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Gaming News Round-Up: October 5th, 2004

Today's update includes a decrease in Odd-ness, an increase in fighting your television, Microsoft's advice for frustrated Japanese Xbox consumers, and a truly ina...
Today's update includes a decrease in Odd-ness, an increase in fighting your television, Microsoft's advice for frustrated Japanese Xbox consumers, and a truly inadvisable theme for a videogame. - Electronic Arts has confirmed that the PlayStation 2 SKU of Oddworld Inhabitants' forthcoming action adventure title Stranger has been cancelled, apparently because the former Xbox-exclusive title was too far into development to be converted to Sony's console in a timely manner. Oddworld's Lorne Lanning explained, in an interview with consumer site TeamXbox: "When we signed on with EA they were confident that they could, with the help of some other developers, convert Stranger to the PS2... In the end, they found it would take longer and cost more than they had anticipated, and as the Xbox version is nearly complete, they decided that a delayed release for the PS2 did not make sense." In related news, the developer has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, since Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna formed Oddworld Inhabitants on September 17th, 1994. Stranger is now due to debut in Spring 2005, once again exclusively for Xbox. - In2Games has announced that its PlayStation 2 beat-em-up hardware/software bundle, Gametrak: Dark Wind, has reached gold master, and will be released in Europe on October 22nd. The first-person title, which will retail for 69.99UKP ($124), is notable because it includes the Gametrak 3D motion control system hardware. This hardware is described, via the company's official site, as a "3D controller system for videogame systems which tracks exact position in 3D space to an accuracy of 1 millimetre, anywhere within a 3m cube around the unit." The device's FAQ, obliquely describing the Gametrak's patented hardware workings, also notes defensively that "a camera is.. a very processor-heavy technology", apparently referencing Sony's EyeToy USB camera hardware, which is straying into a similar motion-sensing role, particularly with Harmonix's forthcoming EyeToy: AntiGrav. Device creator In2Games was founded by the original creators of the Gamester peripheral brand, and intends to launch further Gametrak-exclusive titles next year, including Gametrak: Real World Golf and Gametrak: Sports Party, as well as planning to launch the Gametrak range in the U.S. and Japan in 2005. - In an interview with Nikkei Business Express, Microsoft's Peter Moore has re-iterated the company's wish to appeal to the Japanese consumer with the next version of the Xbox. He indicated to the Japanese news source that the Xbox Next hardware would be physically much smaller and more compact, more software would be tailored to Japanese tastes, and also re-stated Microsoft's mantra that one hardware generation is not enough to decide the ultimate hardware battle. Coupled with the recent, generous Xbox hardware bundle for Japan, this again shows Microsoft's continuation of the PR battle to build a following, however hardcore, for Xbox hardware in Japan before a new iteration debuts. - Hamburg, Germany-based developer Replay Studios has announced the console and PC title Survivor, described by the company as "a 3rd-person Disaster Survival Game." The company's press release goes on to explain: "Survivor offers GTA-like player freedom game play mechanics that forces the player to participate in the most dramatic and well-known disaster scenarios: sinking of the Titanic, Hurricane Andrew, 9/11, Hiroshima and the giant earthquake in Mexico in 1985." Founded in 2002, Replay Studios has previously worked on the tactical shooter Sabotage 1943, and, in conjunction with Moonbyte Studios, the stunt racing game Crashday, but this new venture, currently without an announced publisher, is already being savaged by areas of the consumer press who are unhappy with its use of recent tragic events for entertainment purposes.

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