NEWS - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Eidos Adds Some Months Onto 25 To Life

Eidos Gives 25 to Life Several More Months Eidos’ urban action title 25 to Life is no longer a 2005 title. The "Cops and Robbers" game has now been assigned a vague "2006" release date, and some in the industry believe that parent company SCi is deliberately avoiding any controversy the game might create upon release until their restructuring with Eidos is completed. Eidos announced today that they have delayed the release of their urban shooter 25 to Life into 2006, with no new release date given. The game had originally been scheduled to ship for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC this October. Eidos gave no specific reason for pushing the "first true Cops and Robbers game" back, other than "after business review" the company decided to reevaluate its release calendar. "Following the recent management change and restructure, Eidos is able to reevaluate its calendar of releases giving us the opportunity to make changes in the best interest of the business," stated Bill Gardner, CEO of U.S. Publishing. "It is in light of this review that we have decided to move the ship date for 25 to Life from October 2005 into next year." [ "... I assure you that we will market this [title] appropriately, as is required by both the first parties and the ESA," Bill Gardner, CEO of U.S. Publishing, Eidos ] This is now the third highly anticipated game in Eidos’ lineup that has seen a delay since the publisher was acquired by SCi Games earlier this year. Both Tomb Raider: Legend and Hitman: Blood Money were to have shipped along with 25 to Life this fall to form a solid holiday lineup for Eidos. Some in the industry are already suggesting that parent company SCi made Eidos delay 25 to Life because the British publisher doesn’t want to have to deal with the added controversy the title would bring in the midst of company restructuring. Although GTA has certainly been the #1 scapegoat for violence among youth in the mainstream press, Eidos’ 25 to Life has all the markings of a perfect target for anti-game activists. The game allows players to take on the role of either a gangster or police officer and because it portrays some of the worst elements of gang violence, such as using human beings as shields, killing police officers, attacking people with a variety of lethal and non-lethal weapons, politicians are already preparing to point their fingers at the game, proclaiming that it will magically transform children into thugs and murderers. In fact, as early as June of this year Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked retailers to not stock 25 to Life upon its release. And Schumer even went as far as to ask that Sony and Microsoft cancel their respective licensing agreements with Eidos. "It’s the worst in a series of violent and gruesome games that lower the common denominator of decency," said Schumer. "25 to Life makes other controversial games like Grand Theft Auto look like ’Romper Room’." At the time, Schumer presumably was basing his judgment on what others had been telling him or on a brief preview trailer, since the game was still months away from release. We asked Bill Gardner in a prior interview if he’s worried about the controversy surrounding 25 to Life, but he did not seem overly concerned. "... I assure you that we will market this appropriately, as is required by both the first parties and the ESA. It does not concern me that the product has generated controversy, but at the same time, I do not like to see hysteria generated over a product that has not been released to the trades. Let’s all get some more information and make rational comments and decisions. It is, after all, a game," he told GameDAILY BIZ. You can tell that Eidos is taking every step to make sure people understand this game is not intended for children. In today’s press release, Eidos says, "25 To Life is an ESRB-rated Mature (M) entertainment title created for adults that gives the player the ability to experience the lifestyle of law enforcement officers and a criminal attempting to end his life of crime." This is one of the first times that this editor has seen a publisher make sure to state that a game is "created for adults" in its campaign.

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