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Thursday April 13, 2006 Shipping Announcements

by Rainier on April 13, 2006 @ 10:41 a.m. PDT

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Auto Assault (PC)

Developed by Colorado-based developer, NetDevil, LTD, Auto Assault is the first massively multiplayer online (MMO) game set in a post-apocalyptic world featuring vehicle combat on an epic scale and fully destructible environments.

Auto Assault is available at retailers in North America at an expected price of US$49.99. The Limited Edition, which includes a headset to utilize the game’s voice chat system and a game soundtrack CD, will be available for an expected price of US$59.99. Both the standard and Limited editions of the game include the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.99. Sixty-day game time cards will also be available at many North American retailers for an expected price of US$29.99.

In Auto Assault, players choose from three races and venture into a post-apocalyptic Earth wreaking havoc and vying for control over the few resources left. Players can design their characters and customize many different vehicle chassis to make their own unique fleet of death machines. Players may go on missions with others or on their own, craft unique items, and participate in player-versus-player combat via the arena system and contested outpost battles. No matter what they are doing, players are encouraged to interact with the game world by blasting through buildings, leveling towns and destroying just about everything they see.

“Auto Assault is a truly unique game, and a fantastic addition to our catalog,” said Robert Garriott, CEO of NCsoft North America. “There is nothing like it in the MMO game space – it is easy to play, fast, and very fun. Auto Assault gives players the best of action games, the best of role-playing games and a super-cool world to discover and destroy.”

The release of Auto Assault represents both a continuation of NCsoft’s efforts to provide gamers many compelling products to play online, and the beginning of another great service with free content updates and expansions in the years to come. Additionally, a veteran rewards program has been put in place for players who subscribe to Auto Assault within the first thirty days of service. A detailed description of the veteran rewards is available on the Auto Assault website (www.autoassault.com/gameinfo/vetawards.html).

“Compelling characters, tricked-out vehicles, crazy-fast combat and full-blown destruction make Auto Assault a blast,” said Scott Brown, president of NetDevil, LTD. “This is the game we’ve wanted to play for years; it feels good to launch commercial service. Now the real work starts – today marks the beginning of our ideas for the product and we look forward to rolling out new content for players to enjoy.”

Auto Assault is rated T for teen. For more information about Auto Assault go to: www.autoassault.com.

Hummer Badlands (PS2/Xbox)

Using the legendary Hummer 4-wheel drive technology, Hummer Badlands lets gamers conquer any terrain on the ultimate log climbing, torque twisting, off-road Hummer competition.

For those who can only dream about getting behind the wheel of one of these powerful beasts, Hummer Badlands gives players the ability to race 19 different Hummer models, including the H1, H2, H3 and H3T Concept. Additionally, players can participate in a host of extreme challenges to establish Hummer dominance including Championship Mode, Multiplayer Head-to-Head Battle and Tug-of-War. Plus, racing both on and off-road, gamers can smash through barriers to uncover short cuts and hidden routes.

Hummer Badlands allows players to make authentic customizations to their trucks including the wheels, roof lights, brush guards and more for the most realistic Hummer off-road racing experience available.

Hummer Badlands was developed by Eutechnyx and has a suggested retail price of $19.99. The game is rated E for Everyone.

Bone: The Great Cow Race (PC)

The Bone adventures continue in The Great Cow Race, as Fone Bone and his cousins arrive at the Barrelhaven county fair on the eve of the annual cow race. While Phoney Bone plots to swindle the locals, Fone Bone attempts to prove himself and win the heart of the fair Thorn, who has become infatuated with a rakish honey salesman. There are games, trickery, exotic foodstuffs, a daring rescue ... and rumblings of something sinister in the offing. And, there's fun with cows.

Bone: The Great Cow Race is the continuation of a new breed of episodic interactive entertainment launched by Telltale last fall. The company released the first episode, Bone: Out from Boneville, to wide acclaim in September. Hailed by reviewers and educators alike as engaging for all ages, the Bone books on which these games are based, have become the anchor for the new Graphix line from Scholastic Books, one of the world’s largest book publishers.

“Telltale’s work on Bone is amazing,” said Bone creator Jeff Smith. “It has been great to see these animated personalities coming to life. They’re expanding the Bone worlds with incredible fidelity to my original comic book pages.”

“The Great Cow Race has a get rich quick scheme, romance, great wit, and most important, cow racing,” said Dan Connors, CEO of Telltale, Inc. “What more could you want! Episodic gaming is finally taking shape, and the one-two punch of Out from Boneville combined with The Great Cow Race really gives customers a chance to see how well this approach works in action.”

In addition to the standalone Great Cow Race, Telltale is offering special combo packages for those who buy both episodes together. Customers can purchase the downloadable versions of Act 1 and 2 together for $24.99 and a packaged set of CDs in DVD slipcases for $29.99. All Bone games include a free trial mode. Customers do not need to purchase or install the previous episode, Out from Boneville, in order to play The Great Cow Race.

Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked (PS2)

This unique title based on the hit series airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim introduces players to the untrammeled strength of a samurai sword against a backdrop of righteous hip-hop beats. With an original storyline, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked promises to take players on a new adventure with a completely different approach to samurai swordplay.

"With Samurai Champloo, we have created an inimitable fighting experience that lets players execute their preferred combo moves depending on the background tracks that they choose," said Yoshi Niki, business unit director from NAMCO BANDAI Games of America. "By staying true to creator Shinichiro Watanabe's vision, we have crafted a game that truly integrates the code of the samurai and hip-hop culture."

Gamers can breathe life into a "lost episode" as one of three playable characters - Mugen, a reckless samurai with break-dancing fighting style, calculated Jin who abides by the decorum of Bushido, and a mysterious new character exclusive to the video game. Stranded in the northern land of Ezo (current day Hokkaido) in search of the samurai who smells of sunflowers, the player must face foreign mercenaries, master swordsmen, diabolical assassins, mythical beasts, and gangster monkeys.

The hard-edged, hip-hop, pulse-pounding blend of wry humor, hardcore samurai action and lush animation of Samurai Champloo can also be seen in the multi-episodic series on DVD from Geneon Entertainment.

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