Ubisoft has announced an exclusive long-term licensing deal with the US Army, which gives the French publisher the right to develop and publish games based on the successful America's Army PC FPS title. Ubisoft plans to release an America's Army title on consoles in summer 2005, emulating the feel and features of the PC titles.
The announcement marks the first time the US Army has exclusively licensed its 'brand' to a games publisher, and gives Ubi behind-the-scenes access to the army's vast resources. The publisher's press release doesn't make any mention of a developer, but we'd expect to hear more in the coming months, perhaps at E3, although America's Army is absent from Ubi's recently announced product line-up for the Los Angeles-based trade show.
The US Army's Colonel Casey Wardynski, originator and director of the America's Army project, expressed his pleasure at the announcement. "We are pleased to be working with Ubisoft to bring the America's Army game to console for our Soldiers who are stationed abroad and for our fans around the globe," he said in a statement. "Ubisoft has extensive experience in producing best-selling military games and we're looking forward to getting their developers in the field with our Soldiers."
Ubisoft's veepee of publishing Jay Cohen had another take on it. "When you play a sports game you want to play the game from the official league," he argued, "and now, when you play an Army action game, you'll be able to play the undisputed leader." Presumably he's referring to the America's Army game, rather than the US Army itself...
Meanwhile, rumours that the console versions will include a unique version of capture the flag in which neither side can find the flag despite constant assurances that it's there, honest, are so far unconfirmed.