Archived News:

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

More Game Movies

A bunch of E3 Trailers:

Star Wars: Republic Commando Revealed

This LucasArts Press Release announces Star Wars: Republic Commando, the working title for an upcoming Unreal-engine PC & Xbox shooter set in the Star Wars universe. Included is a link to the E3 trailer from the game. Here's the deal:
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – May 13, 2003 – LucasArts today announced development is underway on Star Wars: Republic Commando (working title), a dark and intense first-person shooter for the Xbox™ video game system and PC. The game will utilize an enhanced version of the acclaimed Unreal engine technology.

Expected for release summer 2004, Star Wars: Republic Commando will present a dramatic military-style action experience from the point-of-view of an elite squad member of a Republic Special Operations unit. Players will step into the role of a Commando performing precision operations deep behind enemy lines in this brutally realistic Star Wars combat experience.

Civilization III Demos

Well over a year after the game's release, is now playing host to both a Civilization III Demo and a Civilization III Game of the Year Edition Demo offering the chance to sample either version of the strategy game restricted by a 60 minute time limit. Thanks Civilization Fanatics' Center.

UT2004 Announced

Atari Announces Unreal Tournament 2004 is the press release with what has become the expected announcement of the next iteration in the shooter series, making good on what had been described as plans to make annual updates to the project. The game, expected to ship this fall, "includes all of the content from Unreal Tournament 2003 plus the two free bonus packs released by Digital Extremes and Epic Games" and is again being co-developed by Digital Extremes and Epic Games. Here's a bit:
"Unreal Tournament 2004 is the next evolution of the greatest competitive computer game ever created," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and general manager of Atari's Los Angeles studio. "The addition of new modes, mods and maps as well as the controllable land-, air- and space-based vehicles, means Unreal fans are getting an entirely new experience featuring devastating vehicular combat and wide scale warfare."

Raven Shield Patch

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield Website has the new version 1.2 patch for the latest Rainbow Six game. In addition to this US version there are separate updates for the UK, German, Italian, and Spanish editions of the game, and a handy list of mirrors is up on the Raven Shield Platoon where they have more mirrors listed than the official Ubi Soft site.

Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword

Though its existence has already been revealed (story), Team RAINBOW Returns to Combat with Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 Athena Sword is the press release officially announcing the first add-on for the latest installment in this tactical shooter series. No release date for the counter-terrorism expansion is offered, but there are some screenshots on Raven Shield - Il Sito Ufficiale Italiano (thanks The Platoon), and here is the list of planned features:

  • All-new, eight-mission campaign in locations including Italy, Croatia, and Greece
  • Eight new Multiplayer levels
  • Five new multiplayer game modes
  • Three "classic" missions
  • Seven additional real-world weapons (for a whopping total of 64)
  • Weapon sound effects from the team that worked on the blockbuster film The Matrix

Tony Hawk 4 Demo

A Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 Demo is now available, offering a sampling of the latest installment in the skateboarding series. The demo is a 133 MB download, which can be found on FilePlanet (registration required), (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

PS2 Modem Free

More from Sony, as Sony Bundles $40 Modem Device Free With PlayStation 2 has word that: "Sony will now sell its PlayStation 2 standard with its Network Adapter, which allows video-game players to hook up via the Internet to compete with each other. The company didn't specify an exact start date for the promotion, but said it would happen over the summer."

Sony's Hand-Held

Sony Computer Entertainment Readies for Market Expansion With Creation of a New Handheld Entertainment Platform (thanks GameFaction) is the press release announcing plans for what they say will be the "Walkman' of the 21st century." Here's a bit:
Enhancing its strong platform strategies, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today plans to expand its in-home entertainment to outside the home with a new, all-in-one portable entertainment platform, "PSP(TM)." Scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2004, the company's goal is to extend the reach of PlayStation® to a broader audience, allowing consumers to enjoy gaming and other entertainment content anytime, anywhere. Specific details on release plans and pricing will be disclosed at a later date.

The foundation of this new platform is Universal Media Disc (UMD), which comprises of a 60mm optical disc (1.8 GB) in a cartridge, developed by the Sony Group, utilizing its latest disc technologies. Compared to the out-dated mask ROM cartridge, optical disc has huge advantages such as shorter turn around time for manufacturing, larger data capacity and lower media costs. The latest copy-protection technology will be applied to offer content developers and publishers a safe and copy-protected environment.

"PSP" will be equipped with a wide screen 480 x 272 pixel (16 by 9) TFT LCD monitor with a backlight, and powered by super chipsets utilizing the latest 90 nm semiconductor technology. For graphics, 3D rendering will be enhanced by the employment of curved surfaces (NURBS) along with conventional polygons. Video quality will also be enhanced with MPEG4, which delivers quality equivalent to DVD video at a low data rate.

