at www.thenewsmarket.com/activision. Media can preview and request broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape at no cost from this site.

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May 8, 2006

EA UNVEILS THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMES AT E3

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 4, 2006-- Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced its next generation of game titles for the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) taking place in Los Angeles May 10-12, 2006. EA’s line up of EA SPORTS™ and EA™ branded games for the Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, Nintendo Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PC and mobile phones will be showcased in EA’s booth #1000 in the South Hall. With a renewed focus on original and wholly-owned intellectual property EA will unveil an array of titles and the technology that drives gameplay innovation.

Shown exclusively behind closed doors, EA is presenting its recently announced next generation console action title out of EA Montréal, ARMY OF TWO™; Will Wright’s original PC work in progress, SPORE™; and the newest PC iteration in the acclaimed Command & Conquer™ series, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars™.

The EA SPORTS line up will go behind closed doors in the EA SPORTS Lab highlighting the technology that fuels the gameplay innovations for the ’07 lineup. Madden NFL 07 will be playable on the PlayStation 3 console, Xbox 360, PSP system, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii.

“EA is leading the industry with a new generation of games on a new generation of platforms,” said Paul Lee President of EA Studios. “We’re pushing the technology to provide more innovation in our EA branded games and authentic athletic performance in our EA SPORTS games. We’re also leading the resurgence of PC gaming with groundbreaking titles like Battlefield 2142, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars, Crytek Studio’s Crysis and of course Will Wright’s new game, SPORE.”

“EA is demonstrating a ground-breaking level of quality and innovation at E3 this year,” said Frank Gibeau, EA Executive Vice President and General Manger of North American Publishing. “Games like ARMY OF TWO and NBA LIVE 07 are going to unleash the power of new consoles like PlayStation3 and Xbox 360. Madden NFL 07 makes great use of the new controller on Nintendo’s Wii system.”

“E3 is a showcase for EA’s portfolio of globally recognized entertainment,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager of International Publishing, Gerhard Florin. “Titles like FIFA Soccer, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II and the Battlefield franchise are among the most popular games in the world.”
EA SPORTS™ branded E3 line up

Along with playable demos that showcase deep new offerings of Madden NFL 07 and NCAA Football 07, EA will feature tech demonstrations of NBA LIVE, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR and FIFA Soccer behind closed doors in the EA SPORTS Lab. These demos will illustrate the new tools and development philosophy that drives gameplay and feature innovation in EA SPORTS games on next generation consoles. Highlighting the EA SPORTS Lab will be never-before-seen technology that delivers authentic athletic performance— the athletic movements, awareness, look and emotional intensity that bring characters to life in EA SPORTS games. The Lab will also feature a demonstration of ESPN content integrated in upcoming EA SPORTS games, including ESPN ticker and ESPN SportsCenter Radio updates.

Madden NFL 07 - With the exclusive video game license of the NFL and its players, Madden NFL 07 continues to be the #1 football franchise in history with more than 51 million copies sold. In its 17th installment, you control the running game like never before. For the first time ever, step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower, or slash away from would-be tacklers as you fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks, and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs. Developed by EA Tiburon, Madden NFL 07 will launch in August on the Xbox 360, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube™, PSP system, PC, Nintendo DS and Game Boy® Advance. Madden NFL 07 is also in development on the PlayStation 3 console and Nintendo Wii.

NCAA® Football 07 - Momentum changes everything—now college football’s most celebrated videogame turns the tide with NCAA Football 07. Whether battling your biggest rival or playing for the first-ever BCS National Championship Game in Dynasty Mode™, success on the field depends on your ability to maintain momentum. Featuring unprecedented graphics that capture every moment in complete detail—from the authenticity of the stadiums, mascots, and marching bands, to the true-to-life look and feel of the players on the field. NCAA Football 07 delivers the most realistic college football experience ever. NCAA Football 07 is scheduled to ship in July on the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, Xbox 360 and the PSP system.

NASCAR® 07* (Working title) - Take risks, be rewarded, and become a champion with NASCAR® 07* on the PSP system. With all-new Adrenaline Moments, use your skill and instinct during the most intense situations and control the outcome by avoiding disastrous wrecks and flying debris. Maintain your focus on dangerous conditions ahead with the new RaceBreaker feature, which guides you through every treacherous moment of the race. With all-new speed blurring, realistic spark and smoke effects, and camera shakes, get your adrenaline pumping and experience the all-out drama and intensity of 190-mph racing with NASCAR 07.

