The franchise formerly named after legendary West Indian batsman Brian Lara in the UK and current baggy green captain Ricky Ponting in Australia has had a few years' hiatus but is finally ready for a comeback, and just in time for the height of the 2009 cricket season. Codemasters has revealed exclusively to GameSpot UK that it has handed development duties to Melbourne-based Transmission Games, formerly IR Gurus. Transmission was previously responsible for Brian Lara Pressure Play on the PSP, Heroes Over the Pacific, and several games based on Aussie Rules and Gaelic football.
Ashes Cricket 2009, as the game will be known, includes official licences for both the English and Australian international teams and the rights to the Ashes name, courtesy of the Marylebone Cricket Club. The game will launch alongside the biennial test match series of the same name. The series is fought biennially, alternating between England and Australia. Dating back to 1883, the series is one of the most contested and oldest in international sport.
A total of 18 stadiums from 12 countries are featured, including all of the stadiums due to feature in this year's series, as well as The Melbourne Cricket Ground, The Gabba, and grounds from most test-playing nations. In addition to being able to choose teams and venues, cricket fans can deck out their side with more than 100 pieces of licensed kit.
English Cricket Board commercial director John Perera said in a statement, "The Ashes is one of the iconic challenges in world sport. With cricket set to dominate the sporting calendar this summer, we're delighted to be able to give cricket fans the chance to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and try and win back the Ashes for England."
In addition to The Ashes, players will be able to select other test, one-day international, and Twenty20 matches between international sides. Newcomers to the sport can be introduced via a training mode called Legends that will be presented by real-life cricketing legends Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne. Commentary has been supplied by the aforementioned in addition to Test Match Special stalwart Jonathan Agnew as well as West Indian Ian Bishop and outspoken ex-England captain Tony Greig. Codemasters has confirmed that Ashes will also support multiplayer for four players in offline and two players in online matches.
For more on Ashes Cricket 2009, see GameSpot's video interview with producer Jamie Firth, below, and an exclusive preview, including the first released images. The full interview with Firth will be featured in an upcoming episode of Start/Select.