Atari & Liquid Ent. Announce Dragonshard Realtime Strategy Game

Atari is to developing DRAGONSHARD, a realtime strategy game based on the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS universe created by Wizards of the Coast. Under license from Hasbro Inc., DRAGONSHARD will be the first game set in the exciting new D&D(R) campaign setting, EBERRON, a cinematic and war-torn world of action, adventure and intrigue where fantasy meets magical technology.

DRAGONSHARD is scheduled to be available for PC in spring 2005.

"Ed Del Castillo and the team at Liquid Ent. have a long history with the realtime strategy genre stretching all the way back to the original COMMAND & CONQUER, said John Hight, exe producer, Atari. When Atari needed a strong development studio that could bring together the depth of a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS world with the intensity of a realtime strategy game they were the natural first choice. DRAGONSHARD will take realtime strategy in new directions by using many of the unique aspects of the coolest features from traditional role-playing; we are also taking advantage of new surface level terrain rendering technology to give the player two distinct levels of play; new squad and leader tactical functionality to give the player an all new army experience; a new base development system; and much more."

EBERRON, which has been recently released by Wizards of the Coast, features a dark underworld ruled by monsters and demons, and a surface world home to the civilizations of humans, dwarves, halflings, gnomes and more. Surrounding the world is the Ring of Siberys, a multi-colored belt of crystal shards and a source of tremendous magical power. These "dragonshards" occasionally fall to earth and are the cornerstone of all magic on Eberron.

The DRAGONSHARD takes place at time when the world of Eberron is in chaos. Three forces are vying for control of a massive dragonshard, known as the Heart of Siberys. The ancient artifact has come to rest in a mystical part of Eberron known as Xen'drik, once home to ancient and powerful civilizations. Shielded by a circle of high mountains and blanketed by never-ending tempests and blizzards, this region of place of mystery and monsters has been shunned for millennia.

"When you think fantasy in the videogame business you think DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. And, when we're done with DRAGONSHARD, players will associate realtime strategy with that same brand," said Ed Del Castillo, president/founder, Liquid Ent. "With our knowledge of the RTS genre and Atari's quality-first attitude to making this game great, we're confident DRAGONSHARD is going to be turning a lot of heads next year."

DRAGONSHARD has three warring factions. One force The Order of the Silver Flame is looking to free the power within the ancient shard and use it to further its own self-righteous cause. A second faction has been expelled from its ancestral homes and has come seeking a dark tool for revenge these are the Umbragen. The third force remains veiled and mysterious, its intentions unknown.

The Order of the Silver Flame is an alliance of humans and dwarves from the land of Khorvaire. The Flametouched have gathered together warriors from a variety of cultures and traditions, united in their desire to fight for the light.

The strength of the Silver Flame is in the versatility of its elite units. The Silver Flame provides players with a significant number of options, and each unit can adapt to fill many different situations. Players can expect to control knights, wizards, priests and rogues among many others as they attempt to sway the tide of battle in their favor.

The Umbragen are the descendents of an ancient elvish race that retreated to the dark underworld. Forced to use dark powers to survive in this world of mind flayers, beholders and other terrible creatures, the Umbragen slowly became as evil and twisted as those they fought. Lead by the wizard Satros, the Umbragen have come to reclaim the might and power of their ancestors in an attempt to reshape the destiny of their race and the world.

All Umbragen units possess an innate ability to manipulate umbral energy. All Umbragen learn to merge with the shadows to avoid mortal injuries; this is reflected by allowing an Umbragen unit to use its mana in place of hit points once these are exhausted. An Umbragen with zero hit points becomes a shade invisible in darkness and possesses other special or altered abilities. Elite Umbragen units are drawn from the ranks of the undead those who have given up their mortal lives in exchange for terrible mystic powers.

DRAGONSHARD will also feature two other significant forces that cannot be controlled by the player, to be encountered throughout the

Wizards of the Coast (www.wizards.com), a subsidiary of Hasbro, is a worldwide leader in the trading card game and tabletop role-playing game categories, and a leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products, as well as being one of the world's premier book publishers of fantasy series fiction. whose novels have made numerous appearances on The New York Times bestseller list and have sold millions of copies worldwide. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at wizards.com.

New York-based Atari develops interactive games for all platforms and is one of the largest third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software in the U.S. Atari Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Ent. SA, the largest interactive games publisher in Europe. For more information, visit www.atari.com.

Liquid Ent. (www.liquid.to) is a leading independent developer of entertainment software best known for its critically acclaimed strategy game Battle Realms and Lord of The Rings: War of The Ring.

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