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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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MidWay Announces 'NHL Hits Pro' & 'NFL Blitz Pro'

by Rainier on April 8, 2003 @ 7:00 p.m. PDT

Midway Sports announced that it has refocused its league-licensed sports products to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. NHL Hitz Pro, the re-invented version of the NHL Hitz franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PS2, the Xbox, NGC & GBA. Midway Sports also announced that it has refocused its league-licensed sports brands to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. NFL Blitz Pro, the reinvented iteration of the popular NFL Blitz videogame franchise, is scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation2, the Xbox & NGC. Read more for details ...

NHL® Hitz Pro

Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway Sports answered the call by taking NHL Hitz in a new direction.

Officially licensed by the NHL® and the NHLPA and featuring real NHL® teams and athletes, NHL® Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports "edge," but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL® features such as 5-on-5 gameplay (including goalies), league penalties and violations, and for the first time ever, live online gameplay.

"NHL® Hitz Pro combines the best of both worlds, delivering a combination of Hitz signature extreme-style hockey gameplay but with added realism hockey fans will respect," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

The head-to-head online play in NHL® Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL® Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL® legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL® team.

NHL® Hitz Pro includes an improved AI that is so authentic gamers will think they are playing with the NHL® pros. Goalie animations, logic and behavior are realistically captured and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHL® action with a new Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks.

Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of the team; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers' hockey skills; and a Multi-player Tournament Mode allows gamers to set up tournaments with up to 16 teams.

In addition, Midway has signed an exclusive deal with Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings®. Lidstrom appears on the packaging and cover art for the game and also brings his big hits to NHL® Hitz Pro's DVD section. Viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL®, Lidstrom is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team.

NHL® Hitz Pro Key Features:

  • New Online Play - Head-to-head gameplay, online player rankings and tournaments.
  • New 5-on-5 Gameplay - Just the way hockey is played in the NHL®, 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position.
  • Full NHL® Penalties and Violations - From offsides and two-line passing to holding and cross- checking, all NHL® penalties will be enforced in NHL® Hitz Pro.
  • 23-Man Player Rosters -100% legitimate NHL® rosters. All players are available and all authentic team lines are ready to score on goal.
  • Real Stadiums -NHL® arenas are accurately diagrammed in NHL® Hitz Pro.
  • Real Offensive and Defensive Team Formations - Every team's offensive and defensive scheme in NHL® Hitz Pro is in precise correlation with the actual team in the NHL®.
  • Player Fatigue System - Just as in a real hockey game, as players dish out the checks, or as the player gets checked to the ice, the more tired they become.
  • "On the Fly" Line Changes - See your line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up your line "on the fly" to have the freshest players on the ice.
  • Legitimate Stick Handling - Just like the real players in the NHL®, glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net, through the use of the right analog stick. NHL® Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling on any hockey game to date.
  • Realistic Crowd Reactions - For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate a realistic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a "ho-hum" reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime.
  • New Color Commentary - Midway Sports is adding a second commentator to the booth, and he'll give you his take on the game as well as the lowdown on some of your favorite NHL® players.
  • Upgraded Franchise Mode - GM Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of your team. Draft and trade players at your whim! Choose the offensive strategy and plot the perfect defensive scheme to prevent other teams from abusing your squad. After you create the perfect strategy, now determine who starts, and who gets left behind on the bench.
  • Re-tooled Hockey School Mode - NHL® Hitz Pro features an all-new and restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce a young NHL® All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide an NHL® Hitz Pro game tip.
  • Score from Anywhere on the Ice - NHL® Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds, deflections and flip shots from behind the net.
  • Multiplayer Tournament Mode - Set up tournaments with up to 16 teams.
  • Advanced Options - With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from glass brittleness right down to puck friction.
  • Enhanced Fantasy Draft - Choose your favorite team and begin your NHL® season from the absolute beginning where all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHL® owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch.
  • Improved AI - Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHL® Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, you'll think you're playing one of your friends.
  • Improved Goalie Animations - NHL® Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations ever. From stick saves, to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot, if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL®, he can make it in Hitz.
  • Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior - From slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play, to sprinting to the bench with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHL® Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL®.
  • Officially Licensed Equipment - Through Franchise Mode, users will be able to gain equipment to better suit their players. There will be five levels of equipment, including many of the biggest brands in hockey: The Hockey Company, Bauer Hockey, Itech and Easton.
  • New Motion Capture Animations - From new checks, slap shots and goalie animations, NHL® Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.

Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM), Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy® Advance.

For more information about Midway Games and NHL® Hitz 20-04 visit www.nhlhitz.midway.com.

NFL Blitz Pro

The new direction of NFL Blitz was designed with the sports fan in mind and is based on feedback from both hardcore and casual sports enthusiasts. Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway Sports answered the call by taking NFL Blitz in a new direction.

Officially licensed by the NFL and Players INC, NFL Blitz Pro will showcase authentic 11-on-11 live online play with real NFL teams, stadiums, and features, while still providing the well-known Midway Sports "edge." Real-time weather effects -- everything from snow in Buffalo to sunshine in Miami -- are delivered through an online service and player leaderboards, tournaments and downloadable content are also available to enhance the realistic experience.

"Taking NFL Blitz Pro online and adding NFL realism will give gamers and sports fans alike the authentic experience they have been wanting from the Blitz product line," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

Adding to a variety of new features in NFL Blitz Pro is an all-new Blitz-style Running Game that includes traditional moves such as handoffs, pitches, reverses, and up-the-gut runs, as well as more aggressive trick plays that the pros have yet to attempt. In addition, NFL Blitz Pro includes a Franchise Mode that allows up to 32 players to compete in 10 seasons where they can draft, trade, upgrade, release, sign free agents and retire. Stat tracking and current team information such as rosters, schedules, stadiums, uniforms and team captains are also included.

In addition, Midway signed an exclusive deal with Terrell Owens, ALL-PRO and star wide receiver of the San Francisco 49ers, to appear on the package cover, in advertising materials, and to design plays and provide audio capture for the game. Owens, entering his ninth NFL® season, has made his mark on the football world since his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996. Owens has accumulated 42 touchdowns over the past three seasons -- the most of any receiver in the NFL over that period of time.

NFL Blitz Pro also features DVD content with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, where top pro players such as defensive end Hugh Douglas of the Jacksonville Jaguars, linebacker Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers designed plays and performed audio capture for the game.

NFL Blitz Pro Key Features:

  • New Blitz Online - Head-to-head gameplay, player leaderboards, real-time online weather, tournaments and downloadable content.
  • New 11-on-11 Gameplay - Every team, every position and all your favorite players.
  • New Blitz-Style Running Game - Handoffs, pitches, reverses, and up-the-gut runs, as well as more aggressive trick plays that the pros have yet to attempt.
  • Real-Time Weather - Download real-time weather effects to experience everything from sunshine to snow and rain depending on the hometown stadium.
  • New Franchise Mode - Up to 32 gamers can engage in the franchise mode for up to 10 seasons. Draft, trade, upgrade, release, sign free agents and watch out for that old veteran who decides to hang 'em up after the season.
  • Current Team Information - Complete and updated rosters, schedules, uniforms, stadiums and team captains.
  • Improved AI - The days of catch-up code are gone; either play hard or go home.
  • New Motion-Capture and Animations - Tackles, runs, and catches put you in the middle of the action with incredible authenticity and Blitz-style aggression.
  • New Modes - Pro-Bowl and Practice Mode.
  • New Camera Angles - Dynamic camera angles to capture deep crossing routes and monster sticks with improved television style cut scenes.
  • New Stat-Tracking - Track all of the important stats from sacks and interceptions, to yardage gained and touchdowns scored.
  • New Fantasy Elements - Fantasy stadiums, characters and drafts.
  • Easy Access Menu - Intuitive interface and play select menu.
  • New Color Commentary - Play-by-play and color commentary to describe all of the action.
  • Improved Action - Adrenaline-style, over-the-top gameplay featuring players leaping, soaring, diving for passes, stiff-arming, and bulldozing would-be defenders in the all-new running game, while precision passing quarterbacks throw darts, lasers and quick slants.
  • New Improved Controls - Intuitive, fast-action controls.
  • Officially Licensed - By the NFL and NFL Players INC, which means that you can play all of your favorite NFL teams and players in your favorite NFL stadiums.

Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM), Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy® Advance.

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