News, rumors and other information (originally posted 09/27/95)
News That Makes You Go Hmmm...
Before you read the following article, we must note that we have talked with Sony today (9/27) about a rumored policy of no RPG releases approved for the US market. Sony has stated that not only are they unaware of any policy of this nature, but that there are indeed RPGs planned for release in the US.
In a recent conversation with sources at Working Designs (on 9/26), we learned that they have absolutely no plans to release any titles for the PlayStation anytime soon. This is the result of a Sony corporate policy blocking all RPG releases for the US PlayStation. Working Designs has stated though, if Sony ever changes this policy, that they would be more than happy to begin development for the platform. Hmmm... what's going on here?
...Other Working Designs News
On a good note for Saturn owners though, it was learned that Working Designs has plans for approximately eight releases between this December and the end of next year. Six of those should be out before next Fall (1996), and plans are to have the first out for Christmas, 1995. While reluctant to name any specific titles at this time, sources indicated that this first Saturn title would be a conversion of an RPG that was originally released in the US. Also this title apparently has passed through the hands of a number of companies since its initial release. We look to have more news on this shortly.
In The Egg Department
Nintendo will begin constructing a ten foot tall dinosaur egg on October 2nd, in the parking lot of the Toys 'R' Us in Culver City, CA. On October 4th, Mario and Yoshi will ascend to the top of this egg to begin assistance in the hatching process. Along the way, they will be joined by a number of celebrities (yet to be named) who will be donating their time for charity. In fact, plans are to always have someone on top of the egg from the 4th, all the way until 2:30pm (PST) on the 5th, when children from area schools will get to help the egg hatch by tapping on the shell with tiny mallets. What's inside you ask? Well, it will be an oversized box of Super Mario World 2 as well as loads of confetti. Nintendo is doing this to launch their new title which should be available in stores late next week.
Big Money! Big Prizes!
Sega announced recently that the new Blue Sky title VectorMan (slated for a 9/24/95 release date) will be the first in a series of "Play to Win" videogames. Randomly selected cartridges will be seeded with the potential to win one of a number of prizes, ranging from a Grand Prize of 25,000 dollars, ten First Prizes of 10,000 dollars, or 90 Second Prizes of a Sega Saturn console. If you want more news on this story, you can read Sega's press release about it. Also be sure to check out the upcoming, Game Zero, feature article on the game.
* * * (originally posted 09/26/95)
Sega Doing M2 Again...
...Well, maybe not. According to a Nikkei New Media report on September 25, 1995, that's titled (paraphrased) "Sega adopts 3DO's M2 compatible architecture for 64-bit game-machine, the next generation of
Sega Saturn", Sho-ichirou IRUMA(sp?), a vice-president of SEGA of Japan, is involved in negotiations with 3DO. So far the agreement is that Sega will adopt the M2 for a 64-bit Saturn release/upgrade which will also be backwards compatible with the current 32-bit Saturn platform. Supposedly, Sega will formally announce this information to developers at the end of October, 1995.
On the other side of things, we have talked with representatives of Sega of American and asked them if there is any truth behind this news. The initial answer was no, but we were also told that they would contact their offices in Japan and follow up on this. We expect to have a final word on this shortly, so watch this spot for further information (thanks to Masatoshi Yanase for his initial help on this story).
Hey! Did You See That?
In the new movie Hackers, gamers might notice a familiar PlayStation title featured prominently in the cyberpunk bar where all of the movie characters hang out. Yes, you guessed right, that's WipeOut... The sequence which was originally completed some time ago -- based on preliminary design work for the title -- by developers, Jim Bowers and Lee Carus Wescott of Psygnosis who worked on the actual game.
Mortal Kombat Live
In case you didn't know, Mortal Kombat - The Live Tour kicked off its debut show on September 14, 1995, and will be showing in more than 200 cities across the country. The live show will feature the storylines and characters of the arcade title, as well as actors from the game itself. As well, MK3 codes are to be given out to the crowd during each performance. Contact your local ticket agencies for information on a showing near you.
* * * (originally posted 09/19/95)
Dammit Jim, I'm A Doctor, Not An Engineer
So, are large numbers of PlayStations broken, or what? Well, we called Sony, and so far the answer is no. Sony is currently blaming gamer woes on the TVs, specifically late model televisions and certain Zenith models. They didn't have a definite answer as to how to solve the problem, but assured us that technicians are working on a fix which can be offered to PlayStation owners in this situation. Of course, this seems to take care of the problems people have been having with the general output from the console, but reports we've heard indicate that their may be more problems than this in early shipments of machines. Of course we will continue to look into this, so watch for more information here soon.
