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SGN Visits Konami


SGN recently met with Konami to discuss their upcoming sports lineup, which includes ESPN International Track & Field, ESPN X-Games Snowboarding, ESPN The Great Outdoors - Bass Fishing, ESPN MLS GameNight and ESPN NBA 2Night. I first had a chance to met with Craig Howe, Brand Marketing Manager for Konami along with a couple of the public relations guys. They let me in on a little secret, which will be made public in the next few days. A little hint, they'll be announcing a new sports game for the PlayStation 2 launch! [Update: The link is at the bottom to the news concerning the new game.]

ESPN International Track & Field is a game based off last year's Track & Field 2000 for PSX. We first took a look at the Dreamcast version. The game is still a work in progress but very impressive as is. The graphics are top-notch just as your would expect for a Dreamcast game. The aspect of the game that struck me was the fluidity of the movements of the athletes. The PlayStation 2 version was just as impressive. You wouldn't know you were playing a videogame. There were a couple of differences in events between the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 versions. Not sure I understand why though. Click here for the fact sheet and new screen shots.

Next up was their basketball game, ESPN NBA 2Night for Dreamcast. I had a chance to play it at E3 and did not come away impressed. The build I got a chance to see in action on Monday is much more developed. The graphics are much improved; the collision engine has been tweaked to make the game more realistic. Craig introduced me to the NBA 2Night's practice mode and their goals for the practice mode. He mentioned that they really wanted to make the mode customizable and have the authentic feel of it being a practice mode. Of course, what is a game without good gameplay? Well, as far as NBA 2Night, I can't really comment just yet as they are still working with that aspect of the game in trying to make it as realistic as possible. Again, we'll have a more in-depth preview when we get a playable build. Click here for the fact sheet and new screen shots.

First of all, I'll admit I'm no snowboarding fan, but as far as the presentation of Konami's ESPN X-Games Snowboarding for PlayStation 2, the game will not be a letdown. I was very impressed with the crisply detailed graphics. You could even see the cold breath from the riders' mouths. This game is looking very good and should be released in November. Click here for the fact sheet and new screen shots.

Finally, we took a look at The Great Outdoors Games : Bass Fishing for PlayStation. This game is similar to Fisherman's Bait. Not being a big fishing fan really made my mind wander off thinking about their game they told me about. I have to apologize to you fish gamers out there for dozing off. They did have humorous announcers. I'll get a fact sheet up so you fish fans won't be losing out on anything as a result of my disinterest in fishing games.

This wraps everything up as far as Konami's sports games. Not mentioned was ESPN MLS GameNight, which should be out for PlayStation in late August or early September. The game will be based off their popular ISS engine. What impressed me most was Craig Howe's attitude in wanting to get feedback for their games since they still have time to change things. Not often do you get to tell companies what you would like to see different in the games. Konami appears to have a good future in the sports gaming sector ahead of them. Only time will tell if this holds true. So, this is the end, and time for sleep. Just wanted to thank Konami once again for inviting us to San Francisco. Too bad they didn't pay for my plane ticket.

Click here for the info on their new game!

By: James Chheng 7/20/00

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