On DOOM III & Xbox

Offering no details that have not already been inferred from the MS showing of the game, Activision sends along an official announcement of plans to release DOOM III for the Xbox, though a release date for the Xbox version "is not available." It also seems possible that the DOOM III trailer mentioned earlier is not showing the game on the Xbox, as the brief announcement also says: "id Software and Activision will feature a new trailer of the PC version at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, beginning Wednesday, May 14, in Activision’s booth #1224 in the South Hall."

Conflict: Desert Storm II Official

Following up on a sketchy initial announcement (story), Gotham Games Announces Conflict: Desert Storm II - Back to Baghdad for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC is the press release officially unveiling plans for the third-person squad-based combat sequel. Word is: "Conflict: Desert Storm II captures all of the intense, third-person squad-based action of the original and builds on it as players command US Delta Forces or British SAS over the sands of Iraq to crush what remains of Saddam’s evil regime." Release on each of the game's target platforms is expected this fall.

Dungeon Siege II Announced

Microsoft Game Studios sends along news that one of the projects they are showing off at E3 is Dungeon Siege II, being developed by Gas Powered Games, just like the original. Here's the word:
Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Dungeon Siege II, the sequel to the best-selling RPG from Gas Powered Games, is currently in development and is slated for release in 2004. A trailer for Dungeon Siege II will be shown at E3, the annual video game convention taking place in Los Angeles from May 14 through 16. Visitors to the Microsoft booth (South Hall #1246) will be treated to a taste of the vision and direction of this upcoming title. This cinematic feast for the eyes showcases the extraordinary capabilities of the Dungeon Siege II engine, as the entire movie was created in-engine.

"Run to the village and warn the chickens!” said Chris Taylor, president of Gas Powered Games. “At this year’s E3 we are showing the first sneak peek of what we have in store with Dungeon Siege 2. To emphasize the advances we have made in the RPG genre, we created a very special trailer using the actual in-game rendering engine. The future is here and we are all extremely excited to be a part of it with the announcement of the next title in the Dungeon Siege franchise."

DOOM III Trailer

A DOOM III trailer is apparently part of Microsoft's Xbox presentation at E3 this year, and the clip has been posted as subscriber-only content on IGN. It's not clear whether that's the original clip, but a ShakyCam(tm) version (the E3 special: shot off a monitor with a video camera) has been posted on Tiscali Games as a 2.5 MB Windows Media Player file. Though this does not serve as confirmation for the rumors that the Xbox will be the exclusive console system for the game (story), it certainly could be seen as lending support to that possibility. There are also a couple of DOOM III screenshots on The Adrenaline Vault.

Game Movies

Remember when E3 trailers didn't appear online until weeks after the show? The Lock On: Modern Air Combat now offers a new gameplay movie from the upcoming jet warfare game. The movie offers the first look at missile trails and explosions. The clip was released early due to E3, but word is that with their current workload, these weekly release will become even more sporadic than they have been. Also, the E3 trailer for Commandos 3: Destination Berlin has been released on Eidos' FTP server showing off some pre-rendered footage from the WW2 sequel, with mirrors available on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying. This Eidos Interactive Downloads Page offers the E3 trailer for The Italian Job, the upcoming console game based on the movie of the same name. The XIII E3 trailer is out on the UBI Soft FTP Server, and a mirror can be found on Worthplaying. There's also what they're saying is a new Great Escape trailer on Worthplaying. Finally, Xbox.IGN.Com has posted the E3 trailer for the Xbox version of Rainbow Six 3.

It Came from E3, Part 0

Most of the announcements precede the show, no reason the coverage shouldn't begin before the show as well:

Sam & Max Freelance Police

The Sam & Max Freelance Police Website is the expected unveiling of the upcoming sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, offering screenshots and a movie from the game. Here's the deal:
Spring 2004 marks the return of interactive entertainment's most freakishly adored dog and bunny tag team, as LucasArts unleashes Sam & Max Freelance Police™ onto an unsuspecting Windows PC game buying public. The long-rumored follow up to the critically acclaimed adventure classic Sam & Max Hit the Road® plunges Sam & Max™ into a whimsical miasma of fur-flying action, hare-pulling puzzles, and unnerving cross-species jocularity.

