X Marks the Spot - A Nintendo and Microsoft console timeline

Donkey Kong Tour
Donkey Kong Tour

Donkey Kong Tour is a 3D-platformer adventure game developed Nintendo EAD Tokyo. Directed by Yoshiaki Koizumi, Tour more or less takes the place of OTL's Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, though unlike the latter game, Tour does not make use of any peripherals. Rareware was originally set to work on Donkey Kong Tour as a direct sequel to 64, but they were too busy with Perfect Dark Crisis, Banjo-Ghoulie, Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection, Donkey Kong Racing, and Project Elements all in various stages of development. Koizumi volunteered to work on it instead, as he had been impressed with Rareware's Donkey Kong games, and wanted to make his own.

The game has four playable characters, those being Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and Funky Kong. Each character comes with their own unique power-up; Donkey Kong has the Banana Boxers, a pair of boxing gloves that allow him to pummel through enemies and barriers, Diddy Kong has his Barrel Jet, returning from 64 and functioning pretty much in the same way as before, Dixie Kong has the Grappling Hairpin, which allows her to use her hair as a means of grappling through treetops and also to throw enemies at each other, and Funky Kong has the Barrel Bazooka, a large firearm that shoots barrel missiles and deals tons of damage.

Donkey Kong Tour's main premise is that King K. Rool has returned yet again, and has decided to forgo kidnapping any Kongs, instead choosing to invade Kong Island and steal DK's banana horde. This time, however, King K. Rool spread the banana horde all over the world, with the Kongs having no way to leave Kong Island. Luckily, Funky Kong has a solution, as he had been working on the Primate Plane, an aircraft designed for long-ranged travel across the world. However, K. Rool minions have taken all of his Funky Fuel - the only substance that can power the Primate Plane and get it running, and to do this, they need to defeat his various minions in order to retrieve the Fuel and let them all the fly to New Croc City, where K. Rool took DK's banana horde.

The worlds in Tour are organized differently from other platformer titles; unlike most of them being arranged by missions and requiring you to search for collectibles, they are larger areas that rely more on puzzle-solving to proceed through the world, making Tour more akin to a Zelda title than to 64 or Banjo-Kazooie. There are eight worlds in total, which are:
  • Kong Island - The starting area, which is a throwback to previous Donkey Kong titles and serves as a tutorial level.
  • Rattlesnake Canyon - A desert area with a wild west-theme that features lots of snakes and vipers as enemies, as well as other reptiles.
  • Stoat Swamp - A swamp area populated with hostile rodent-like enemies, featuring lots of swimming and underwater sections.
  • Scorcher Quarry - A mining outpost located inside of a volcano, with constantly-shifting terrain due to the volcano being active.
  • Dinosaur Glacier - A snow area featuring lots of dinosaur-like enemies, some of whom can be ridden on in order to progress throughout the level
  • Windmill Alpine - A mountain area with lots of windmills, all of which are broken and must be fixed in order to proceed.
  • New Croc City - A city area and King K. Rool's main hideout. It features many Kremling motifs and pastiches of real-world landmark, as well as Kremlings using trucks and tanks to fight the Kongs.
  • Kremling Station - A space station and the final area of the game, where King K. Rool feels to after being defeat in New Croc City, and where he has been hiding DK's banana horde.
Donkey Kong Tour is released on October 17, 2003, to mostly positive reviews. While not considered to be as great as Rareware's titles, and while some critique the more Zelda-esque approach to the level design, it's nonetheless considered to be a worthy entry in the series, and is much more easily accepted among fans of the series than Jungle Beat was IOTL, and it's remembered for being a solid platformer, but nothing too revolutionary. Still, the game becomes a financial success, moving around 4 million copies in its lifespan, and is enough interest in the Donkey Kong games during the Nintendo X's era.

SNK Playmore and Namco announce corporate merge of both companies, due to take place in 2004

"Japanese video game companies SNK Playmore Corporation, best known for Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, King of Fighters, and Metal Slug, and Namco Ltd., best known for Pac-Man, Tekken, Tales, and Soulcalibur, have announced that they have agreed to a corporate merger in order to strengthen both companies' financial standing, as well as their overall standing within the video game market. Namco had been looking for a partner to merge with for some time now, with Enix, Sega, and Bandai all having been involved in talks with Namco. When asked about why SNK Playmore was eventually chosen, Namco stated that both companies' library of titles complemented the other, as SNK Playmore's fighting games were different enough from Tekken and Soulcalibur to not pose a threat to their popularity, while Namco also had titles within the RPG, racing, and flight simulation genres that SNK Playmore lacked, and believed had wider appeal than their titles. The two companies will be rebranded under the label SNK Namco when the merger takes place, which is due to happen in mid-2004."