EA™ branded E3 lineup

The EA game line up is as diverse as the audience games reach today. Gamers will have all-new experiences on award-winning franchises or discover completely new franchises; EA titles will demonstrate that next generation has arrived on the console, PC and handheld devices.

ARMY OF TWO™ - You’re not alone soldier, not anymore. At E3, EA unveils details of the action title that has been kept top secret for the past year. Developed at EA’s boutique production house in Montréal, Canada, the new, original game will redefine strategic TWO man cooperative play when it launches on the PlayStation 3 console and Xbox 360 in 2007. ARMY OF TWO will throw gamers into hot spots ripped from current day headlines where they will utilize unique TWO man strategies and tactics while seamlessly transitioning between playing with intelligent Partner AI (PAI) and a live player. When one man is not enough, it will take an army of two to fight through war, political turmoil and a conspiracy so vast it threatens the entire world.

Battlefield 2142™ - The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth’s population. The math is simple and brutal: Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival. Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices, EMP grenades and sentry guns, players can level the playing field against massive Battle Walkers that control the ground and futuristic aircraft that rule the skies. Massive online* battles for up to 64 players drop gamers on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their team-mates. Battlefield 2142 also introduces an all-new game type for the first time in franchise history: “Titan” mode, which challenges gamers to control the battlefield and destroy their opponent’s Titan - a massive flying warship - while defending their own. Battlefield 2142 is developed by Digital Illusions/DICE Sweden and is slated to ship for PC in Fall 2006.

SPORE – SPORE takes players on an epic journey from the origin and evolution of life through the development of civilization and eventually into the outer reaches of space. Create a creature, then control every dimension of its evolution from pond scum to galactic god. Experience multiple styles of gameplay as your creature advances through different stages of development. Fight for survival in the wild, develop a sprawling metropolis, trade and war against rival civilizations and explore the outer reaches of the galaxy. Every aspect of the universe from creatures to vehicles, buildings to plants, are created by the player and automatically shared with other players, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play. Create, control and explore your universe with SPORE. SPORE is under development for the PC by legendary game designer, Will Wright.

Crysis™ – Crysis is all-new first person shooter from Crytek, the award-winning developers of the critically-acclaimed hit Far Cry. Powered by the revolutionary CryEngine™2, Crysis delivers next-generation PC technology, graphics and gameplay. Set in 2019 after a colossal asteroid crashes to Earth, Crysis begins amidst a tense military standoff between the North Korean and United States governments for control of the impact zone. Amid rising tensions, the asteroid suddenly bursts open revealing a massive alien ship, which begins freezing vast portions of the island and altering the global weather system. The invasion of Earth has begun. Crysis features an epic three-act story of alien invasion where players are able to customize their armor and weapons in real time to confront an ever-changing enemy and a harsh, dynamic environment. Advanced enemy AI employs realistic military tactics, forcing gamers to actively outsmart their opponents rather than simply reacting to them. Crysis is slated to ship for the PC in Winter 2006.

Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars™ – The genre defining Command & Conquer series is back! The epic struggle between the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and The Brotherhood of NOD continues…and the third Tiberium War™ is about to begin. Welcome back, Commander. Command & Conquer, the groundbreaking series that put the Real-time Strategy (RTS) genre on the map, is returning in full force with Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. This highly-anticipated next chapter takes the popular series back to its roots in the Tiberium universe and features the fast, fluid gameplay that Command & Conquer is known for and a gripping story that will redefine storytelling in RTS games. Experience a revolution in RTS gaming with a breakthrough single player campaign that rewards you for your gameplay style. Add layers of strategy to your gaming experience by building mobile bases, wielding the power of terrifying Ion Storms on the battlefield, or customizing your armies by combining units. Battle it out online with native voice-over IP, integrated clan support, and new spectator modes that let you play RTS games like a sport. Windows PC, 2007.

