N-Gage Looking To The Future2003 has come and gone. PSP is on the horizon, Nintendo's mysterious DS is marching its way into reality for the 2004 holiday season, Tapwave's Zodiac has the power of the Palm OS. Will your trusty N-Gage survive the coming portable console battle? Nokia says it will and how with an amazing 80 releases for 2004 including many exclusives. Can they deliver? With a little research allaboutngage.com has uncovered the whispers of 28 N-Gage titles that might just make Nokia's 80 seem a little more plausible and the N-Gage's stance a lot less shaky. Read the latest inside.
We all know 2003 was not the year Nokia had hoped it would be for N-Gage but they haven't nearly given up and have announced intentions for a new revision of their little handheld to be shown at May's E3 and an impressive 80 games coming for 2004. Will they actually be able to hit the mark and deliver all 80? No one can say at this point but with a little research we have uncovered the rumblings of 28 little releases some of which are more than enough to get some play from an N-Gage. Let's start the fun and so how bright the future really looks.
1. Taito Memories - Originally to be a launch title Taito (http://www.taito.co.jp/mobile/eng/n_gage/top.html) pulled this one back for reasons unknown. Speculation and rumor said it was to add a revamped Bluetooth compatible version of their classic Action RPG Cadash, but I'm sad to report that when questioned by yours truly Taito denied this rumor and went on to say that the game would be released in 2004 and would contain 3 classics, not 4.
2. Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer - Another Gameloft (http://www.gameloft.com/en/N-Gage.php) title announced very early on this game has seen a few push backs on unofficial release lists, but is currently slated for a quarter one release by Nokia. It remains to be seen whether it will unseat FIFA 2004 as the gamer’s choice but when it's released in April we'll be sure to give you our thoughts. Check back for a review then.
3. Sega Rally Championship - One of the most awaited titles in the N-Gage line-up it was announced months ago with a January release date but has now been pushed back to April. Regardless it appears that the Sega classic will still offer N-Gagers their first solid 3D racer after the disappointing show made by THQ Wireless' MotoGP. The official announcement can be read here: http://www.segamobile.com/mobile/help/post_home.jhtml;jsessionid=TE54WKCQ3BLZKCRSBUKDWAAKGIGQUOU1?article=press_020503
4. Ashen - One of the first Nokia sponsored entries this Turos (http://www.torusgames.com/) developed title will be a gothic horror FPS mix with Bluetooth multiplayer and N-Gage exclusivity. Nice screenshots have got the community in a buzz and rumors that we can all expect to be playing Ashen by mid-Summer haven't calmed things down a bit.
5. Operation Shadow - Another big Nokia sponsored title announced in December Operation Shadow promises some solid 3D tactical warfare that would do a Tom Clancy game proud. Also developed by Turos the game is rumored to have some online multiplayer options for the N-Gage Arena and will definitely feature a variety of vehicles that players can use during the course of the game.
6. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm - Announced alongside Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell last year this title has many very excited because of the quiet announcement that it will be a 3D game and will feature multiplayer support for a max of 8 players using Bluetooth. Previous speculation based on Splinter Cell was that this game would arrive in 2D as well, but not to disappoint developer Gameloft has promised graphics comparable to a PS release. Bravo!
7. Worms - Though it's still unclear which version of the classic multiplayer free for all will arrive on the N-Gage, Gamestop (http://forums.3dretreat.com/post.asp?TOPIC_ID=4931&method=TopicQuote) lists it as Worm's World Party in their coming soon area and says to expect it in July. Now for those who have managed to not play this classic it must be said that these are some of the most addictive and fun turn-based multiplayer games ever made and with the multiplayer potential (online?) of the N-Gage this could be a must have.
8. Pathway To Glory - Announced by way of a teaser trailer months ago this is the only other known Nokia made game for 2004 so far and many are saying that it will be the finest game for the system and a definite killer app. No screens or details yet but you too can view the teaser here: http://www.n-gage.com/US/en/games/games.html
9. Requiem of Hell - This Action RPG from newcomer Digital Red (http://www.worldup.com/) promises some solid fun with its isometric Diablo-style gameplay and support for 2 players across a Bluetooth connection. No telling how good it is yet but folks are already queuing up cash in hand to get it. Check out the only screenshots online here: http://media.ngage.ign.com/media/616/616992/imgs_1.html
10. The Sims Bustin' Out - A recent announcement by EA and Nokia this one has scored big with fans and critics alike. With the promise of N-Gage Arena features, exclusive objects, exclusive mini-games, and item trading by Bluetooth this one looks to be a winner. Check out the official announcement here: http://www.n-gage.com/US/en/press/press_news_120104.html
11. Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2004 - Another EA release that has remained under wraps this fairly high profile title which was officially announced in November has yet to be seen. Speculation suggests that it will be shown at this year's E3 alongside a great many of the new N-Gage releases for this year in hopes of stealing the show. Read the announcement here: http://www.n-gage.com/US/en/press/press_news_181103.html
12. WWE - This title was announced along with 6 others in a press release from December last year, but other than it was being developed by THQ Wireless for 2004 little has been said. In the interest of thorough reporting (I WANT TO BUY IT!!!) I surfed around and found a series of WWE mobile titles in development by THQ Wireless for the Java standard called WWE Mobile Madness, WWE Mobile Madness Hardcore, and WWE Mobile Madness Cage. Do these represent what wrestling fans should be expecting from the N-Gage release? Well, careful examination of their past releases and their site reveals that they have developed for Java and reworked for the N-Gage before with MotoGP. It's hard to say whether some of the underpinnings of these games won't be reused in the N-Gage title but the difference between their MotoGPs was extreme so it's a safe assumption that we can expect far better graphics. Either way here's a link to enjoy and start your mind a wandering http://www.thqwireless.com/
13. "First-Person Shooter" - Names don't get simpler than that but don't let the bland name distract you, this is none other than Alien Front Online. While not ready for extensive public display Dreamcast gamers will remember this as a tank-based FPS where players go to war to save their planet from invading aliens. Interested? You should be. It will feature 4 player Bluetooth deathmatches and the option of playing either side of the war. To read what little has been made public about the game check out Lavastorm's site here http://www.lavastorm-engineering.com/entertainment/me_games_ngage.htm
14 & 15. "Classic Card Game" & "Classic Board Game" - While they aren't ready to reveal the details of which games "Classic Card Game" and "Classic Board Game" are, Lavastorm Engineering was willing to confirm that these will be amongst the first games to support the N-Gage Arena's more interesting and as of yet untapped online multiplayer gaming power with the option of both Bluetooth and online multiplayer and in the case of "Classic Card Game" the ability to chat and message from within the game's interface. Both will also feature score comparison online and ranking systems.
