25 to Life to be paroled in January

Dispelling cancellation rumors, Eidos announces its controversial cops-versus-robbers shooter will ship early next year.

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For a while, it looked like 25 to Life might stay locked up for good. Following the "Hot Coffee" scandal, the third-person shooter drew the ire of politicians and news pundits for its violent depiction of heavily armed cops fighting even-more-heavily-armed criminals. "It makes Grand Theft Auto look like Romper Room," said Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer.

In late September, Eidos announced it would delay the game until 2006, officially because of a "business review" being conducted by the company's new owner, SCi Entertainment. However, on October 11, ardent anti-game activist Jack Thompson publicly proclaimed to have inside knowledge that the game had been canceled. "I have received word in the last two days from a credible source that Eidos has decided never to release 25 to Life," the Miami-area attorney said in one of his near-daily mass-mailings to the media. This prompted rumors that its publisher had scuttled the project rather than deal with a public-relations kerfuffle.

As it turns out, reports of 25 to Life's death were greatly exaggerated. Today, Eidos announced that the game will indeed ship for the PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2. Its new release date is January 18, 2006, which is five months after its previous October ship date and seven months past its original August launch.

Though the game's rating remains M for Mature--and Eidos stresses that it is "created for adults"--its price appears to have undergone an adjustment. Instead of the typical $49.99 MSRP, the console versions of the game will cost only $39.99. The PC version will be even cheaper, costing only $29.99.

25 to Life is a team-based third-person shooter that lets players pick one of two sides--cops or robbers--before engaging in Battlefield-style contests for control of territory. While they will have a single-player campaign, all versions will also support online play for up to 16 players. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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