The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II for the Xbox 360 – Now command the epic battles of Middle-earth from your living room couch! Take control of huge armies and venture into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction—all in spectacular high-definition. The game boasts a new, intuitive console-specific control scheme that allows novice players to enjoy the game’s signature Real-time Strategy gameplay while giving expert players the flexibility needed to engage in a deeply complex strategy experience. Directly control hundreds of units in an attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth. As the first game in The Lord of the Rings™ series to be playable over Xbox LIVE™*, add to the intensity of the experience and challenge friends online* to engage in action-packed real-time battles. Summer 2006.

SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME challenges players to master Superman's unrivaled powers to save Metropolis. Based on 60 years of DC Comics and the upcoming motion picture, SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME creates the ultimate open-world super hero experience. As the Man of Steel™, you’ll hone your unworldly super powers such as Flight, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath to fight villains that only Superman™ can defeat. SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME will be available on Xbox 360, the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, the PSP system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

Def Jam® Fight For NY™: The Takeover – Experience the ultimate hip hop fighting game anywhere you go. Master over 180 new fighting moves and 50 new dirty moves in order to win fights and rise among the ranks of your crew. Create your own fighter and battle through over 40 of the hottest artists and celebrities in Hip Hop including Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Snoop Dogg, and Xzibit. With a new story, new moves, new venues, and head to head wireless gameplay, Def Jam Fight For NY: The Takeover is the summer's must have title for the PSP system.

Continue reading "EA UNVEILS THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMES AT E3" »

May 7, 2006

Buena Vista Games Unveils New Video Game Lineup at 2006 Electronics Entertainment Expo

BURBANK, Calif. — (May 8, 2006) — Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today announced its largest and most diverse lineup ever of console, computer and handheld video game titles to be showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 10-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1024 in the South Hall.

With a broad portfolio of video games that appeals to a wide audience, BVG’s portfolio includes titles inspired by major theatrical releases, popular and award-winning television shows and new intellectual properties.

“Buena Vista Games’ 2006 portfolio features the most diverse and extensive product mix to date, with titles based on the rich movie and television brands of The Walt Disney Company and new original properties that we look to build into evergreen franchises for the future,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “We continue to strengthen our self-publishing business with compelling new games that have broad entertainment appeal across all audiences and all major markets worldwide.”

For console game players, BVG will showcase a broad range of titles including Turok, an FPS game set on a mysterious planet that is based on the Classic Media comic book license; Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action, based on the “super hero movie within a movie” of the box office hit film “Chicken Little”; Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, inspired by the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ futuristic computer-animated film; Lumines Plus, the first console extension of the highly popular Lumines puzzle franchise; and Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch?, the first console game based on the hit Disney Channel franchise.

For Windows PC users, Desperate Housewives: The Game, based on the award-winning ABC/Touchstone Television series “Desperate Housewives” will be available for game play for the first time.

BVG’s strategy for its kids games portfolio is focused on three endeavors in 2006 – the launch of the Disney on the Go brand; new efforts in handheld preschool learning games with the launch of Disney’s Little Einsteins for Game Boy® Advance; and migrating handheld franchise hits to the console for sophisticated gameplay in a family-safe environment with Disney’s Kim Possible for PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.

BVG will showcase handheld games for all major handheld platforms (the PSP (PlayStation®Portable) system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance). The company’s handheld portfolio will include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, based on the upcoming summer blockbuster movie; Spectrobes, a new original title being developed in Japan; Lumines II, Every Extend Extra and Meteos: Disney Edition, action puzzle games from Q ENTERTAINMENT; and games based on popular Disney Channel properties including “Hannah Montana,“ “Little Einsteins,” “American Dragon,” “Phil of the Future,” “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “That’s So Raven” and more. Also, BVG will present new titles for young girls based on the Disney Princess franchise including a game based on the upcoming DVD release of “The Little Mermaid.”

Along with its self-publishing business, BVG continues to work with its licensing partners on phenomenal games based on Disney and Disney€Pixar properties. THQ Inc. will showcase Disney€Pixar Cars and Bethesda Softworks will show Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow in their respective booths at E3.

Console Games

Turok*
Turok is an epic, story-driven FPS game set on a dark, mysterious planet in the near future. Players take on the role of Joseph Turok, a former Black Ops commando, now part of an elite Special Forces squad on a mission to take down a war criminal on a genetically-altered planet. After the ship is shot down while approaching the planet, Joseph Turok must use his instincts and elite military training to elude an army of well-trained soldiers, and the ravenous, unpredictable creatures that populate the dangerous environment. Joseph Turok’s mission? Survive at all costs.

