Time flies when you're having fun and Playstation 2 owners have had plenty of that since the last E3 show. In this special article I will attempt to cover all the important information and announcements from the show. Many companies announce things before the show gets officially underway with many companies holding press conferences in the days leading up to the event. In this article you will find details about the games as well as links to the previews, many of which will be created and updated over the coming days. Remember that this article will be updates several times a day during the show. Enjoy.
MONDAY 27TH MAY
Well, the E3 show is over for another year and it's been an interesting one. Definately not as exciting as last years when the XBox and Gamecube were shown for the first time and the Playstation 2 really started to take off, but there were definately more quality titles on show and announced. I have decided to do a summary of all that was Playstation 2 in the house. Obviously I haven't been able to cover everything over the weekend but I continue the previews for the next couple of weeks as more materials become available. But now onto the highlights, and disappointments, of the show:
If this E3 show was to be known for something in particular it would be the push for online gaming from most console companies. Sony will be the first out of the blocks on August 27th in America with the broadband adapter (to be bundled with Frequency 2) on sale for a very respectable $US39.95 ($AU80). No word on a European/Australian release other then that our adapter will be bundled with a game called Hardware which is a combat game. Other games showing off online abilities include the stunning SOCOM: US Navy Seal's, Madden NFL 2003, Resident Evil Online Twisted Metal Black Online, Final Fantasy XI and Star Wars Galaxies.
There were several disappoinments apparent from the E3 show. The first was the non-appearance of Gran Turismo 3: Concept although the game is out in Japan, and has been for some time, and is due out in PAL territories in a couple of weeks it looks like America is going to miss out. Other notable abscenses from the show include Tekken 4, Soul Calibur 2, Ridge Racer VI, Hidden & Dangerous 2, Duke Nukem Forever and AFL Live 2003 (which will never go to the American market though).
There really are too many games to mention here, but I'll try. By far the standout game, mainly due to the games unknown status prior to the show, was The Getaway. The reviving of old classics were prominent at the show with games such as Defender, Contra: Shattered Soldier, Rygar and Shinobi. Other games that look like winners include Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, Bond 007: Nightfire, Kingdom Hearts and Red Faction 2. The Playstation 2 lineup in the coming year looks awesome and Gamecube and XBox owners may be regretting their choices.
SUNDAY 26TH MAY
Contra: Shattered Soldier was a surprise from Konami at the E3 show, not because it was unexpected, but because of the quality of the title. Konami decided against moving the game to a full 3D environment but rather retained the 2D/3D sections from the Super Nintendo classic. I can't wait for this one to hit the shelves in late 2002. Check out the preview now.
It was one of the highlights of the show for Sony and the SCEE/Team Soho developed game is looking stunning. If there is one game that is going to push the Playstation 2 ahead of the XBox and Gamecube in terms of graphics and exciting gameplay then this is likely to be it. Check out the preview of The Getaway, with latest screenshots, now.
According to Gamespot, who interviewed Noriyoshi Ohba and Takashi Uriu from Overworks, the developers of Shinobi (which I just updated with more details again) they are currently also looking at the possibility of re-developing another of their classic 16-bit series', Streets of Rage. At this stage it is only under consideration and development is a way off, but it's promising. Hopefully the success of Shinobi as the Playstation 2 title will put Sony's system at the top of the list again.
Rage Software had their game Rocky on display at E3. Based on the Sylvester Stallone movies the game features all the boxers from the movies including Rocky (of course), Ivan Drago, Clubber Lang and even Tommy Gun from Rocky V. The game was looking pretty good apprently although it required a little more in the gameplay department and should be released by years end.
Freekstyle is yet another game on display in complete form from Electronic Arts, and it was hot. With similar style and graphics as SSX Tricky this game should be another winner when released next week. Check out the preview now for final details and screens.
Not to be outdone with reliving the classics Tecmo, the developers of Dead or Alive, were showing an early build of Rygar behind closed doors at E3. The game is based on the classic hack n' slash of the 1980's and once again, the game is moving to a full 3D environment. With a release not expected until 2003 there is still a long way to go with this title but it was already impressing many at E3 in its early form. Expect more news in the coming months.
One of Sega's greatest, and most loved, games is getting an update, and it's looking spectacular. Shinobi is coming to the Playstation 2 late this year and is already one of the most impressive games on the system. Check out the preview for the latest screens and information.
I have updated the preview for Square's Kingdom Hearts with new screens which I neglected to update the other day. Enjoy.