Morning Q&As

  • AC
    The Asheron's Call Q&A on Warcry's Crossroads of Dereth answers reader-submitted questions about upcoming developments in Turbine's MMORPG.
  • DAoC Foundations
    Camelot Vault's Foundations Housing Q&A with Copper talks about the expansion that will add housing to Mythic's popular MMORPG.
  • Cold Zero
    Action Vault's Cold Zero - The Last Stand Q&A catches up with a few of the developers at Drago Entertainment to discuss their upcoming game that forces the player to live a life of crime. Here's a bit: "What's cool is there are different play styles that can be used individually or combined. For example, gamers can choose combat-oriented action to complete their missions, or they can out-sneak the enemies. Or they can avoid enemy contact completely. They don't even need to kill their enemies - players can knock them unconscious, drag the bodies away or hide them."
  • Blitzkrieg
    Multiplay UK's Mike Allenson Q&A talks with the senior PR manager at Nival Interactive about Blitzkrieg, their upcoming WW2 strategy game, saying: "We wanted to make the best WWII real-time strategy game available, period."
  • Nitro Family
    XGR's Exclusives Nitro Family Feature offers some conversation with Bruce Kim, lead designer on the upcoming Serious-engine action game.
  • The Hobbit
    The Hobbit Q&A on GameSpot chats with Troy Skinner about the upcoming Middle Earth game, who points out: "The biggest challenge is definitely making a game that will live up to the expectations of Tolkien fans. There is a real balancing act in exploring elements of the book that work well as gameplay, while making sure that the entire package holds up as a representation of Tolkien's world. Every video game has its challenges, and this is the very best kind to have."

Dear Diaries

RPG Vault's Anarchy Online Shadowlands Peek of the Week #12 offers an examination of "The righteous, knight-like Keeper profession that Funcom will implement in its upcoming expansion pack" written by Funcom's Jon-Helgi Thorarrinson and Jørgen Tharaldsen. Also, RPG Vault Horizons Journal #19 is online, in which Artifact Entertainment creative director David Bowman fills us in on "The Dwarven race and its mountain citadel of Aughundell."

TRIBES: Vengeance Log

The TRIBES: Vengeance Chat Log on Tribal War recaps an IRC session with some of the folks at Sierra and Vivendi Universal involved in the production of the next installment in the TRIBES series of multiplayer shooters. The log has been organized into a Q&A format, covering a variety of topics ranging from gameplay through the modified version of the Unreal engine they are using, plans for an open beta, and more.

Savage Preview

HomeLan Fed's Savage Preview offers impressions of S2 Games' upcoming MMO FPS/RTS game. They discuss the game's story, how well the strategy and action elements blend together, the game engine, and more.

Morning Screenshots


Microsoft Unveils New Games, Xbox Live Upgrade (thanks the_culture) and there are impressions of this presentation, including Halo 2, on Gaming Nexus and HomeLan Fed. Also, 'Banned' Xbox Hacking Book Selling Fast (thanks Mike Martinez). Finally, Electronic Arts goes online with Sony (thanks devster) drops the other shoe on MS regarding EA's online strategy, which has been a bit murky lately. Here's the deal:
Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts (ERTS: down $0.09 to $61.46, Research, Estimates) will continue to make games for Microsoft and Nintendo, but its games will remain exclusive to Sony (SNE: up $0.56 to $25.09, Research, Estimates) in online versions through next March, according to the paper.

When asked about the Electronic Arts decision, Microsoft's (MSFT: up $0.02 to $26.37, Research, Estimates) Bach told the Journal its online version, Xbox Live, can help game makers by boosting sales, since players must first buy the individual games from publishers before accessing the online service

DoD Bot

A new version 1.6 of the Sturmbot is now available, adding support for the retail version of Day of Defeat as well as the free version of this Half-Life modification. The new release adds a bunch of new features while addressing several bugs. Thanks Tiscali Games.

Game Development & Mods

GarageGames' Reaction Engine Page offers the ability to purchase the Reaction Engine, "a hobbyist game engine designed specifically for beginner programmers, making small fun games, or prototyping game ideas quickly."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

No joke... I got spam yesterday from Whitney Houston!

From: Whitney Houston []
Subject: Catch My Big Night at The Prom tonight on "Boston Public" at 8pm on FOX.

And she used to be one of the biggest stars in the world... remember kids, just say no.

Link of the Day: Long Bets.
A Dog's Life.
Stories of the Day: The New Scholarship of Comics.
Woman's home a haven for possums. Thanks Keirian.
Secret Service Questions Students.
Wired News: Spammers, Reveal Thyselves!
Wild Science: Net virus 'fizzes' across Asia.
Weird Science: Thai Finance Minister Trapped By Rogue Computer In BMW.
Follow-ups: No iLoo for you.
Bidding for Trouble?
Thanks Mike Martinez.
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