SCEE has firmed up its release schedule for Q1 2003, revealing the scale of the first-party support for the PS2 in the coming months, with key titles being released even in January – traditionally considered to be a quiet month after the retail excesses of Christmas.
Indeed, January sees the release of Sly Raccoon – which has received major critical acclaim in the USA, and should perform well in the UK – along with the insane Ape Escape 2, which is more of a niche title but will benefit from the cult status developed by the first game on the PSone.
Locally developed title Primal heads up to the release schedule for February, while Namco’s Pac-Man World 2 is unlikely to set the sales charts on fire but will probably still be a steady seller. Disney-licensed platformer Treasure Planet also arrives in February, with early impressions suggesting a competent Jak & Daxter style affair that could well be one of the best Disney movie spin-offs ever made.
Finishing up the quarter, March sees the arrival of The Mark of Kri, a hugely stylish side scrolling fighting game, which is likely to be popular if it lives up to its promise. Namco’s Moto GP3 also arrives in March
Hardware-wise, the company now plans to launch the Eye Toy – which made a popular public appearance at the PlayStation Experience at the end of August – by Easter. We had originally expected to see the peripheral, which will be released accompanied by a selection of Eye Toy mini-games, as a Christmas release, but given the uniquegadget appeal of the device it should perform well despite the delays.