THQ have a new fighting game on display called Pride FC. The game is based on a real Japanese fighting league, in much the same style of UFC. Being developed by Anchor Inc, Pride FC is expected to be released in a couple of months time and is shaping up very well indeed.
Shown in almost complete form Acclaim's Turok Evolution was shaping up quite nicely at the E3 show. The game returns the series back to it's actual Dinosaur roots with plenty of foes to contend with. Check out the preview while waiting for the September release of this potential hit.
Midway have confirmed that they are developing a game based on the classic Defender. Defender 2002 has massively updated graphics from the classic game, and the gameplay adjusted to suit todays tastes, including 3D styled action. Cut scenes are littered throughout the game making Defender 2002 one of the hottest updates in years. Expect a late 2002 release.
Although Splinter Cell was confirmed for multiple platforms by UbiSoft at E3, the company has also announced that the game will be an XBox exclusive in 2002. With the game not expected until November/December this means that PS2 gamers will have to wait a couple of extra months for the game.
Vivendi Universal had a surprise at the E3 show which wasn't in any of their press kits. The company had a game based on James Cameron's Dark Angel on display on XBox. The game will also be heading to Playstation 2 and the action beat 'em up will include an all new storyline. No word yet on a release date.
SATURDAY 25TH MAY
It will be the flagship online title in America and SOCOM: US Navy Seals looks like a great squad based action title. With up to 16 players at once through broadband and microphones to communicate with each other this title is looking terrific. Check out the preview with the latest screens and info now.
Although Interplay's financial crisis put Run Like Hell in some doubt as to it ever being completed the company was still showing the game at E3, and announced some big name voice talent. The game will include voice acting from Lance Henriksen (Bishop - the android - from Aliens). Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager) and Clancy Brown (Kurgen from Highlander).
UbiSoft have had many Playstation 2 titles on display and announced at E3. These games include the Genki developed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which many have commented is a good enough game but lacks detail at this early stage, Project BG&E from the development team behind Rayman which is not due until 2003, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc which looks every bit as impressive as the previous games in the series, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell which is a stealth Third Person Shooter, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Raven Shield which is a continuation of their successful series and XIII a cell shaded First Person Shooter. Most of these games aren't due until late 2002 or 2003 so expect more details closer to release. Other games due out in the coming months include The Sum of All Fears (May) based on the movie, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon a port of the PC hit from last year. Disney's Donald Duck who is pk? and Myst III: Exile are also due in the latter half of 2002.
One of the biggest games due out this year is Square/Disney's RPG, Kingdom Hearts. The game has surpassed Square's 500,000 sales projection in Japan with over 750,000 units now sold and still selling very well. The American version is expected to be released by Christmas and Square are going all out to ensure the voice acting in the game is second to none. The company has enlisted Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, A.I.) to voice the lead character, Sora. The other main voice actors include David Gallagher (Seventh Heaven) as Riku, Hayden Panettiere (Ally McBeal, Remember the Titans) as Kairi. Kingdom Hearts will also include the voices of Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Rudy), Lance Bass (from *NSYNC), David Boreanaz (TV's Angel, Valentine), Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember, The Princess Diaries) and Christy Romano (Even Stevens, Kim Possible). In addition, many of the original film star voice actors are reprising their roles for this project.
Midway have confirmed they are working on NBA Jam 2004. The game is expected to hit all next generation consoles with a release date currently set at fall 2003. NBA Jam 2004 will feature 3-on-3, "dunkalicious" arcade basketball action, complete with all 29 official NBA teams, more than 150 superstars, authentic courts and the outrageous dunks and hidden codes that are synonymous with the NBA JAM brand.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from LucasArts at E3 was this game, Star Wars Bounty Hunter. Based on the character Jango Fett the game takes place prior to Attack of the Clones and will detail some of the bounty hunters history. The graphics look stunning, the action intense and the gameplay should rock. Check out the preview with latest screens now.
An interesting story today about the developers of Grand Theft Auto. Initially called DMA Design the company then changed name to Rockstar Studios. News has now come through that the company is now changing their name to Rockstar North. The reason: who knows?
I thought I may as well kick off today with a preview of Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny. The game will be released in America in a couple of months time, and should hit PAL markets (with a 60Hz mode) in late 2002. The sequel to the million selling hit looks even more impressive with more detail, more enemies, and a better storyline through the game. Check out the preview now.
FRIDAY 24TH MAY
It will be released almost a year after the last Bond title from Electronic Arts but Bond 007: Nightfire has actually been in development at Eurocom for almost two years now. With more missions, more detail and better graphics this is going to be one game to keep an eye on, and it has been making quite an impression at the E3 show. Check out the preview now.
