E3 06: Online Chess Kingdoms Preshow Report

Konami is tweaking the age-old game of chess on the PSP.

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Though it might send chess master Garry Kasparov to an early grave and short out Deep Blue, that's not stopping Konami from revising the age-old game of chess with the upcoming Online Chess Kingdoms for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Set in a high-fantasy realm of swords and sorcery, Online Chess Kingdoms will see five warring factions, including magicians, servants of chaos, and an aquatic civilization, battle it out on the chess board for control of the universe. It won't just be the horsy or the little castle-thing on a checkerboard either, as the game will feature lush environments and fully animated wizards; warriors; and, oh yes, big, fire-breathing dragons.

For those looking for a quick checkmate while they wait for the bus, the game will feature a speed chess mode, though traditionalists will be able to play a standard game of chess without all of the 3D accoutrements. The most highly touted feature in Online Chess Kingdoms is, of course, the game's online functionality. Players will join one of the five factions in a persistent world where wins and losses on the chess board translate into gained or lost territory on the map. The more territory your faction has control of, the greater your influence over the online world will be, though Konami is being oblique at the moment as to how, or even if, that will affect the actual gameplay.

PSP owners will get their chance to use Philidor's Legacy and Legall's Mate soon enough, as Online Chess Kingdoms is currently set to come out this fall.

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