E3 06: Eragon to take flight in November

VU Games is readying several games based on the forthcoming 20th Century Fox fantasy epic.

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Games based on movies based on fantasy novels are all the rage these days. Blockbuster big-screen adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia have yielded popular game tie-ins for Electronic Arts and Buena Vista Games.

VU Games is hoping to hop on the fantasy-book-film-game bandwagon this year. Today, the publisher announced that it is developing games based on Eragon, the forthcoming 20th Century Fox epic. The film itself is based on the first of the popular Inheritance fantasy novels by author Christopher Paolini.

Like the film and the book, Eragon the game follows a teenager who discovers a strange rock while out playing one day. As it turns out, the rock is actually an egg, which hatches, producing a magical blue dragon. Eragon soon bonds with the beast, eventually becoming the last of the Dragon Riders, an order of knights that bestride the winged reptiles.

Stormfront Studios (Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) will be handling development on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC versions of Eragon. That game will follow the plot of the film and will sport a melee-combination and magic-based combat system that will include "finishing moves, multiple grapples, and degradable blocks with unique counter attacks," according to VU. It will also feature dragon-based airborne combat and two-player co-op play.

The handheld editions of Eragon will be developed by Amaze Entertainment (The Lord of the Rings: Tactics for the PSP, The Chronicles of Narnia on the GBA). The DS version will be an action role-playing game that will allow for a dual-screen combat system, including spellcasting via the touch screen.

The GBA Eragon will also be an RPG, although it will be turn-based instead of real time. The story-driven game will feature nine playable characters, and gameplay will include brewing potions and crafting weapons.

The PSP game, called Eragon and Saphira, will be drastically different from its portable siblings. Its "extensive" single-player campaign will show the Eragon story from the perspective of the young hero's dragon and will feature much airborne action. The game will also support up to four players in dragon-combat multiplayer bouts via 12 different arena-game types.

The Eragon games are slated to ship in November, several weeks before the Eragon film hits theaters December 12. The film stars Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Djimon Hounsou, Robert Carlyle, and Resident Evil: Extinction's Sienna Guillory. Newcomer Ed Speleers will play the role of the titular hero.

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