Platforms: Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system
Release Date: 2007

Lumines Plus*
Lumines Plus is a pulsing new version of the original PSP system game for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Lumines Plus includes new skins and a two-player battle mode.

Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: Fall 2006

Disney’s Meet The Robinsons
Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, based on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures animated film, is a time-traveling action/adventure game. Players will experience the adventure as Wilbur Robinson, helping him chase the dastardly Bowler Hat Guy and his diabolical robotic hat Doris through multiple timelines in an attempt to thwart their evil plans. The game weaves in and out of the film’s plot, expanding the Robinson world and offering an all-new adventure. Wilbur will have a host of gadgets at his disposal as he battles enemies and solves puzzles while pursuing Bowler Hat Guy and trying not to alter the future.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance
Release Date: 2007

Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action
Inspired by the “superhero movie within the movie” finale of Walt Disney Pictures’ box office hit film “Chicken Little,” Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water. The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth. Battle evil alien robots through multiple levels across the solar system and combat your foes in one of three distinct game play modes: Ace on foot as a soldier, Runt as the driver of an armored tank, or Abby as the pilot of a spaceship. The original Chicken Little and his friends Abby, Runt and Fish we know from the film are featured in cut scenes throughout the game.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS
Release Date: Fall 2006

Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch?
Kim Possible and her perennial nemesis Shego must grudgingly team up to bring everything back to normal when the minds of Dr. Drakken and Ron Stoppable are switched in this action-packed adventure. It’s now up to Kim and Shego to save the day – together.

Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: Fall 2006

Windows PC Game

Desperate Housewives: The Game
A lifestyle simulation game for Windows based on the hit ABC/Touchstone Television phenomenon, Desperate Housewives: The Game lets you become the newest housewife on Wisteria Lane, extending the experience from the TV series through new storylines. As a new housewife, you must uncover delicious scandals and reveal some shocking secrets of your own. The gameplay is a story-driven adventure, in which each episode contains unique plot points and secrets for you to uncover.

Platforms: Windows XP and Windows Vista
Release Date: Fall 2006

Handheld Games

Spectrobes
An original concept and new intellectual property from Buena Vista Games, Spectrobes introduces two junior Interplanetary Patrol officers named Rallen and Jeena who learn of strange, prehistoric creatures called Spectrobes that possess special powers. These Spectrobes hold the key to defeating a vicious and merciless force, known only as the Krawl that threatens to destroy the galaxy. The two heroes embark on a mission to save their galaxy – to do so they must excavate, awaken, train and collect all the Spectrobes they can and battle to defeat the Krawl.

Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: To Be Announced

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, based on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ film, is a swashbuckling third-person action/adventure. Players will engage in game play that reflects the cunning world of the film franchise -- with an abundance of disloyalty, humor and revenge. Players embark on a daring adventure while sword dueling and hunting for hidden treasure in the quest for the legendary Dead Man’s Chest.

Platforms: PSP system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance
Release Date: June 27, 2006

Lumines II
Lumines II is the highly anticipated sequel to the extremely addictive puzzle-based video game, Lumines. Gamers control squares made of four smaller block pieces that are dropped into the playing field one at a time to form same-color squares. The vertical “timeline” sweeps across the playing field from left to right and wipes the same-color squares from the playing field. Unmatched blocks pile up, and the game ends when the pile gets to the top of the playing screen. Advance through many action-packed levels, each with its own musical theme and sound effects.

Platform: PSP system
Release Date: Fall 2006

Every Extend Extra
Every Extend Extra is a unique “puzzle shooter,” brought to the PSP system by the creators of the critically acclaimed hit Lumines. Every Extend Extra delivers an addictive gameplay experience through a fusion of arcade-style shooting action, cutting-edge music and visuals. Players evade enemy attacks and then use perfect timing to blast their foes in a colorful display of explosive chain reactions. The bigger the chain reaction results in the higher the score and the larger the rewards.

Platform: PSP system
Release Date: Fall 2006

Meteos: Disney Edition
Meteos: Disney Edition is a new version of the popular galactic action puzzle title Meteos featuring beloved Disney characters.

Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: Fall 2006

BVG will also showcase upcoming handheld titles including for the Nintendo DS:

Disney’s American Dragon: Jake Long, Attack of the Dark Dragon
Disney’s Kim Possible: Global Gemini
Hannah Montana
That’s So Raven: Psychic on the Scene
Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Tipton Trouble

Games for the Game Boy Advance include:

The Cheetah Girls
Phil of the Future.
W.I.T.C.H.

Licensed Games

Disney€Pixar Cars
Published by THQ, Cars, the video game, is a high performance interactive experience in the open world created in the film, challenging players to relive the excitement created by Lightning McQueen and his friends. Fans will discover unique characters and environments inspired by the film with more than 10 playable characters and 30 races and mini games to choose from. The game features a fully immersive recreation of all major environments introduced in the movie, including Radiator Springs and Ornament Valley, which will offer distinctive racing experiences to players while maintaining the artistic style of the film.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube®, Nintendo DS, PSP system, Game Boy Advance, Windows PC and Mac
Release Date: June 2006; Xbox 360 and Wii versions – Fall 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
What’s not to love about Captain Jack Sparrow? Play as Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann as you hack and slash your way through fully interactive environments, including burning buildings, wrecked ships, and misty moonlit caves. One minute you are fighting hordes of enemies and the next you’re evading capture by the Royal Navy. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow is being published by Bethesda Softworks.

Platforms: PlayStation 2 and Windows PC
Release Date: Summer 2006

Continue reading "Buena Vista Games Unveils New Video Game Lineup at 2006 Electronics Entertainment Expo" »

May 5, 2006

Colin McRae to Return in 2007 with a Sensational Next-Generation Off-Road Racing Experience

New York (May 4, 2006) – Colin McRae Rally, the genre-leading off-road racer, is set to return in 2007. Codemasters confirmed that the all-new McRae game, (working title CMR’07), is now in development exclusively for next-generation platforms, and will be available next year.

After a two-year break for the series, Codemasters Studios’ designers are back and re- creating a totally reinvigorated McRae experience. The new Colin McRae title will go beyond the series’ point-to-point rallying to deliver the most diverse selection of extreme off-road competitions. Sensational gravel, mud and dirt racing events from the world over will include perilous Hill Climb and collision-packed Rally Cross events.

The game will also feature international rallying competitions, with official cars on tracks based on real roads and locations around the globe. McCrae will expand on beat-the-clock racing and include events with multiple cars on track to satisfy gamers who want to push their on-the-edge driving further.

“The all-new Colin McRae Rally will be a real evolution for the series and offer a massive variety of off-road events, more than any other single-championship rally game has before,” said Gavin Raeburn, executive producer at Codemasters. “It's being designed to offer a totally accessible, high-speed ride for newcomers to the series, yet hardened McRae players will be able to delve under the hood and immerse themselves in the most challenging of competitions.”

Continue reading "Colin McRae to Return in 2007 with a Sensational Next-Generation Off-Road Racing Experience" »

March 24, 2006

EA LINES UP THE WORLD’S TOP SOCCER SUPERSTARS FOR 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP

Redwood City, Calif., March 24, 2006 – This is your chance to step onto the pitch and play with your heroes in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Finals! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today revealed the superstar players who will be featured on the front packs of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ video game around the world. Designed to celebrate each country’s top star, the cover athletes have been individually selected to represent their team, their nation and their loyal fans. Working in partnership with adidas, the only official branded sports apparel manufacturer for the real-world 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament, EA has been able to deliver customized covers for nearly a dozen countries.

“We are thrilled to have the world’s top athletes representing 2006 FIFA World Cup in each of these countries,” said Clive Downie, VP of Marketing, EA. “Game players around the globe are engaging in this phenomenal tournament by experiencing it for themselves through the video game.”

“2006 FIFA World Cup lets players live out their greatest soccer fantasy of playing with their heroes. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with EA and provide direct access to each of the superstars,” said Thierry Weil, head of football sports marketing at adidas.

Demonstrating athletic excellence, undying determination and masterful skill, the line-up of players featured regionally on 2006 FIFA World Cup are true sports champions.

