Pirate Hunter, Patrician III go gold

Pick 14th century Europe or freebooting Caribbean, two titles from Encore readied for duplication.

A little more than a month after developer Ascaron found a home for Pirate Hunter and Patrician III, with Encore, the companies have jointly announced that both games have gone gold and are expected to land on store shelves sometime in October.

Roger Swindells, managing director at Ascaron says, "Pirate Hunter and Patrician III are high-quality games with beautiful graphics. We designed them to offer the perfect balance of trading, fighting, action, and fun."

Pirate Hunter, which will have a retail price of $30, is based on Ascaron's Port Royale, released in the US in April. It plays similarly to the earlier title. However, the 16 scenarios have you bringing brigands, buccaneers, and freebooters to justice. The game features four nationalities, four different historical periods, 60 Caribbean towns, 12 different ship types, and five levels of difficulty.

Patrician III, priced at $40, is the latest in the Patrician series of real-time trading sims, and, like the earlier titles, tracks your career as a fourteenth century maritime trader in Northern Europe.

Gameplay styles vary as players choose between five difficulty settings and try to grow their trading empires and reputations through piracy, smuggling, goods exchange, providing town improvements, and diplomacy.

The new features of Patrician III include a map editor, the ability to pioneer new towns, seasonal and weather-based graphics, more trading options, and an upgraded AI that scales the game to provide a suitable player challenge based on ability and experience. Players also have increased management abilities for defending and taxing their hometowns.

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