Tecmo shows off first images of JRPG Galaxy Ark, developed by Camelot Software Planning

"At Nintendo's E3 conference, Tecmo took to the stage to reveal Galaxy Ark, a wholly original JRPG game. Tecmo stated that the JRPG market had been lucrative for years with franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pokemon, Tales, and Suikoden, and that Camelot's experiences with producing the Shining series for Sega in the early 1990s influenced them to collaborate with Camelot in creating a wholly original new JRPG property. The first screenshots were shown off in the October 2003 issue of Nintendo Power, and it seems as if Tecmo and Camelot are going all-in with Galaxy Ark, as the game looks graphically on-par with titles like Final Fantasy X and is confirmed to have performances by professional voice actors such as Rob Paulsen and Simon Templeman. Time will tell if their gamble succeeds, but Galaxy Ark is so far looking very promising, and is currently scheduled for a late-2004 release date, though insiders say that the potential release date of Dragon Quest VIII could cause Tecmo to delay Galaxy Ark if necessary."
 
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!/Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Underground
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is a racing game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo X. Gameplay-wise, it is pretty much the same as OTL's game; players choose two characters to switch between during races, each of which comes with their own special items. However, the game is enhanced ITTL due to the power of the Nintendo X and the higher capacity storage that DVDs possess over minidisks, and the online capabilities of the X allow for a fully-dedicated online mode to be added, butterflying away the need for LAN adapters. Graphically it boasts an edge over the graphics of OTL's game, being closer to Mario Kart Wii's graphics than it is to Double Dash's, and races feature ten different racers instead of the standard eight. The roster of racers, while mostly the same, does not include Paratroopa or Toadette ITTL (Toadette instead debuts in a later Mario title), leaving Toad and Koopa to be the other's partner. There are also six unlockable character ITTL's game rather than four, with two of those being Petey Piranha and King Boo, both of which were in OTL's game. The other four are Toadsworth and Professor E. Gadd making up one pair, and Banjo and Kazooie from the Banjo-Kazooie games making up another pair, which amounts to a grand total of twenty-four characters to choose from.

ITTL's game also features twenty tracks as supposed to only sixteen, consisting of five cups of four tracks. The Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special Cups remain the same as OTL, with the Lightning Cup from Super Circuit being brought back, still placed in-between the Flower and Star Cups. The four tracks in the Lightning Cup are:
  • Banjo's Barnyard - A barnyard/farmland-themed course featuring lots of Banjo-Kazooie motifs, and notably boasting a theme composed by Grant Kirkhope.
  • Koopa Carnival - A carnival track based around Koopa Troopas, having racers drive on sections of rollercoasters and through other carnival attractions.
  • Bob-Omb Factory - A factory course that heavily features Bob-Ombs. It is essentially a harder version of OTL's Toad's Factory from Wii, with Bob-Ombs replacing the Item Boxes and the course itself being more windy and longer.
  • Haunted Woods - The last course of the Lightning Cup, taken directly from Diddy Kong Racing on the N64. It is longer than the version in the latter game, but features pretty much the same layout and motifs.
Double Dash is released on November 7th, 2003 for Japan, and November 14th, 2003 in all other regions. It is positively received critically, and while some fans are divided over the two racers per player mechanic like in OTL, it's still positively received, with the additions of Banjo and Kazooie, as well as Haunted Woods being very positively received by both fans of Mario Kart and of Rareware, and the online mode becomes a big boon for the game. Commercially, the game is an even bigger success, as Double Dash sells four million copies by the end of 2003, mainly due to Nintendo pushing it as their big holiday title, and would go on to sell over 14 million units in lifetime sales, and strengthening the series' position as a moneymaker for Nintendo.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Underground

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Underground is a skateboarding video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It bares many of the same aspects with OTL's game, such as a diverse soundtrack, a heavy emphasis on customization for the player character and their board, and the ability to dismount from skateboards and explore the world on foot. However, the game ITTL receives a heavily-coveted feature not present in OTL's game: online connectivity. The disappointment from fans over Pro Skater 3 not having full online play in wake of the popularity of games like Halo and Battlefield 1942 made Neversoft resolve to add it in Underground. The online mode in question ends up being rather extensive; players can share customizations with each other, while also competing against each other in competitions and challenges.

In terms of skateboarders available, Underground features most of OTL's cast, with include real-life skateboarders such as Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta, Paul Rodriguez, and Mike Vallely, among others, as well as the usual assortment of guest characters, this time featuring the return of Spider-Man from Pro Skater 2 (with Iron Man's inclusion butterflied away), the band Green Day, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, B.J. Blazkowicz from Wolfenstein, specifically using his appearance from Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Anakin Skywalker from Attack of the Clones, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine from the X-Men series, and exclusive to the PlayStation 2 version of the game, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII and Ratchet from the Ratchet & Clank games.

