BlackSite: Area 51 beaming down this summer

Last console installment of arcade-inspired series will arrive on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 soon; new screens and trailer inside.

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LAS VEGAS--Last night at the Hard Rock Casino, Midway assembled a coterie of journalists and analysts for its 2007 Gamers' Day. Presiding over the event was Midway CEO David Zucker, who touted the fact that Midway has spent over $100 million to create an internal development staff of more than 700. "Our plan to revitalize Midway is to succeed on the new consoles," he told the crowd.

At the centerpiece of this plan is BlackSite: Area 51, a new shooter being developed by Midway Studios - Austin, the shop formerly known as Inevitable Entertainment. Though the existence of the game had been unofficially known for some time, the Vegas event marked its first public unveiling.

Though its title makes it sound like a sequel to Area 51, the tepidly received 2005 shooter based on the classic arcade game, BlackSite is an all-new game written by Gears of War scribe Susan O'Connor. Its story follows a group of covert military operatives charged by the US government to put down an alien invasion in a remote Nevada town, which is the site of the titular top-secret complex. Midway said the story would have some branching elements that would put players in a moral quandary as to whether or not to follow their orders, Deus Ex-style.

Like the other Area 51 games, BlackSite is primarily a first-person shooter. Demo stations on the Gamers' Day show floor saw players wielding an assault rifle tricked out with a grenade launcher against a variety of spindly, Resistance-esque alien troopers. However, the game also introduces squad tactics, letting players command their fellow troopers around the battlefield. The game will focus on "emotionally intense" firefights with aggressive enemies, according to the game's developers--one of which GameSpot interviewed in Las Vegas.

BlackSite: Area 51 is set for release this summer on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. No rating or pricing information is yet available, but GameSpot did get some hands-on time with the game at the Midway event.

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