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U.S. Army Licenses Training Game to Ubisoft

The U.S. Army has struck a deal with French gaming firm Ubisoft to bring its combat training game to Xbox and PlayStation 2, reports the AP. This new development pact will be an offshoot of the Army's popular multiplayer online PC game, AMERICA'S ARMY, which was launched in 2002. The videogame is scheduled to hit shelves in late 2005 or early 2006.

"For every PC gamer there are four console gamers," said Col. Casey Wardynski, the game's creator. "Our game typically plays on a pretty good computer, which reaches a certain demographic for household income. We'd like to reach a broader audience and consoles get you there."

The game will simulates basic training and take teams of players on various missions, fighting against a nameless, faceless "terrorist" enemy in various unnamed parts of the world with different terrains. The game will also be multiplayer online.

As in the current game, the new version will include use of force, but will not show graphic representations of limbs being blown off or soldiers bleeding from gunshot wounds.

In regards to the graphic nature of the game, Wardynski said, "In our game, force is an instrument to the objective. We don't want force to become the entertaining, overriding objective of the game."

Jay Cohen, vp of publishing for Ubisoft, added, "We want to portray equipment and tactics appropriately and neither glorify nor mistakenly represent violence. It's very helpful from a design point of view. By putting certain limits and constraints, it actually avoids situations of wondering 'Are we going too far?' or 'Are we getting away from what the point is?"'

Though the original game cost the Army $20 million to develop, the Army cannot legally receive profits from the licensing deal, which will be turned over to the U.S. Treasury. Wardynski said a new pending law would allow the Army to apply its profits against the cost of developing and maintaining the videogame.

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