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America's Army: Rise of a Soldier

Gamers were never supposed to see this title. Developed exclusively as a training tool for the US Army, it was used by troops across the States to hone their skills and learn the art of warfare. Developed with the assistance of Colonel Casey Wardynski (who describes gamers' response to the title since it went public as a "worldwide phenomenon"), America's Army was initially launched as a PC title.

Now, with Ubisoft aboard, the console version of America's Army will be cracked wide open, with access to all manner of Army secrets and tools available for the development team to get stuck into. According to Colonel Wardynski, Ubisoft will have "unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the vast resources of the U.S. Army". This will no doubt include access to the training regimes, manoeuvres and weapons handling, but the game will also concentrate heavily on other, less obvious factors of war. We'll have to concentrate on our character's progression through his career, steering him in the right direction and making the best choices for him (like learning to duck, for example) until he reaches the ranks of a Special Forces team leader. Our career path will never be defined either, so we could choose subtle, precision-based careers as marksmen, or go full-blown and launch into a career as grenadier.

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We'll also have to watch a squad's morale and keep them motivated throughout sorties, just as US soldiers are taught to do during real life combat training. To achieve this, Ubisoft will actually be sending its developers into the field with real soldiers to watch and copy their movements and actions. This will help to implement those ultra-realistic combat scenarios, strategic planning decisions, and also to get a grasp on the teamwork aspect of America's Army, a matter Colonel Wardynski describes as "mandatory to succeed in army missions".

There'll also be the tasty matter of multiplayer scenarios we'll be able to tackle. Up to 16 players online can train and fight together, and although the specifics of what multiplayer modes will actually be available are vague, we do know we'll be able to import our rank into a game, enabling ?us to command whole squads of disobedient Yankee teens whether they like it or not. Insert evil cackle here.

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