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In addition to the announcement, here is the official press release in its entirety:
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Atari and Turbine today jointly announced plans to bring Wizards of the Coast's incredibly popular gaming universe, "Dungeons & Dragons"Â® ("D&D"Â®), to the world of massively multiplayer games with "Dungeons & DragonsÂ® 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.