Pro Skater Underground is released on October 24th, 2003 for the PlayStation 2, with the Nintendo X, PC, and Game Boy Advance versions coming out on December 5th, 2003. This is attributed to the fact that Sony payed for exclusivity on Underground, with Cloud and Ratchet's additions likely also meant to boost sales for the PlayStation 2 version. It works, as the PlayStation 2 version sells the most out of any version (a whopping 5 million units compared to the Nintendo X's 800,000 units) and gives people to pick up a PlayStation 2 during the 2003 holiday season.

Nintendo and Level-5's MMORPG Gold Empire to launch in April of 2004, Level-5 parts ways with Enix on Dragon Quest VIII

"Level-5 (creators of Sony's Dark Cloud series) have announced that they have parted ways with Enix on developing the highly-anticipated Dragon Quest VIII, with the intent of prioritizing Gold Empire, their upcoming MMORPG published by Nintendo exclusively for the Nintendo X. When asked about this split, both Level-5 and Enix maintained that it was an amicable one, as Gold Empire was Level-5's first online game and presumably needed all hands on deck. Enix also confirmed that this would not affect their exclusivity agreement with Nintendo, stating that Dragon Quest VIII will launch first on Nintendo platforms, even if the game currently has no scheduled release date. In the meantime, Gold Empire is finally confirmed to be launching in 2004 for the Nintendo X, and will presumably be Nintendo's answer to their rival Sony's Final Fantasy Online, and former rival Sega's Phantasy Star Online."

Eidos Interactive sells off Ion Storm and Deus Ex series to Acclaim, reject buyout offers from Microsoft, Sony, and Vivendi

"Eidos Interactive, in wake of the financial failure of Lionheard Studio's Fable, has been selling off numerous assets, with the latest being Ion Storm and the popular Deus Ex series, which will now be settled under the umbrella of Acclaim Entertainment. Previously it was reported that they have sold off their star studio Crystal Dynamics to Sony Computer Entertainment, along with the Legacy of Kain and Gex intellectual properties. However, it seems that Sony has offered to wholly buy out Eidos, and if reports are to be believed, they weren't the only ones who offered to do so, as tech company and Nintendo partner Microsoft also put out an offer to acquire Eidos, as did Vivendi, the French conglomerate who owns Universal Interactive. However, Eidos rejected all of these offers and still looking for a buyer. Whoever this may be, it's hard to think anyone bigger than Sony or Microsoft in this case."
 
Eidos Interactive sells off Ion Storm and Deus Ex series to Acclaim,
I'm Suprised Acclaim is still alive.... what lucky butterfly they got? and I'm more surprised Eidos is selling themselves piece to piece...is it not more profitable selling everything? they still have Tomb Raider, Kane and Lynch, and Hitman so far.

Nintendo and Level-5's MMORPG Gold Empire to launch in April of 2004, Level-5 parts ways with Enix on Dragon Quest VIII
Well, they still have Artepiazza at the time(their DQ5 remake was technical sound) or could ask their own Nintendo team for help, Brownie Brown and Alphadream would love to work with Dragon Quest. Or they could expand with an internal studio or bring back Chunsoft(doing nothing right now)

Banjo and Kazooie from the Banjo-Kazooie games making up another pair, which amounts to a grand total of twenty-four characters to choose from.
Very nice Suprise those too, a very welcomed one, Good one
 
Kane and Lynch, and Hitman so far
IO Interactive wasn't bought by Eidos until 2004 IOTL, so they don't have much bearing on the state of the company ITTL.
I'm Suprised Acclaim is still alive.... what lucky butterfly they got?
Ion Storm is the butterfly. Acclaim didn't shut down until September 1st, 2004 ITTL, but Ion Storm will be the saving throw for them, though in an unexpected way.
Well, they still have Artepiazza at the time(their DQ5 remake was technical sound) or could ask their own Nintendo team for help, Brownie Brown and Alphadream would love to work with Dragon Quest. Or they could expand with an internal studio or bring back Chunsoft(doing nothing right now)
DQ8 will still proceed (which we'll see soon), but Level-5 is leaving in the middle of production, so the game is gonna be delayed longer than OTL.
Very nice Suprise those too, a very welcomed one, Good one
I always had a feeling that had Rareware not left Nintendo, Banjo and Kazooie would've eventually shown up in something Mario-related, and Double Dash felt like a perfect fit given its emphasis on playing as and switching between two drivers, much like how the Banjo series focused on playing as both Banjo and Kazooie.
 
Ion Storm is the butterfly. Acclaim didn't shut down until September 1st, 2004 ITTL, but Ion Storm will be the saving throw for them, though in an unexpected way.
That is the surprise, they already have massive economical issues(especially in Great Britain where eidos is from too) so where Acclaim got the extra cash to afford it to begin with? if not that would kill Acclaim faster than being their savior.