TEAM

ATHLETE

PACK AVAILABILE IN:

China

Zhi Zhen

China

England

Frank Lampard

England

Germany

Lukas Podolski

Germany

Italy

Alessandro Del Piero

Italy

Mexico

Jamie Lozano

USA, Canada, Mexico

Portugal

Simao

Portugal

Netherlands

Arjen Robben

Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg

Switzerland

Ricardo Cabanas

Switzerland

Spain

Xavi

Spain

USA

Claudio Reyna

USA, Canada, Mexico

All other countries will feature the FIFA World Cup trophy and the Official Emblem.

Players step into the heart of the action as they play their favorite team or most loathed opponent. Featuring stunning visual representations of the world’s superstar players, gamers experience the 12 official stadiums as they take their team from qualification to glory. In addition to taking control of one of 127 national teams, players will enjoy groundbreaking new play modes. Global Challenge tests even the biggest soccer fanatic by recreating classic moments in FIFA World Cup history with modern teams. True champions can challenge their friends in eight-way multiplayer matches and take advantage of tremendous in-game un-lockable content such as legendary players and exclusive licensed football apparel.

2006 FIFA World Cup, developed by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. will be available on April 24 in North America and April 28 in Europe and Asia. The game will be available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™, and Game Boy® Advance, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, PC and mobile. The game is rated is rated “E” (Everyone) by the ESRB and has a PEGI rating of 3+.

Screenshots and renders can be downloaded at http://info.ea.com.

###

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers, and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS™, EA™, EA SPORTS BIG™ and POGO™. In fiscal 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG, and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S and/or other countries. Official FIFA licensed product. FIFA World Cup is the property of its respective owner and used with permission. Microsoft, Xbox and Xbox 360 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark and PSP is a trademark of SCEI. Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Continue reading "EA LINES UP THE WORLD’S TOP SOCCER SUPERSTARS FOR 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP" »

March 16, 2006

Midway Demos

I met with Midway yesterday at the W Hotel where they had the greatest rice krispy squares dipped in chocolate.

SpyHunter: Nowhere to Run
spyhunter.jpg
This ships on June 19, 2006 for PS2 and Xbox. It's more than the same old SpyHunter because there is an added 3rd person action element staring The Rock. It's pretty melee heavy. I got to play this one and it was a lot of fun. Driving had that exciting combat. I kept dying during the level with the boat. The gun battles and fighting were pretty cool and they really bring a new dimension to the game.

Stranglehold
stranglehold.jpg
This will be Midway's first next generation game for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. It's a John Woo project, the spiritual sequel to Hardboiled. Chow Yun Fat plays Inspector Tequila and the game takes place in both Hong Kong and Chicago. There is environment is massively destructible and rooms look like a gun battle took place there with debris on the ground and the walls being all chewed up by bullets. The theatrical effects are there with blood spray and the animation is very fluid. There's also Tequila Time where you move in real time and everyone else moves in slow motion. It's being developed by the same team that did Psi-Ops and they're using Havoc physics and the Unreal Engine 3.0. Stranglehold is scheduled to ship in winto 2006.

Continue reading "Midway Demos" »

March 15, 2006

Sony Admits PS3 Delay

There's an article on GameDaily this morning that Sony is pushing the shipment of the PS3 in Japan back to November. This is a big deal. If it isn't available until November in Japan, then when will it come here? Could it possibly be available in North America and Europe by the holidays? This could be a major coup for the 360 if it gets a second unopposed holiday season.
GameDaily BIZ: The news source for video game industry professionals

Continue reading "Sony Admits PS3 Delay" »

February 14, 2006

HASBRO TAPS ACTIVISION TO PUBLISH RANGE OF VIDEO GAMES BASED ON THE TRANSFORMERS FRANCHISE AND LIVE-ACTION FILM FROM DREAMWORKS AND PARAMOUNT PICTURES

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Feb. 13, 2006– The Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Activision, Inc, (NASDAQ: ATVI), a leading publisher of interactive entertainment software products, announced today a license that grants Activision the global rights, excluding Japan, to develop console, handheld and PC games based on Hasbro’s renowned TRANSFORMERS brand. The first game will be tied to the much-anticipated July 4, 2007 movie release of the live action TRANSFORMERS film from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

The TRANSFORMERS brand has been one of the best-selling boys’ action brands in a wide-range of categories, from toys to publishing to apparel, since its launch as a global property in 1984. Hasbro is currently gearing up to activate one of the Company’s most ambitious marketing and merchandising programs yet to coincide with the live action movie in 2007.

