SOE Strips, Hustles, and… EverQuests?

Sony Online Entertainment announces High Stakes on the Vegas Strip PS3 poker game, <i>Kung Fu Hustle</i> online fighting game, EverQuest II: Rise of Kunark expansion.

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Sony Online Entertainment, once known almost solely for its massively multiplayer online role-playing games, has recently branched out with online trading card games, downloadable retro arcade games for the PlayStation 3, and several PlayStation Portable projects. Today, the company further expanded its development slate with the announcement of three more projects: an original downloadable game for the PS3, an online fighting game based on a popular Hong Kong film, and another expansion to its EverQuest II MMORPG.

Set for release this summer, High Stakes on the Vegas Strip: Poker Edition will bring together five different variations of poker for up to six players online. It also supports PC Web cameras (as well as the PlayStation 2 EyeToy) so that players can judge their bluffing opponents' poker faces and hear their voices tremble. High Stakes includes versions of Texas hold'em, super hold'em, billabong, Tahoe, and Shanghai, as well as detailed stat tracking. High Stakes on the Vegas Strip: Poker Edition will sell for $9.99.

The next game comes from out of left field--or the Far East, anyway. SOE has charged its Taipai-based development studio SOGA to create a Kung Fu Hustle game for the Chinese market. Released in the US in 2005, Kung Fu Hustle was the most successful in a string of actor-director Stephen Chow's kung fu comedies (which also included Shaolin Soccer, God of Cookery, Forbidden City Cop, and Royal Tramp). According to SOE, the game will blend elements of traditional fighting games with the film's cast of characters and online action for up to eight players. The game will be free to play, but players will be able to buy items and extra lives for a fee.

In more familiar fare, SOE also announced the fourth EverQuest II expansion, Rise of Kunark. Those who purchase the game at retail will also receive the base EverQuest II game, the three previous expansions, and an in-game pet. As for the expansion's features, it includes a new playable race in the dragonlike Sarnak, as well as new quests, weapons, armor, zones (many based on original EverQuest locations), and even new deities to worship. Rise of Kunark will launch "on or around" November 13 in stores and online for $39.99.

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