Straight from my inbox:
ATARI'S FORGOTTEN REALMS: DEMON STONE BRINGS TOGETHER MAJOR HOLLYWOOD TALENT, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
Patrick Stewart, Michael Clarke Duncan Lend Voice Talent to Video Game; Best-Selling Author R. A. Salvatore to Develop In-Game Story
LOS ANGELES May 24, 2004 Atari today announced it has signed New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore to develop the storyline for its upcoming action adventure video game, Forgotten RealmsÂ®: Demon Stoneâ„¢, which will also feature the extraordinary talents of actors Patrick Stewart and Michael Clarke Duncan, who will lend their voices to two prominent roles in the video game. Demon Stone, which is scheduled for release in Fall 2004, is set in the popular Dungeons & DragonsÂ® world created by Wizards of the Coast. Demon Stone is being developed by Stormfront Studios, creators of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, for the PlayStationÂ®2 computer entertainment system.
(Demon Stone features a classic struggle between the forces of good and evil, and we needed two powerful voice talents to make that conflict real and bring it to life. Patrick Stewart's classic articulation and Michael Clarke Duncan's presence were absolutely perfect as the two opposing sides of that conflict,) said John Hight, executive producer in Atari's Los Angeles studio. (As a best-selling author of numerous Forgotten Realms novels, R. A. Salvatore is uniquely suited to take on this project and his mastery of storytelling will immerse players more deeply in our game.)
Patrick Stewart, who has starred in numerous major theatrical releases, including X-Men, X-2: X-Men United, Conspiracy Theory, as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and feature films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis will give voice to Khelban 'Blackstaff' Aunsun -- a wizard of legendary power and wisdom. Michael Clarke Duncan, who has appeared in feature films that include Daredevil, The Scorpion King, Planet of the Apes and The Green Mile, will provide the voice of Ygorl, the evil Slaad Lord a bloodthirsty conqueror from a mystical realm of chaos.
R. A. Salvatore is a prolific fantasy writer who has penned dozens of novels centered in the Forgotten Realms and other D&D locations, including the Icewind Dale Trilogy, the Dark Elf trilogy, and the Demon Wars. Best known as the creator of the popular Drizzt Do'Urdenâ„¢, one of the fantasy genre's most beloved characters, Salvatore has sold nearly nine million novels to date. His latest novel, The Lone Drow, chronicles the continued adventures of Drizzt in the land of Faerun, and spent 10 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
In Demon Stone, the player directs a party of three characters Fighter, Sorcerer and Rogue. Switching control between characters (on the fly,) the player fights a wide range of enemies, with the other two party members controlled by sophisticated artificial intelligence and ready to return to the player at any time. For example, when the player controls the Fighter, the Sorcerer and Rogue will continue to engage in combat, cast spells and assist the player in defeating all challengers. In many situations, the characters will be able to divide and conquer difficult objectives while the Fighter holds back a horde of Yuan-Ti snakemen with brute force, the Sorcerer supports him with devastating long-ranged magic spells while the rogue sneaks above and behind the enemies for a coup de grace. The player participates seamlessly in each critical moment as the perspective and control switches among the characters, all under user control.
This real-time, on-the-fly character switching design allows Demon Stone to challenge players with innovative and compelling encounters. In true D&D fashion, each of the characters excels at a certain type of gameplay. The Fighter thrives in melee combat, the Sorcerer is excellent at ranged and magical combat and the Rogue excels at jumping, sneaking and disarming traps. Players will be continually tasked with choosing the best character for each challenge, as well as using each character's gameplay specialty to maximum effect.
Demon Stone's intense, cinematic action is set entirely within the visually stunning Forgotten Realms fantasy world. Familiar characters, such as the famous drow Drizzt Do'Urden and the legendary mage Khelban (Blackstaff) Arunsun who assist the party in their struggles; terrifying monsters, including Dragons, Orcs, Slaadi, Yuan-Ti and Trolls; as well as geographical locations straight from the popular D&D campaign setting, will make appearances and serve as backdrops throughout the game. The story of Demon Stone revolves around the adventuring party's unwitting intrusion into an age-old conflict between two warring demonic armies; one led by a Githyanki Princess and the other, a Slaad Lord. After inadvertently releasing both demons back upon the world after eons of imprisonment, the adventurers must embark upon a quest to right this wrong and restore order to the world of Faerun.
Demon Stone is scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 in Fall 2004. Additional information about Demon Stone can be found online at www.demonstone.com.
About Stormfront Studios
Stormfront Studios develops top quality, award-winning entertainment products for PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, and interactive TV, producing both AAA-quality originals and high-profile licensed titles for clients including Atari, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony and AOL. The company's most recent hit is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (PlayStation 2 & Xbox, developed for EA, based on the Peter Jackson Film from New Line Cinema), which has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Founded in 1988, Stormfront has been named to the Inc. 500 list of entrepreneurial companies three times, and the company owns all of the engines and technology in its games. The company is based in San Rafael, California, and is privately held. For more information, visit www.stormfront.com.
About Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is a worldwide leader in the trading card game and tabletop roleplaying game categories, and a leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games and their method of play (TCGs) and produces one of the world's best-selling TCGs, Magic: The GatheringÂ®, as well as the celebrated Dungeons & DragonsÂ® roleplaying game. 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 whose novels have made numerous appearances on The New York Times best-seller list and have sold millions of copies worldwide. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at wizards.com.
About Hasbro, Inc.
Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
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 Driverâ„¢, Enter the Matrixâ„¢, Neverwinter Nightsâ„¢, Stuntmanâ„¢, Test DriveÂ®, UnrealÂ® Tournament 2003, and UnrealÂ® Championship; and mass-market and children's games such as Backyard Sportsâ„¢, Nickelodeon's Blue's Cluesâ„¢ and Dora the Explorerâ„¢, CivilizationÂ®, Dragon Ball ZÂ® and RollerCoaster TycoonÂ®. 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.