DQ8 will still proceed (which we'll see soon), but Level-5 is leaving in the middle of production, so the game is gonna be delayed longer than OTL.
I see, and even them Level-5 was the one who was able to salvage it from the development hell it was, again they have a lot of choices to bring more hands to the deck, a delay would help a lot, more consoles in both sides of pacific too.

always had a feeling that had Rareware not left Nintendo, Banjo and Kazooie would've eventually shown up in something Mario-related, and Double Dash felt like a perfect fit given its emphasis on playing as and switching between two drivers, much like how the Banjo series focused on playing as both Banjo and Kazooie.
If Link that feels even more Jarring( Zelda being more traditional fantasy vs the more light/urban fantasy Mario was intended to be) fit naturally in MK8 onward, that bear and bird duo feat more easily.

(a whopping 5 million units compared to the Nintendo X's 800,000 units)
Surprised as Tony Hawk in N64 was a very good seller, seems Nintendo fans just moved of skateboarding them
 
That is the surprise, they already have massive economical issues(especially in Great Britain where eidos is from too) so where Acclaim got the extra cash to afford it to begin with? if not that would kill Acclaim faster than being their savior.
How Acclaim and Ion Storm will turn things around is unexpected, but it'll be revealed soon.
Surprised as Tony Hawk in N64 was a very good seller, seems Nintendo fans just moved of skateboarding them
Double Dash and Underground came out so close to each other that Double Dash kinda just overshadowed Underground. Not only that, but Sony's exclusivity deal and version-exclusive guest characters helped bring over more people to the PlayStation 2 version.
 
Double Dash and Underground came out so close to each other that Double Dash kinda just overshadowed Underground. Not only that, but Sony's exclusivity deal and version-exclusive guest characters helped bring over more people to the PlayStation 2 version.
I would say more being delayed for the X, regardless nice update buddy, waiting to see how Acclaim can reverse their OTL FATE
 
The state of Midway
Midway Games' future uncertain; is the titan of the western arcade scene meeting its end?

"Midway Games is a developer and publisher who really needs no introduction. From the medium-rocking Mortal Kombat series to their 80s hits like Rampage and SpyHunter, and long-running sports franchises such as NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, they have been one of the titans of not just the arcades, but also of western games in general. Most notably as of recent memory, they had been one of Nintendo's closest supporters during the Nintendo 64 era, with their partnership resulting in hits such as the Killer Instinct series (of which Midway distributed in the arcades) and the Cruis'n USA games, as well as standalone hits from other developers like Doom 64 and Wipeout 64.

"However, Midway seems to have hit a downturn in these recent years. Mortal Kombat: Special Forces had its Nintendo 64 port cancelled and was released to universally negative reviews from fans and critics alike, and since the release of the Nintendo X, the company has been seemingly replaced by Microsoft as Nintendo's closest western partner, what with Microsoft releasing hits like Halo, Project Gotham Racing, Battlefield 1942, and Vulcan, as well as being a joint owner of Rareware alongside Nintendo, with Rareware's Killer Instinct series set to return to consoles in just a few short months. Meanwhile, Japanese developer Tecmo has been providing exclusive support with their Tecmo Sports (Tecmo Bowl and Tecmo Golf) label, as well as their Dead or Alive fighting games. And within the arcade, Nintendo's Triforce board, a collaboration between them, Sega, and Capcom, has replaced the need for Midway's assistance in keeping a foothold in the arcade scene.

"To make matters worse for them, Sony doesn't appear to be all too interested in Midway either, as their burgeoning relationship with Electronic Arts is resulting in their sports titles selling more on PlayStation 2 than on any other platform, as well as the surprise hit Def Jam Vendetta, an exclusive fighting game for the PlayStation 2 that puts more of an emphasis on hip-hop and celebrities than on Mortal Kombat's gory fantasy aesthetic. Coupled with Namco's Tekken series also being immensely successful on the PlayStation 2, and that just leaves Midway with one less possible partnership to make.


"Recent reports indicate that for a while, Midway had been searching for companies to acquire them or to merge with, but were met with a lack of interest or were outright dismissed. The two companies who entertained their offers the most were Namco, with whom Midway once had a strong relationship with during the heyday of the arcade scene in the 80s, and UK-based publisher Eidos Interactive, who have been working on their own search for someone to acquire them after the financial failure of Lionhead Studios' and Peter Molyneux's Fable, an RPG considered by many to be disappointing and to have been over-exaggerated by Molyneux in terms of what it featured. The talks with Namco ended after they announced their merger with fellow Japanese publisher SNK Playmore, while Eidos Interactive showed lots of interest, but their financial standings discouraged Midway from continuing talks with them, though the two companies are reportedly keeping in touch with each other. It was said that Midway did show an interest in Eidos' Ion Storm and their Deus Ex series and were very close to acquiring them, but in a move that baffled many, they were instead picked up by former Midway partner Acclaim Entertainment, who had been going through their own financial woes in recent years. According to insider reports, this effectively ended any possibility of Midway approaching Acclaim, likely due to their higher-ups feeling snubbed.

