Ubisoft drafts America's Army

Increasingly militaristic publisher signs deal to bring first official US Army games to consoles.

Capping a week of wargame announcements, Ubisoft said today it has struck a deal with the US army to establish a multiplatform America's Army franchise. Although collaboration between developers and the Department of Defense is increasingly common (see Full Spectrum Warrior and There), today's agreement marks the first time a publisher has been granted an official game license by the military.

"Ubisoft has extensive experience in producing best-selling military games, and we're looking forward to getting their developers in the field with our soldiers," said Colonel Casey Wardynski, director of the America's Army game project.

Currently, America's Army is self-published by the Army, which uses it as a recruiting tool. Although bankrolled by taxpayer dollars, the acclaimed tactical PC shooter is available free of charge at http://www.americasarmy.com/ or at local recruitment centers. An expansion pack of the game, America's Army: Special Forces, was released last November and allows players to join the various Armed Forces' most elite units.

Under the terms of the deal, the Army will continue to develop the PC version of America's Army, while Ubisoft will ready versions of it for undisclosed consoles. The publisher aims to turn the property into a franchise, with the first installment shipping out in summer 2005.

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