Matt Hazard eating lead on PS3, 360

D3Publisher and Dead Head Fred dev Vicious Cycle lampoon gaming history with third-person actioner, due next year.

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Matt Hazard may not be a household name, but D3Publisher would like to convince everyone otherwise. Today the publisher announced Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, a game billed as "the return of a classic 80's videogame action hero." The third-person shooter parodies its own history--an entirely fabricated past, it should be added--which just so happens to resemble a few classics, such as Duke Nukem and Super Mario Bros.

In an interview with GameSpot last week, D3 and Maverick Public Relations explained their unusual marketing tactic of inventing a storied past for Matt Hazard. "As a gamer, I'm continually frustrated when interesting new games get swept under the rug by the clutter generated from hundreds of mediocre sequels," said Maverick's Brandon Smith. The solution, the team felt, was to build a grass-roots campaign faking the franchise's past through teaser sites such as the gaudy-enough-to-be-legitimate WeaponsOfMattDestruction.com.

Eat Lead tells the story of Matt Hazard, an aging action hero who returns to the gaming scene again courtesy of benevolent publisher Marathon Megasoft. However, Marathon's intentions prove to be nefarious, and Hazard must battle his way through a host of equally fictional action heroes of days gone by. Eat Lead's script was penned by Writer's Guild Award-winning author Dave Ellis.

Players will have a number of tools in their arsenals to combat Hazard's foes. Playing up the blockbuster action angle, Eat Lead gives players a variety of high-octane weaponry. At the same time, the game acts as a throwback to classic gaming and will feature such reverent enemies as zombies and space marines. Developer Vicious Cycle (Dead Head Fred) has also aimed for a faux-nostalgia feel with level design and promises environments that change on the fly in response to hacking from Hazard's Marathon Megasoft archnemesis.

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is expected to arrive for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the first quarter of 2009.

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