Heroes of the Pacific announced

Encore announces that it will release IR Gurus' World War II combat flight simulator in North America later this year. First screens inside,

Encore has today announced that it will publish Heroes of the Pacific in North America toward the end of this year. The World War II combat flight simulation game, which will be shown for the first time at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo, is in development for the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.

The first of the game's 30 missions will see players reliving the attack on Pearl Harbor, and as they progress through the game players will be transported to locations such as Midway Island, the Coral Sea, Wake Island, Iwo Jima, and Guadalcanal. Players will also get to pilot more than 25 authentic World War II aircraft, including the Grumman F4F Hellcat and F6F Wildcat, the Douglas SBD Dauntless, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair. A number of bonus planes will be available only when players manage to unlock them, such as the Japanese Zero.

"Publishing Heroes of the Pacific represents a significant move forward in shaping Encore's long-term business strategy," said Michael Bell, CEO at Encore. "We're confident in the ability of IR Gurus to deliver an experience that's incredibly immersive and fun and a game that will establish new benchmarks in the flight combat genre."

"The large-scale aerial battles and dogfights were arguably the most important part of the US victory in the Pacific theater, and no game has really addressed it to date," added Ben Palmer, technical director for IR Gurus. "With Heroes of the Pacific, our goal is to put players in the cockpit of some of the greatest WWII fighter planes in some of the most decisive battles of the war and deliver an experience that clearly establishes this title as the next marquee flight combat game."

It's claimed that Heroes of the Pacific will support more than 300 planes onscreen simultaneously, and players will be able to issue commands to up to 32 wingmen while flying their own plane. It all sounds terribly complicated, but we're assured that the game's fast-access menu system is as intuitive as it is innovative.

In addition to the story-driven single-player campaign, Heroes of the Pacific will boast split-screen multiplayer support and online play. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, you might want to take a look at the official Heroes of the Pacific Web site launched today.

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