EA to help open Hellgate

Namco Bandai's long-awaited PC action role-playing game gets a copublisher for Europe and North America.

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Namco Bandai Games is trying to establish itself as a PC publisher, and although it shipped Mage Knight Apocalypse in September, its first real test will come with the launch of the long-awaited Hellgate: London, an action role-playing game from a number of creators with experience on the Diablo franchise. To help ensure the best possible launch for Hellgate, Namco Bandai has signed an agreement with Electronic Arts to copublish the game, the two companies announced today.

"Hellgate: London is more than just a highly anticipated PC game," Makoto Iwai, senior vice president of Namco Bandai's development group said in a statement. "It is the cornerstone of a franchise and that requires a different approach than the average product."

While EA is being cut in on the action this time, the deal is limited in scope--Namco Bandai will retain the publishing rights to future Hellgate: London projects.

This is not the first time Electronic Arts has helped another company get its game on store shelves. Last July, the company signed a multiyear deal with Valve Software to distribute console and boxed retail versions of the developer's hit PC game Half-Life 2, as well as future Valve products. The company also distributed Koei's Samurai Warriors for the PlayStation 2 in Europe and North America.

Hellgate: London is expected to ship to retail in the first quarter of 2007.

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