Area 51 flies off to factory

Midway's infectious shooter conspires for its April 25 release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

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The truth is almost out there. Midway today announced that Area 51 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 has gone gold and will be arriving on store shelves April 25. The first-person shooter with sci-fi flavor was developed by Midway's Austin studio, the team that brought The Hobbit to multiple platforms back in late 2003.

Based on the high-security military facility of the same name, Area 51 throws gamers into a potential global crisis. A distress signal from the top secret institution warns the US Army of a viral outbreak, forcing the government to send in the hazardous materials division of the Special Forces to sort things out. As Ethan Cole, leader of the deployed squad, gamers will discover a mind-controlling parasite, an underground alien colony, and enough conspiracies to astonish even the most backwoods yahoo.

Cole will be outfitted with standard issue ammunition at the onset of the game but will eventually have access to alien artillery and some psionic powers to blast infected Area 51 employees and some not-too-friendly ETs.

Midway even signed on some Hollywood voice talent to bring the game's characters to life. David Duchovny, The X-Files' Fox Mulder, exchanges his truth-hunting snooping for high-grade firearms as Ethan Cole. Powers Booth, most recently featured in Sin City and HBO's Deadwood, will voice Major Bridges. Rounding out the cast is goth-rocker Marilyn Manson, appropriately cast as Edgar, an alien who befriends Cole.

A PC version of Area 51 is also in the works, but Midway made no mention of it in its statement today. The PC version is scheduled to ship alongside the console versions.

Area 51 is rated "M" for Mature and retails for $49.99. To uncover more of Area 51's truths, check out GameSpot's previous coverage, including a recent preview of the game.

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