Acclaim have confirmed the name of their next extreme BMX game will be Dave Mirra BMX XXX. Sounds like a porno flick a bit but the game is the third in the series so it figures. The game is being developed by Z-Axis should be released early next year.
Speaking of Z-Axis, Activision have just announced that they have bought the company out. Work will continue to the completion of Dave Mirra BMX XXX and Aggressive Inline for Acclaim before the development team works on some games for Activision.
Well, the most exciting games for Playstation 2 owners in Australia was announced today, although it isn't even on show at E3. Acclaim today announced details about AFL Live 2003 which is expected to hit the streets in August/September 2002. This is an excellent looking game based on the 2002 Australian Football League season. Oh, and if you're wondering or concerned that this game isn't on show at E3 it's not because it's not polished, but rather that the game will only be available in Australia, and there was no point in displaying the title in America.
Konami have confirmed they are working on Silent Scope 3 for the Playstation 2. The developers are promising improved sound so you can locate enemies. Sadly it looks as if the game, once again, will not include light gun support. The game will include not only the original arcade game, but also an entirely original PS2 mission. Expect a Q'3 2002 release.
LucasArts have confirmed that they are developing another Full Throttle game on PC, and next generation consoles, which most likely includes Playstation 2.
Rockstar have confirmed that Grand Theft Auto Vice City will be coming to Playstation 2 on October 22 in America, with Australia also pencilled in for late 2002. The game is set in the 1980's and according to Rockstar "the vibe is glamour, power, and corruption". This game will be an exclusive on Playstation 2 under the agreement made between Rockstar and Sony for 3 years of exclusivity for Grand Theft Auto games.
It's one of the most interesting looking racing games in years but Auto Modellista is also one of the most exciting. With cell shaded graphics, but a detailed physics engine there is little doubt that this will be a hit at the end of the year.
There is some mixed news being reported from E3 about Deus Ex 2. Apparently in a press conference the other day Eidos stated that the game would be an XBox console exclusive. However, according to Planet PS2 Eidos have now confirmed through a press release that the game will be coming to the Playstation 2 as well.
Announced just prior to E3 Red Faction 2 is Volition's follow up to last years smash hit. Already the graphics, and in particular the player models, are looking even more detailed. This is one game you will want to keep and eye on in the lead up to the Christmas 2002 release date.
Working Designs have announced several new titles for the American market. The games include Mystical Ninja Goemon, GrowLanser II: The Sense of Justice and Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness. As yet no release dates have been announced and it is unlikely the games will be released in Europe anytime soon given its limited appeal.
The E3 show isn't just about games coming out at Christmas time however, as Electronic Arts are using the show to display a finished version of Medal Of Honor: Frontline which is due out on June 6th around the world. Apprently the game is just as good as preview movies and screens indicate. Check out the preview now for the latest screens and information.
THURSDAY 23RD MAY
Indiana Jones & The Emperors Tomb was one of the games announced prior to E3 by Electronic Arts. If you haven't had a look at the preview for this impressive game then I suggest you do immediately as this game looks superb.
Capcom has announced Marvel Vs Capcom 2 will be heading to Playstation 2. The game was a surprise announcement given it's age in the arcade and on the Dreamcast. With over 50 characters to select from the game is still regarded as one of the best 2D brawlers ever to come out of Capcom. A release date is yet to be announced.
Devil May Cry 2 is yet another game on show at E3, and one that is causing quite a stir. I have completed a preview of the game which can be accessed on the link to the right. Check it out now for the latest screens and info regarding the title.
Studio Liverpool, the development team behind the superb Dropship: United Peace Force which American's are only just seeing for the first time at E3, are also showing a new game called Hardware. This is an online combat game for 16 people which uses military combat vehicles. Hardware has been likened to Twisted Metal: Black and should be released at the same time as online gaming in Europe in late 2002. The game will feature around 8 different vehicle and 20 different levels to combat in.
Although Sony announced at their pre-E3 conference that Soul Calibur 2 will be an exclusive it will not be the case. The game is also expected to hit the XBox and Gamecube, but after an exclusive period of time on Playstation 2. The Playstation 2 game is expected to hit the shelves in early 2003.
LucaArts have announced yet another PS2 game in development. Star Wars: Galaxies is their massive online RPG which is also being developed for XBox and PC. The game allows hundreds of players to interact in an online Star Wars Galaxy. The game is being developed by Sony Online Entertainment who had a recent hit with Everquest. Star Wars: Galaxies is still to receive an official release date but the game has been in development for some time now and may be available by years end if all goes well.