"While Midway is certainly not going bankrupt and is not in as much trouble as Eidos or Acclaim, their lack of activity compared to what they did in the 80s and 90s has been concerning for many who grew up with their titles, though it's not all doom and gloom as it seems; recently, Midway has begun talks with IO Interactive, the developers of the Hitman series, to potentially invest in or acquire them, as IO Interactive has been discouraged by former partner Eidos Interactive's financial standings in wake of Fable's failures, and have been looking for other publishing deals or investors to work with. Midway has also been in regular communications with Titus Interactive, the owner of Interplay Entertainment, who publish and own franchises such as Baldur's Gate, Earthworm Jim, and Fallout, in wake of Titus' acrimonious breakup with Vivendi Universal. Whether these talks will mark a comeback for Midway is anyone's guess, though the company itself has an uphill battle to climb if it wants to rival giants like Electronic Arts and Activision."
 
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Midway Games' future uncertain; is the titan of the western arcade scene meeting its end?
Suprise, when Midway wasn't in the best shape, MK was able to keep them afloat till they just ran out of money in 2009, OTL they got lucky that crossover with DC impressed Warner enough to acquired them when goes under. But seems there will not be the case(Enix, pay attention) but hope they can get that Hitman Money enough to someone else is interested.

Nice update buddy
 
I felt doing something interesting with Midway, though I should mention that I didn't forget about them - I have plans for them later on down the line.
 
Banjo-Ghoulie/Legacy of Kain: Defiance
Banjo-Ghoulie

Banjo-Ghoulie is a horror adventure game developed by Rareware for the Nintendo X. It is the third installment in their popular Banjo-Kazooie series, but instead of being a platformer, it's more akin to a survival horror game, much like 2001's Luigi's Mansion. The main premise of the story is that Mumbo Jumbo goes missing while at a shaman retreat in the Ghoulish Gardens, a castle located in a haunted forest. Banjo and Kazooie head to the castle, but find it completely empty and full of various monsters that serve as a homage to the Hammer horror films of Hollywood's golden age. The two are separated and must traverse through the castle separately, each of them making their own discoveries, fighting monsters by themselves, and rescuing four different shamans each, albeit with none of them being Mumbo Jumbo. Once both campaigns are completed, Banjo and Kazooie are reunited, and from there the game plays like a regular Banjo game. Throughout their campaigns, it was revealed that Gruntilda was trying to regain her body after being left as only a head in Banjo-Tooie, and used the shaman meetup as an opportunity to harness their magic and possess Mumbo Jumbo. The final boss of the game has Banjo and Kazooie fighting Gruntilda in Mumbo Jumbo's body, and the two eventually defeat her and banish her to the underworld. However, if the player goes for 100% completion, then they unlock a new campaign, only this time revolving around Conker. While the gameplay remains mostly the same throughout, the humor is shifted to a more age-appropriate version of the humor featured in Conker's Bad Fur Day, features lots of innuendos, implied violence, and outright refers to the underworld as "hell", all of which was enough to boost the game's rating to E10+.

Banjo-Ghoulie is released for the Nintendo X on October 31st, 2003. It receives mildly positive reviews from critics and more mixed reviews from fans. Some like the experimentation in genre and gameplay, while others are disappointed that it wasn't a more traditional Banjo title, as was implied at the end of Banjo-Tooie. However, nearly everyone agrees that Conker's campaign was the best part of the game, with many people even wishing that they did an M-rated Conker horror parody instead, as it would've made itself much more unique when compared to Luigi's Mansion, the game that many people compared it to, mostly unfavorably. Nevertheless, the game did end up selling around 1.5 million units thanks to Banjo and Kazooie's appearance in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and was satisfactory enough for Nintendo to remain interested in future Banjo projects.

Legacy of Kain: Defiance

Legacy of Kain: Defiance is an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics for the PlayStation 2 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The first title released by Crystal Dynamics after being acquired by Sony, the game is released as a PlayStation exclusive as a result. As such, while the game remains pretty much the same ITTL, it ends up receiving more advertising courtesy of Sony, who were looking to market the game as a must-have for the holiday season, to the point of even releasing some bundles of the game with PlayStation 2 consoles, and even featuring a demo for the upcoming Twisted Metal: World Tour in standalone copies of the game. In terms of actual gameplay changes, the game is essentially identical to OTL's version, both in terms of story and gameplay, though the camera controls are a bit more touched up than OTL's version.

