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Hey, I hear those MMPOPRORRPG things are “hep”

May 15th, 2003: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Hey, I hear those MMPOPRORRPG things are “hep”

Atari (née Infogrames, née Hasbro Interactive) has co-announced with Wizards a massively multiplayer online game called, hold your breath for this one, Dungeons & Dragons Online. Hey, because there’s hardly any competition in the Tolkienesque-online-fantasy-world space. They plan to ship in two years, just like Master Tools (cough). To be fair, the developer, Turbine Entertainment, has both Asheron’s Call games under its belt, so some expertise is going into this. Click Read More for the gory details.

Atari/Wizards Press Release Text Follows


Companies to Usher in New Era of Massively Multiplayer Gaming in 2005

LOS ANGELES– At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Atari (Nasdaq:ATAR) and Turbine today jointly announced plans to bring Wizards of the Coast’s incredibly popular gaming universe, “Dungeons & Dragons”® (“D&D”®), to the world of massively multiplayer games with “Dungeons & Dragons® Online.” This innovative online role-playing game will be the first project developed, funded and run by Turbine Entertainment, creators of the critically acclaimed “Asheron’s Call” and “Asheron’s Call 2.” “Dungeons & Dragons Online” will provide players with the definitive online “Dungeons & Dragons” experience, complete with dramatic dungeon crawling, terrifying monster combat and challenging puzzles, character advancement and guild-based power struggles.

“We’ve been looking for perfect opportunities to enter into the world of massively multiplayer online gaming and there is no fantasy gaming brand with more recognition than ‘Dungeons & Dragons,’” said Bruno Bonnell, chairman and CEO of Atari. “The key to a productive business model for online gaming is having quality content that consumers will pay for. ‘Dungeons & Dragons Online’ will build on the huge amount of established content in the ‘D&D’ worlds. It has the potential to be that killer online app…that breakthrough title that sets a new standard for the medium.”

Slated for release in 2005, “Dungeons & Dragons Online” is centered on robust character advancement, challenging dungeon combat, meaningful guild politics and territorial control over major portions of the game world. Players choose and develop a character based on some of the iconic races associated with “D&D,” including Humans, Elves and Halflings, as well as classes such as Fighters, Clerics, Rogues, and Wizards — after which they can socialize, find quests, group together and equip themselves for future battles.

“‘Dungeons & Dragons’ is the ultimate fantasy role-playing game. It has introduced more people to game playing than any other title and has spawned hosts of imitators and admirers,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO, Turbine Entertainment. “The social backbone of ‘D&D’ gaming — groups of friends creating adventures and worlds to explore together — along with its rich fiction, immense monster bestiary, and complex character development make it a natural for the next generation of massively multiplayer game.”

“Dungeons & Dragons Online” will let players travel alone or in parties as they explore the seemingly endless dungeon complexes found beneath the world. Through the dungeons, players will engage in physical and magical combat with hideous foes straight from the pages of the “Monster Manual”(TM) rulebook. Battle will be challenging, fast-paced, and easy to control with a wealth of unique weapon effects and character movements, as well as specific monster behaviors designed to keep combat both tactical and action packed.

About Turbine Entertainment

Turbine Entertainment Software Corp. is a leading provider of online subscription entertainment. Both a creative and technological innovator, Turbine is revolutionizing how stories are told and engaging players within a central role-playing experience. The company’s proprietary engine, TTE(TM), has produced some of the most sophisticated 3D graphics available in the world, creating such memorable titles as “Asheron’s Call,” “Asheron’s Call: Dark Majesty,” and “Asheron’s Call 2.” Formed in 1994 and employing over a hundred employees, Turbine is the largest and oldest online studio in New England. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.turbinegames.com.

About Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is the worldwide market share leader in the trading card game and tabletop roleplaying game categories. A leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products, the company holds an exclusive patent on the method of playing trading card games (TCGs) and produces the world’s best-selling “Pokemon”® and “Magic: The Gathering”® TCGs. Publisher of adventure games, family card and board games and electronic media products, Wizards of the Coast is also one of the world’s premier book publishers of fantasy series fiction. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast® website at www.wizards.com.

About Atari

New York-based Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATAR) develops interactive games for all platforms and is one of the largest third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software in the U.S. The Company’s 1,000 titles include hard-core, genre-defining games such as “Driver”(TM), “Enter the Matrix”(TM), “Neverwinter Nights”(TM), “Stuntman”(TM), “Test Drive”®, “Unreal® Tournament 2003,” and “Unreal® Championship”; and mass-market and children’s games such as “Backyard Sports”(TM), “Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues”(TM) and “Dora the Explorer”(TM), “Civilization”®, “Dragon Ball Z”® and “RollerCoaster Tycoon”®. Atari, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext 5257), the largest interactive games publisher in Europe. For more information, visit www.atari.com.

Pokemon is a registered trademark of Nintendo.

Wizards of the Coast, “Magic: The Gathering,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “D&D,” and “Monster Manual” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast Inc. (C)2003 Wizards.

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