Criterion have officially announced Burnout 2 on the Playstation 2. The game has been in development for some time now. The game includes 32 separate stages spread over 6 different locations, including the Rocky Mountains, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and an international airport. 14 vehicles will be initially available although the game will include 7 hidden vehicles to race as well. The game is expected to hit the shelves in late 2002.
At Sony's pre-E3 show Electronic Arts featured Madden 2003. The most exciting thing is that the game is planned to be playable online, possibly a reason why it hasn't appeared on Australian schedules yet.
Some great news from Capcom. As well as announcing Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny for release in America and Europe Capcom has confirmed that the PAL version of the game will include a 60Hz mode. Capcom have been the worst offenders for not including the full speed, full screen mode, or even optimising the PAL code to run faster however it looks like this may be changing.
Infogrames have announced that Runecraft are currently developing Monopoly Party. Infogrames acquired the rights tot the board game after purchasing Hasbro some time ago. The developers are promising some changes to the gameplay with the game passing on the turn based gameplay so everyone moves at once. The game is currently expected in October 2002.
Some more news related to SOCOM: US Navy Seals. The game will be released to coincide with the Playstation 2 Broadband launch on August 27th. Strangely, although many games will include both broadband and 56k modem support SOCOM: US Navy Seals will only support broadband adapters.
WEDNESDAY 22ND MAY
Perhaps the biggest boost to Sony on the game side of things, at least in terms of combating the competition is the news that Take 2 have announced that Grand Theft Auto will be a Playstation 2 exclusive for at least the next 3 years.
One of the big games announced prior to the E3 is Contra: Shattered Soldier, a return of Konami's most loved 16-bit series. The game is currently due out in November 2002 on Playstation 2 and as with the original games will include both 2D and 3D sections of game.
Capcom have surprised at E3 by announcing Resident Evil Online. The game, which looks similar to the recently releases Gamecube version, albeit with lower detail, will include online gameplay. Although details remain scarce it looks likely that the game will include 4-player support.
Sony Europe have been showing off The Getaway at the E3 show. The game, which was heavily rumoured to be in development hell and possibly canned at Team Soho at SCEE has been shown in fine form at the show.
Silent Hill 3 is yet another game announced by Konami America at the pre-E3 show which will be released sometime in 2003. As yet there are no details about the plot although the lead character will be a female. Konami are promising more surprises and bigger weapons this time round.
Also announced from Konami is Metal Gear: Substance. Basically the game will be made up of VR missions featuring either Solid Snake or Raiden.
Electronic Arts have officially announced one of the worst kept secrets of the last 6 months, that The Sims is coming to Playstation 2. The game will be different to the PC game in that it will be level based and will include a 2-player mode. The Sims should hit retail in Q'3 2002. The PC game has just passed 1.5 million units in sales making it one of the most successful games in history.
Sony Computer Entertainment America have announced Frequency 2 is currently in development. The original game, which will be released in Australian in about a month's time, has sold fairly well in America but this new game expands on the experience by adding online gameplay. Apparently the original game was meant to include online gameplay but that had to be shelved when the broadband adapter was pushed back.
Sierra has confirmed that Tribes: Aerial Assult will be coming to the Playstation 2 very soon as an online title. The game should be release to coincide with the broadband adapter launch in America, or very soon after.
Free Radical Design and Eidos have confirmed that their highly anticipated TimeSplitters 2 will be playable online. This may be the reason for the delay from March to September, as well as the game now being ported to XBox and Gamecube.
Sony America have announced concrete details about their PS2 Broadband Adapter. The unit will be released on August 27th with a RRP of $US39.99 (about $AU80) which is terrific value. The unit will ship with a demo disc and can be connected to any DSL or cable connection through many ISP's including AOL, Earthlink, AT&T SBC, and Sympatico among others.
Well the Playstation 2 will be getting a new piece of hardware by way of a headset and microphone. The unit will be bundled with SOCOM: US Navy Seals. The hardware will bump up the RRP of the game from $US39.95 to $US59.95 but will allow you to talk to other members of your squad while playing the game online. The game will be released to coincide with the Playstation 2 Broadband launch. Strangely although many games will include both cable and 56k modem support SOCOM: US Navy Seals will only support Broadband.
Strangely to date Sony have not announced any details at all about their 40GB HDD unit for the Playstation 2. It is expected the unit will be release in 2003.