Defiance is released on November 25th worldwide, with the PS2 bundle being advertised as Sony's big "Black Friday" product in the United States. So while the game receives essentially the same critical reception as it did IOTL (positively received for its narrative, though criticized a bit for repetitive hack and slash gameplay), it ends up becoming a far greater commercial success due to Sony's advertising. Defiance sells around 3.6 million copies in total, and introduces plenty of newcomers to the series, causing them to go back and play Blood Omen, Soul Reaver, and Soul Reaver 2. The cinematics and the series' narrative help elevate the public status of the series towards a far higher position than in OTL. As a result, ends up having much of the same impact as games like the Uncharted series did IOTL, but several years earlier, raising the bar for story and narrative in games, and becoming something that the game industry could more commonly point to as what story and narrative in games could be like. For all of this, the series is saved from OTL's cancellation, and becomes a core IP for Sony and Crystal Dynamics going forward.

Twisted Metal: World Tour set for release in May of 2004

"Many people bought Legacy of Kain: Defiance for the Twisted Metal: World Tour demo, and while many of them ended up staying for Defiance's gripping narrative and entrancing story, World Tour hasn't been forgotten about at all, as the end of the demo states that the game is targeting a release date of May 21, 2004, setting it for release just as the summer begins. World Tour will be the first in its series to feature a fully-dedicated online mode, with players from around the world being able to race and fight each other with various vehicles. The demo alone surpassed 2001's Twisted Metal Black in terms of roster, featuring twelve drivers and vehicles in total, including all of the drivers from Black, as well as two brand-new additions: 'Jubilee'. a British secret agent working for Interpol and driver of Silent Night, and Nikolai Ryzanov, an insane Russian soldier who drives a T-90 tank named Red Terror, and who seems to be advertised as Sweet Tooth's main rival in this game. The PlayStation 2 has been losing some ground to the Nintendo X in the past year or so, but Twisted Metal: World Tour seems to be poised to help regain a good amount of that ground, due to Nintendo and Microsoft lacking anything like it."

Interplay sells Fallout series to Midway

"Previously it was reported on that Midway Games and Interplay Entertainment were in regular communications with each other, with most people speculating about an acquisition of sorts to come. As revealed today, these assumptions were proven correct, as Midway Games announced today that they have acquired the Fallout IP from Interplay Entertainment, giving them control over distribution for the first two games in the series, and ownership of the whole license. It is rumored that Midway had beaten out ZeniMax Media (owners of Bethesda and the Elder Scrolls series) for ownership of the Fallout license, and that this was mainly due to Midway's desire to diversify their library beyond Mortal Kombat, as they have fallen out of the public spotlight in recent years after being a juggernaut in the arcades for most of the 80s and the 90s. Fallout marks Midway's change in direction towards appealing to console owners, as the Nintendo X and the PlayStation 2 sell more and more each year, and with previous arcade titans like Capcom, Namco, and Tecmo going all-in on consoles. Whether a potential Fallout 3 is scheduled to happen is anyone's guess, but signs heavily point to "yes", especially as the Grand Theft Auto series proves that an isometric series can transition seamlessly to 3D, and the potential of a similar transition happening with Fallout could spell an incredibly bright future for it and Midway."
 
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Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection/Ninja Gaiden
Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection

Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection is a compilation rerelease of the fighting game series by Rareware for the Nintendo X, done in honor of its ten-year anniversary. An arcade version is also released, running on the Triforce arcade board used for games like F-Zero AX and the upcoming Wave Race and Excitebike games, and launches on the same day as the console port. The console port contains Killer Instinct's arcade and SNES versions, Killer Instinct 2, and Killer Instinct Gold, the N64 port of 2. All have been upscaled from a visual standpoint, with higher resolutions and polished textures. Gameplay-wise, the game features an online mode based off of the SNES version of Killer Instinct, which is probably the most touted feature within the game. Interestingly enough, the arcade versions also feature online play and cross-connectivity with consoles, as Rareware worried that since it had been eight years since Gold's initial release, not enough people would buy the game at home to keep the online mode active, so they worked on implementing online play cross-connectivity in the arcade versions as well.

Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection is released on January 9th, 2004. It receives positive reviews from fans and critics, many of whom welcome the series' return after so long. Commercially, the collection sells over a million copies within its first year, and eventually reaches two million units in terms of overall lifespan sales. Notably, the collection becomes a hit in Japan due to the arcade version, a region that had otherwise steered clear of "violent" fighting games like Mortal Kombat, and the game's online scene remains active for a long time, although Rare eventually comes to the conclusion that adding in online to the arcade versions was too excessive, as data showed that rarely anyone actually used it. Nintendo notices the collection's success, and gave official approval to Rareware to proceed with a long-await third game in the series. However, that third game wouldn't be revealed to the public just yet, as the technology it would be running on wasn't going to be revealed for a while...

Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden is a hack and slash game developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo for the Nintendo X. Like with OTL's game, it took inspiration from Devil May Cry in terms of combat, albeit retaining the difficulty of the NES trilogy, thus surprising fans introduced to the hack and slash genre through Devil May Cry by just how brutal the game was compared to Devil May Cry or the Dynasty Warriors games. Gameplay-wise, Ryu retains the same combat system and weapons as OTL's game, but a second playable character is also introduced: Hayate, his childhood best friend and brother to Kasumi from the Dead or Alive games. Hayate fights mainly with his fists, utilizing kicks and punches to his advantage and playing much like a fighting game character in a hack and slash environment. Another big change comes with the story; the game is set after the events of Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, but before Dead or Alive, and follows Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate as they fight the Mugen Tenshin, who have stolen the six dragon stones from their village and childhood home. Eventually, the two of them fight Raidou, who sends Hayate into a coma and nearly defeats Ryu, who is able to drive off Raidou after Ayane appears to assist him. The game ends with Ryu watching Kasumi leave the village in search of Raidou, and vows to watch over her in Hayate's stead.

Ninja Gaiden is released on February 6th, 2004, to about the same favorable reception as OTL's game, though with slightly more positive reviews due to having two playable characters instead of only one. It comes with the NES trilogy as hidden unlockables that the player can receive after beating the game on the highest difficulty, though this fact remains unknown for months, due to how difficult the game was already. Because of the Nintendo X being more popular in Japan than the Xbox was, and because of Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden sharing a platform, Ninja Gaiden becomes a success across the globe, selling three million units in lifetime sales thanks to sales from the Japanese audience and Devil May Cry fans who had otherwise been disappointed by the previous year's Devil May Cry 2, with Dante and Ryu becoming bigger rivals ITTL (Ryu and Ninja Gaiden more or less take Kratos and God of War's places here), and the two of them becoming highly requested for the Super Smash Bros series from fans of both, in hopes to see them duke it out.

Excitebike
to release in May of 2004, Wave Race Typhoon scheduled for latter half of the year

"In what was likely a reaction to Sony revealing Twisted Metal: World Tour's release date, Nintendo announced that their highly-anticipated Excitebike reboot for the Nintendo X, developed by Project Gotham Racing developers Bizarre Creations, will be seeing its release in the same month as World Tour. The arcade versions of Excitebike and Wave Race Typhoon have already been released in Japan alongside Killer Instinct: 10th Anniversary Collection, but it seems like World Tour has been more present on Nintendo's radar than we thought. While Mario Kart: Double Dash has been a substantial success for them, it is still a racing game first and foremost, and the car combat genre is still one that continues to elude Nintendo to this day. Excitebike may not be a car combat game, but it seems as if Nintendo is oddly confident that it'll be enough to measure to one of the highest-anticipated PlayStation 2 releases of this year."

Eidos Interactive in final negotiations to be acquired by Apple; Sega also in negotiations to sell off Visual Concepts and the 2K brand to technology titan

"Probably the biggest and most unexpected news of the week, British publisher Eidos Interactive is allegedly in the final stages of selling itself to Apple Inc., according to an insider who works at the latter company. The developer best known for the iconic Tomb Raider series has seemingly found itself a home with Cupertino, California's most famous technology company, though neither have commented officially on the matter. Additionally, the same source also alleges that it will be acquiring Visual Concepts and the 2K brand from Sega, possibly beating out Take Two Interactive for the rights and ownership of the developer and series, which has long been a rival against EA's sports games. What this news means is unknown at the moment, but the likeliest theory is that Apple is preparing to announce some gaming-based hardware of their own, possible at the upcoming GDC 2004 exhibition. If this ends up being a console, then it'll be the first major challenger in the market in over a decade, ever since Sony joined the fray against Nintendo and Sega with the original PlayStation in 1994 (in Japan, with the rest of the world receiving it in 1995)."
 
Eternal Darkness/Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Eternal Darkness

Eternal Darkness is a survival horror video game developed by Silicon Knights and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo X. It was notably in development for five years ITTL, as the Nintendo X being more powerful than OTL's GameCube influenced Silicon Knights (or more specifically, Denis Dyack) to rebuild the game from the ground-up graphically in order to take advantage of the console's power, rather than just porting the original Nintendo 64 version to the GameCube. Eternal Darkness retains the same general plot and developments of OTL's game, and also retains the Sanity Effects that made OTL's game so memorable. The enhanced graphical prowess of the Nintendo X ITTL also enhances the game's atmosphere, and allows for it to feel ever scarier than OTL's version. On a visual level, it is comparable to the remake of Resident Evil, and at the time of release, is considered to be the best-looking horror game yet, something which the marketing made sure to emphasize.