Hudson Sells Projects To Nintendo
In an surprise move, Nintendo bought out the rights to the two Virtual Boy titles being developed by Hudson Soft recently. Sources at either company were unable to disclose the reasons behind the action, but both games Vertical Force and Panic Bomber VB are still planned for release by the end of 1995. Sources within Hudson believe there are still plans to support this platform, but there is currently no information regarding any future titles available.
...And In Other VB News
The current line up of Virtual Boy titles for the remainder of this year looks to be as such: VR Golf and Wario Cruise from Nintendo, FaceBall and V1 Tetris from Bullet Proof, Jack Brothers from Atlus, Virtual League Baseball from Kemco, and Waterworld from Ocean. As well as the former Hudson games Vertical Force and Panic Bomber VB. A slow but interesting start. Needless to say, Nintendo of America has indicated to us that several teams are working on additional titles in Japan.
Game Zero On XBAND
Starting Saturday, September 23rd, 1995, Game Zero will be coming to XBAND subscribers weekly via the on-line daily newsletter "Bandwidth". Each week we will be selecting a hot news item, and or game code(s) for XBAND members to read about.
Can They Be Sold Out Already?
Actually, if you're looking for Discworld and Novastorm from Psygnosis, the answer is no. Apparently, even though stores (such as Toys 'R' Us) already have displays showing the game is available, word from Psygnosis is that due to some small delays, shipments of these titles aren't going out till probably this week. This will in turn, most likely delay the release of WipeOut and Destruction Derby by one to two weeks as well.
Where's My Rentals!
Many of you have been diligently making regular runs to your local Blockbuster video stores to see when they will be getting in Saturn and PlayStation software for rental, only to see nothing at the stores. Well, word from Blockbuster is that stores are receiving hardware and software based on region and market. Some stores may not see anything for another two to three weeks yet. So, we recommend that if you must know, just kindly ask the store manager when they expect to get their shipment. They will usually have a general idea of when things are coming in and will be glad to tell you.
VFR In The Great White North
Well, Sega of Canada has listened to consumers and taken action. Saturn owners in Canada just need to call 1-800-808-SEGA in Canada (NOT 1-800-SEE-SATURN) or mail in their Canadian registration card to get Virtua Fighter Remix free in the mail. This offer is available while supplies last, so we recommend owners call them ASAP. If for some reason your machine was purchased in the US, do not register with the US registration card or call the US line because your information will not be processed. Remember, call the above Canadian 1-800 number and they'll assist you in your registration. If you want more news on this story, you can read Sega of Canada's press release about it.
The PlayStation Hits US Stores
Sony of America announced on September 12th that US sell-through to consumers of the PlayStation reached well over the 100,000 mark for the weekend of September 9th. This means that currently the PlayStation has as many units in customer's hands as does Sega with its Saturn (which has been available in the US since May, 1995). While this bodes well for Sony, it is a matter for serious concern for other hardware manufactures -- especially those who have yet to release their next generation hardware into the market. So, only time (and sales) will tell, as we gear up for the Christmas buying season... and one thing is for sure, competition is going to be fierce. If you want more news on this story, you can read Sony's press release about it.
* * * (originally posted 09/02/95)
A Saturn Load of Software
Well, if you thought you heard it wrong, think again. Yes, Sega is offering a Point of Purchase promotion where customers who buy a Saturn (with Virtua Fighter pack-in) any time between September 2nd, and September 30th, will get Clockwork Knight and Worldwide Soccer right then and there from the store. Plus, register your Saturn by September 30th, and you will also receive Virtua Fighter Remix as well as a music compilation CD and Panzer Dragoon demo CD. Read into this news what you will, but in any event, this Christmas is already starting to shape up for a major console battle. If you want more news on this story, you can read Sega's press release about it.
Killer Game Demand
Over the last couple of days, a rumor has flared up on several newsgroups to the effect that the game Killer Instinct has been delayed for general release due to a bug in the game. Well, this is not true. Nintendo apparently way under-predicted US demand for this title to the point where initial shipments may just be able to cover pre-orders from stores. More copies are being sent out, and our source indicates that aproximately 300,000 additional copies will hit the states in about 2 weeks to help satisfy demand. The next full manufacturing run should hit US shelves around 9/18. Also, FYI: For those of you lucky enough to get your hands on one of the first two-million copies of KI, the Killer Kuts CD will come free inside the box, after that, well... we haven't heard any plans for this CD to be sold seperately at this time.