16? "Puzzle Game" - The title does little more than wet the appetite but the truth disappoints I'm afraid. "Puzzle Game" is none other than Puyo Pop the already released puzzler from Sega's back archive. Regardless, Lavastorm is turning up the heat in N-Gage gaming and added three confirmed releases to this list.
16! Dawn - Amongst the most mysterious games discovered for this article it sits alone drawing attention in Gamestop's N-Gage "Coming Soon" list. I'm sorry to say I have no more information about this action title as yet, but if you want to stare at it’s May 11th release date take that Gamestop link above in the Worms paragraph and stare to your heart's content.
17. Joe - In late November of 2003 IGN reported that developer Human Soft (http://www.humansoft.com/) was hard at work on an N-Gage title known only as Joe, which would be an action title featuring both hand-to-hand and weapons based fighting. Traveling to their website reveals more. It will have 4-player multiplayer and will be released for both the N-Gage and the PSP. Perhaps this will be the first chance for Nokia and Sony to show what they can do with the same title.
18. Run Away - Anyone who checks with Human Soft's website regularly will have spotted this little oddity which cropped up in the past few weeks as a Series 60/N-Gage/P800 future release. No info yet but bookmark that Human Soft link and be the first to get the scoop.
19. Gekido - Here comes a nifty one from developer/publisher DSI Games (http://www.dsigames.com/) and Italian developers Naps Team (http://www.napsteam.com/). You may not be familiar with them, but their Gekido games have a definite following and word is that they are intending to bring that series to the N-Gage. Will it live up to the series' legacy? Click on this link (http://media.ngage.ign.com/media/606/606225/imgs_1.html) to see some screenshots and see what you think.
20. XIII - Now this one is out of the N-Gage forums and owes the rumor of it's existence to jonm011 who has paid careful attention to Gameloft's site over past months and spotted this anomaly. It looks like another yet to be announced but in development N-Gage game. It's been topping lists all over the place with its other releases and it looks to be coming to the N-Gage from Gameloft.
22. Virtua Cop - Sega's coin-op classic and Saturn mainstay is popping up on coming soon lists around the world for the N-Gage and in all likelihood will stick it's head above water at the E3 this year.
23 & 24 & 25 & 26. Disney Game Pack, Tetris, Xtreme Snowboarding, Metal Slug - These 4 came straight out of an EB Games private catalogue of to-be-released items and are far from official but they do raise a few questions. Will Playmore be bringing its classic SNK franchises to the N-Gage? They could represent a huge chunk of those 80 games. They've already released a few mobile phone KOF titles. Sounds possible. What about Disney? Their Disney Game Pack has been available for mobile phones in the past, are they porting them to the N-Gage? Tetris has graced every other system, why not the N-Gage? What in the name of holy hand grenades is Xtreme Snowboarding? The questions are raised and 2004 will answer. Wait and see.
27. Xyanide - Playlogic's Xbox shooter is set to make an appearance on not only the N-Gage in 2004 but Sony's PSP and Nintendo's GBA as well. Will it show the N-Gage as a strong competitor or a weak port to it system? Keep watching Playlogic's website (http://www.playlogicinternational.com/) and your local store to find out whether this February/March release will score points for Nokia or it's competitors.
28. Crash Nitro Cart - Not much is yet known of this title but n-gagefrance.com is ran a story about Vivendi Universal possibly bringing it to the N-Gage. Only a few days later it popped up for a day or so on the official site then disappeared. Now it's back with pics! Surf over to the or article about it and check out the pics.
So there it is, an afternoon's surfing and a few discreet inquiries turned up an impressive list of some 28 titles for 2004 in only the second month of the year. Perhaps Nokia will be able to deliver on their magical 80. Still hard to say. Keep watching allaboutngage.com and we'll keep you posted.21. Vigilante 8 - jonm011 also mentioned (beyond those mentioned above and below) the rumored Vigilante 8 port, which I'll go ahead and call 21 because it's begun to show up in online price lists around the globe. No screens yet but keep your eyes peeled.
Published by Chris Rydberg at 11:27 UTC, August 12th