“We are thrilled to work with Activision to bring the widely popular TRANSFORMERS brand to the world of digital entertainment and introduce millions of consumers to our best-known TRANSFORMER and biggest hero of all time—OPTIMUS PRIME,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, president of the Hasbro Properties Group (HPG). “As the leading developer of video games, Activision shares our passion and excitement for the TRANSFORMERS story line. We know this world-class and creative team will bring TRANSFORMERS to life in powerful and exciting ways as we immerse a broad audience in this pop-culture phenomenon.”

“TRANSFORMERS has all of the elements necessary to translate incredibly well into video games,” said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc. “We look forward to bringing the Transformer robots to life with the latest interactive technology and graphics.”

The announcement of Activision as the global game publisher for the TRANSFORMERS brand marks the beginning of Hasbro’s commitment to bring its well-known toy and game brands further into the digital media space. This effort follows the reacquisition of its video gaming rights from Infogrames Entertainment SA last June.

“Video gaming is a natural next step for our classic properties as children and adults alike live more of their lives around technology,” said Ritson-Parsons “We see the digital arena as a great complement to the lifestyle experiences that we’re providing to consumers in a variety of categories.”

In addition to console, handheld and PC-based games, Hasbro plans to expand the TRANSFORMERS brand’s reach through ring tones, mobile gaming and a host of other products for gaming fans of all ages.

Continue reading "HASBRO TAPS ACTIVISION TO PUBLISH RANGE OF VIDEO GAMES BASED ON THE TRANSFORMERS FRANCHISE AND LIVE-ACTION FILM FROM DREAMWORKS AND PARAMOUNT PICTURES" »

January 17, 2006

JUMP INTO THE NEXT GENERATION WWII FPS EXPERIENCE WITH EA’S MEDAL OF HONOR AIRBORNE

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., January 17, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced Medal of Honor Airborne™, the newest installment from EA’s critically-acclaimed Medal of Honor™ franchise which was credited with pioneering the First-Person Shooter (FPS) WWII genre when it debuted in 1999. While building on the key tenets of the franchise including historical accuracy and authenticity, Medal of Honor Airborne is set to redefine the series by introducing players to an entirely new way of experiencing a WWII FPS – namely the fully interactive Airborne experience. As the first game in the Medal of Honor series to be released on next generation platforms, Medal of Honor Airborne will ship to stores in Winter 2006 under the EA™ brand for the PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment systems, Xbox™ 360, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, and Windows PC.

Step into the boots of Boyd Travers, Private First Class of the 82nd Airborne Division and engage in battles throughout Europe. From rocky beginnings in Sicily to war-winning triumphs in Germany, each mission begins behind enemy lines, with an intense and fully interactive airdrop. Your ability to determine your own starting point dramatically changes the way each mission plays out. View the entire operation from the air, and then control your parachute to choose your landing spot. On the ground, gather your senses and assess the terrain. A wide variety of authentic, customizable weapons are at your disposal, each with distinct characteristics. Choose your path in this free roaming FPS environment. Medal of Honor Airborne will also feature exceptionally photo-realistic characters, adding to the intensity of the cinematic, story-driven game.

“Medal of Honor Airborne is a step in a new direction for the franchise. While integrating our state-of-the-art, next-gen technology into every aspect of the game, we are introducing innovations that will redefine the series and impact the genre as a whole," explained Patrick Gilmore, VP and Executive Producer at EALA. “By fully controlling the airdrop from your very first step through landing, Medal of Honor Airborne adds a new dimension of player choice by letting you decide where every mission begins and how it plays out.”

The Medal of Honor Airborne development team continues to ensure that the ideals and integrity of the prestigious congressional Medal of Honor are accurately reflected in the game. The producers sought counsel from numerous expert sources to make certain the game is historically accurate and as true to the WWII Airborne experience as possible. Serving as a military spokesperson for Medal of Honor Airborne, Capt. Dale Dye, who has worked as the Military Technical Advisor for the last 7 Medal of Honor games, will help to create a truly authentic experience.


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