Eternal Darkness was released on February 27th, 2004 to rave critical reviews, mostly falling in line with the reviews for OTL's game. They mainly take note of the sanity effects, which distinguished it from Resident Evil and Silent Hill, while also praising the more Lovecraftian themes and influence, in comparison to Resident Evil's B-movie inspirations or Silent Hill's Stephen King influences. Commercially, it's much more successful than OTL's game, selling around 1.3 million copies in terms of lifetime sales. While not a juggernaut like Resident Evil, it nonetheless sells well enough for Nintendo to position the IP as one of their key "mature" franchises, alongside Killer Instinct and Perfect Dark. However, before working on a sequel, Denis Dyack wanted to divert his attention to another project that had been in development for years, long before Eternal Darkness or The Twin Snakes...

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a stealth-action game developed in conjunction by Konami Computer Entertainment and Silicon Knights, with both Hideo Kojima and Shigeru Miyamoto overseeing the project's development. Like with Eternal Darkness, Twin Snakes remains largely faithful to OTL's game, being a remake of the PlayStation killer app Metal Gear Solid. The news that it was a Nintendo X exclusive, however, was a surprise to many, as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had launched exclusively on the PlayStation 2. To mitigate this and to better prepare for the Twin Snakes, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was released on the Nintendo X in 2002, introducing many Nintendo fans to the series, albeit alienating some as well due to the nature of Metal Gear Solid 2's complex plot. Graphically, Twin Snakes is more polished and enhanced over OTL's version as a result of the Nintendo X's power, something which becomes a sticking point for console warriors, with many Nintendo X fans taking the opportunity to gleefully rub in the PlayStation 2's supposedly inferior graphics. Aside from that, the game is mostly the same gameplay-wise, though the Psycho Mantis portion now has him mentioning either Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive 3, Halo, Battlefield 1942, Vulcan, and Eternal Darkness. However, if the player has a save file of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, then Psycho Mantis will begin making references to the events of that game, including imitating Raiden's voice, taking off his gas mask to show a skull similar to that of the Patriot AI's skull, and causing a "Fission Mailed" fake-out.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is released on March 16th, 2004 worldwide. It receives positive reviews for its graphical updates, although like with OTL, some consider the gameplay changes to be unnecessary, and the rerecorded voice acting to be inferior to the original. Nonetheless, it sells 2 million copies in its launch month, which is enough for Konami and Hideo Kojima to decide that future games in the series will be released simultaneously on Nintendo and PlayStation platforms, starting with the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. However, this news wouldn't be announced for a few more months...

Nintendo and Sony both rumored to present new handheld consoles at GDC 2004, with full showcases planned later for E3 2004

"Nintendo has long been the market leader for handheld game consoles, ever since the original Game Boy was released in 1989. And according to insider reports, its next console features a hook that would likely entice people to continue buying their handhelds, which the usage of two screens. Insiders say that the platform uses 3D-modeling technology comparable to the Nintendo 64, and resembles the Vertical Multi Screen line of Game & Watch devices released by Nintendo in the 80s, which would certainly help distinguish it from the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. However, for the first time since the WonderSwan, Nintendo may see some serious competition from its rival and former partner-to-be, Sony. The Japanese conglomerate, which has been enjoying seeing the PS2 at 55 million units sold at the time of writing (and ahead of the Nintendo X's 42 million units), has been making its own plans to announce a handheld device, which would presumably lend itself to portable experiences for franchises like Final Fantasy, Legacy of Kain, Twisted Metal, and Ratchet & Clank, as well as third-party franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Def Jam, and Tekken. Nintendo may be making the case for people to continue buying their console, but it seems as if Sony is ready to present some long-needed competition in this so far unshakeable area for them."

Apple press conference scheduled for GDC 2004

"In wake of the rumors that Apple is in talks to acquire Eidos Interactive and Visual Concepts, it seemed as if the company has made its response. Apple is scheduled to present for the first time at the Game Developer's Conference of 2004. The most popular rumors, aside from the acquisition announcements, are that Apple is gearing up to announce some sort of game console or gaming-related hardware, likely to compete with Nintendo and Sony. The market has been left alone to the two Japanese juggernauts ever since Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in 2001, and it has been almost ten years since Sony joined, marking the last time a major company broke into the console market. But would Tomb Raider and NBA 2K be enough to sell people on a brand new device from a company with little to no experience in video games beforehand? The answer is seemingly set to be revealed at GDC."
 
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Apple press conference scheduled for GDC 2004
At least seems apple is try to do his homework like microsoft otl if truly want to enter gaming market but still is something very bold, specially as is pre IPhone and after Pippin disaster, again you need nothing to launch a console, you need a lot to that one to stay


that more OTL's
Made? Still nice the game is done after everything, wonder if they reinserted the crusader chapter back or decided better stick OTL changes.


Nintendo and Sony both rumored to present new handheld consoles at GDC 2004,
DS and PSP, well nice.
 
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