On the grid

What's getting buzz in the vidgame industry

50 CENT: BULLETPROOF (Viv U)
“The Sopranos” scribe Terence Winter based this game on the climactic event in 50 Cent’s life, when he was shot nine times — hence the title. In the game, 50 Cent is a hustler who takes revenge on New York’s underworld with ultraviolent results. Game bling includes a soundtrack with over four albums worth of tunes, 12 musicvideos and cameos by Eminem and Dr. Dre. Anticipated release date will coincide with 50 Cent’s pic “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” also written by Winter.
IGN.com audience mindshare*: 1.1%
Release date: Fall 2005
Consoles: Xbox, PS2, PSP

THE GODFATHER (Electronic Arts)
Will the gaming crowd take to a 33-year-old gangster saga? EA believes that teens are well acquainted with the franchise through Snoop Dogg albums and “The Sopranos.” As a gangster in New York in 1945, you’ll decide whether to accumulate power over your family, the Corleones, or all Gotham families. Just to make an offer that players can’t refuse, EA rounded up Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert Duvall to lend their voices and likenesses.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 0.9%
Release date: Holiday 2005
Consoles: PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox and next-gen consoles.

KING KONG (Ubisoft)
Impressed by the storytelling in the game “Beyond Good and Evil,” director Peter Jackson handpicked its creator, Michel Ancel, to work on “Kong.” Ancel used the upcoming film’s storyboards as a blueprint for the game. Though the plot is under wraps, what’s known is that it closely follows the original 1933 film. Gamers can play as Adrien Brody’s character or as the big ape himself.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 0.3%
Release date: Holiday 2005
Consoles: Gameboy Advance, GameCube, PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox and next-gen consoles.

SCARFACE (Viv U )
Written by David McKenna (“American History X,” “Blow”), “Scarface” begins by presuming Tony Montana survived the film’s final mansion shootout. Stripped of everything, he has to rebuild his empire — with some help from his “little friends.” Actor Al Pacino lends his likeness and was a consultant on the game. “Scarface” cast members Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer also participate.IGN.com audience mindshare: N/A
Release date: 2006
Consoles: PC, Xbox, PS2 and next-gen consoles.

STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT II (LucasArts)
The first “Battlefront” was one of the bestselling movie-inspired game properties of 2004. This time, players can fight as Jedi or one of the infantrymen from the original film trilogy. In addition to “Episode III” battlefields, gamers will find it easier to pilot X-wings and TIE fighters. And it’s not a wild assumption to think that “Battlefront II” could bow in sync with the “Episode III” DVD.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 1.0%
Release date: Fall 2005
Consoles: PC, PS2, Xbox

FEAR AND RESPECT (Midway)
John Singleton was looking to direct a videogame and Snoop Dogg wanted to star in one. So Midway brought the two together. “Fear” follows Goldy (Dogg), an ex-con who tries to keep his nephew out of trouble in South Los Angeles. What sets this crime-spree game apart from its predecessors is Singleton’s use of drama — fear is a bigger weapon in this game than your gun.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 0.7%
Release date: 2006
Consoles: PS2, Xbox

FINAL FANTASY XII (Square Enix)
Since 1987, the “Final Fantasy” franchise has sold 60 million units worldwide and the latest installment is certain to fly off shelves. This episode follows Vaan, a street urchin who leads a resistance against the Archadian empire on the world of Dalmasca. Extra tech improvements include “active dimension battle,” an engine that lends more realism to battle sequences.IGN.com audience mindshare: 1.4%
Release date: TBA
Consoles: PS2

KINGDOM HEARTS II (Square Enix)
Gamers are salivating for this follow-up to 2002’s fusion of Disney animation and “Final Fantasy” — a collision that translated into worldwide sales of 5 million copies. Donald Duck and Goofy continue to hunt for their missing king, Mickey, and reteam with Sora, who is on a quest to find his lost friend Riku. While the first installment visited such Disney worlds as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Tarzan,” little is known about the sequel’s destinations though early art work hints at characters from “Hercules” and the heroes of “Mulan.”
IGN.com audience mindshare: 1.4%Release date: Holiday 2005
Consoles: PS2

ADVENT RISING (Majesco)
Majesco isn’t waiting for the next-gen consoles to bet on “The Advent Trilogy” as the next big game epic. Originally conceived as a film, “Advent” is set in a universe where humans and aliens collide for the first time. Though some extraterrestrials believe humans are messiahs, other alien races are more suspicious. Creators Donald and Geremy Mustard worked with sci-fi scribe Orson Scott Card to create a game where the consequences of a player’s actions will carry over into the likely sequels.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 0.7%
Release date: May 31
Consoles: PC, Xbox

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS (Nintendo)
Next to Mario Bros., “Zelda” is the most popular Nintendo franchise. E3 attendees saw a glimpse of this sequel last year and they’ll see even more this week. While its sweeping fantasy images evoke “The Lord of the Rings’ ” New Zealand locale, this “Zelda” is more mature and grittier. For starters, leading guy Link is a little older and can fight his foes while on horseback.
IGN.com audience mindshare: 5.4%
Release date: Holiday 2005
Consoles: GameCube

* Measures game buyers’ awareness and purchase intent for particular titles. A strong mindshare is 1% or higher and mindshare increases closer to street date.

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