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Gaming News Round-Up: November 11th, 2004

Today's round-up includes a changing of the guard for Anarchy Online, a little PSP support from Codemasters, and a new strategy RPG from cult Japanese developers N...
Today's round-up includes a changing of the guard for Anarchy Online, a little PSP support from Codemasters, and a new strategy RPG from cult Japanese developers Nippon Ichi. - Anarchy Online developer Funcom has announced that it has appointed Morten Byom as new Game Director for the long-running PC MMORPG. The news comes alongside word that Marius Enge, the former Game Director for Anarchy Online, has taken the position of Senior Designer for a MMO title with another company, and Notum Wars expansion pack programmer Enno Rehling has been drafted directly onto Anarchy Online. Morten Byom was previously the Lead World Designer for the AO expansion world of Shadowlands. The Norwegian-developed game originally launched somewhat disastrously in mid-2001, but has since stabilized and debuted several better-received expansion packs, including the aforementioned Shadowlands and Alien Invasion. Recent, unconfirmed reports from MMO analyst Bruce Sterling Woodcock have the title hovering at around 50,000 monthly subscribers. - Confirming support for Sony's forthcoming handheld, UK-headquartered publisher Codemasters has revealed plans to release versions of Colin McRae Rally 2005 and TOCA Race Driver 2 for the PlayStation Portable. Building on the previously released console and PC versions, Colin McRae Rally 2005 for the PSP is in development at PC SKU creators Six By Nine, whereas TOCA Race Driver 2 is being developed by Sumo Digital, the company behind the Xbox port of Outrun 2, and is confirmed to include WiFi-enabled LAN play for up to 8 players. Colin McRae Rally 2005 and TOCA Race Driver 2 for PSP will ship during Spring 2005. Although Codemasters products are particularly popular in Europe, the company is continuing plans to expand aggressively in the U.S. market, and it seems likely that the firm's U.S. division will also publish the titles in North America. - The latest issue of Japanese weekly magazine Famitsu reveals the previously unannounced Nippon Ichi-developed PlayStation 2 SRPG, Phantom Kingdom. The game, due for a 2005 release, is a follow-up to the cult strategy RPG Phantom Brave, which recently received a U.S. release via Nippon Ichi's American division, NIS America Inc. Phantom Kingdom features a randomly generated world space and turn-based battle sequences, reworking battle elements from Phantom Brave and adding influences from Disgaea along the way. Previous titles from the cult developer have also been released in the U.S. via companies such as Mastiff and Atlus, with Disgaea a particular 'sleeper' mini-hit for the more 'hardcore' segment of the American market.

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