2K Games claims Pirates!

Take-Two subbrand pillages publishing rights to Firaxis' swashbuckling adventure, back catalog of Civilization titles; game hits stores this summer.

2K Games today announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to Sid Meier's Pirates! for the Xbox and PC. The deal reinforces the business partnership between the publisher and developer Faraxis, the studio behind the Sid Meier line of games, which includes Alpha Centauri and Civilization.

The Xbox Pirates! was previously treading water with a TBD release window, but 2K has announced the game will float into retail stores this summer. The well-received PC version was released in November of 2004.

Pirates! pits peg-legged players in the pantaloons of a PO'd pirate looking to exact revenge on a wealthy Spaniard. The game combines role playing, action, and strategy to bring the life of a seafaring bandit to gamers. The original Pirates! was released on home computers in 1987.

Also today, 2K Games acquired the publishing rights to the entire Civilization series. Previously, 2K had signed on to distribute the upcoming PC title Civilization IV, set for release in November. The deal goes into effect July 1.

One of the most popular strategy series of all time, Civilization challenges players to guide an empire to power through political, financial, and militaristic means. The franchise debuted in 1991 with the Micropose-developed Civilization, which spawned 1996's Atari-developed Civilization II and Civilization III, developed by Firaxis and released in 2001.

Both Pirates! and the Civilization franchises move into the open arms of 2K Games after being in the hands of Atari. Earlier this year, Atari's CEO cited an "increasingly competitive environment" as the reason for a drop in profits and the closure of its Santa Monica, California, and Beverly, Massachusetts, studios. The plundering of the license does not bode well for Atari, which called the PC version of Pirates! one of its top-sellers for its third financial quarter.

Meanwhile, 2K games continues to position itself as a strong player in the publishing market. Formed by parent company Take-Two Interactive in January, 2K worked quickly, gobbling up the rights to games such as Bethesda Software's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Croteam's Serious Sam II, and Human Head's upcoming Prey.

Sid Meier's Pirates! is rated T for Teen and retails for $39.99 on the Xbox and $49.99 on the PC.

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