I haven’t had a fond rugby videogame experience since E.T.’s Rugby League – and I should point out that I hadn’t had any prior to that either. Rugby Union, in particular, seems like a tough nut to crack, with very little praise to be found for any of them (some people seem to like Jonah Lomu Rugby, but not I.) Neither Sidhe or their financier, HES, are deterred though, announcing Rugby Challenge for the PC and consoles coming Q3 2011. The immediate reactions on our own forums seems tepid, and selling a rugby videogame to the masses will certainly be the real “challenge”, but at least in terms of quality, Sidhe has earned some trust through how their recent titles have turned out. Though I still don’t get why Blood Drive has been banned… what’s it got that Dead Rising 1 & 2 don’t have, gore-wise?

Oh, here’s the press release:

SYDNEY, Australia – November 15, 2010 – Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd (HES) announced today the development of Rugby Challenge for console and PC, by Wellington based games developer Sidhe.  The rugby union based title seeks to capture the attention of a growing number of rugby fans around the world.
“HES has a strong history of publishing sports based videogames” said David Robles, Business Development Manager for HES. “The sport of rugby is a great fit for us to build on that foundation, and we are excited by the long term potential for it as part of our growing portfolio”.
Rugby Challenge will include the All Blacks, ITM Cup, and Investec Super Rugby amongst other licensed teams and competitions, and will feature multiplayer online play, a multi-year franchise mode, extensive customisation options, and dynamic real-time commentary.
New Zealand Rugby Union Commercial Manager Paul Dalton said they were delighted to be able to put their support behind Rugby Challenge.  “We are very excited to be able to now offer fans an authentic gaming experience that includes our key competitions,” he said.
“After achieving success with other sports videogames, we are extremely proud to be taking on the national sport of New Zealand” said Mario Wynands, Managing Director of Sidhe, “This is an exciting time for rugby both within New Zealand and internationally, and it is fantastic to be a part of that”.
Rugby Challenge will release for console and PC in Q3 2011.  More information and ongoing updates about the game can be found at the official website http://www.rugbychallengegame.com

About HESHome Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd (HES) are a Sydney-based firm specialising in the distribution of video game consoles, games and accessories throughout the Australian market. Established in 1984, HES are the exclusive distributors of Mad Catz, Saitek and Tru Blu accessories and games in Australia, including 2003’s record breaking NRL Rugby League for PS2, XBOX and PC. HES also has a video game publishing arm, Tru Blu Entertainment.
About Sidhe
Founded in 1997, Sidhe is an award-winning developer of console, handheld and PC games. The largest game production studio in New Zealand, Sidhe has a proven track record of creating high-quality, mass-market, licensed and original titles for a worldwide audience. The studio has produced more than 20 high-profile titles including the award winning original titles GripShift® and Shatter®, Speed Racer The Videogame, as well as multiple games based on the NRL Rugby League franchise. For more information on Sidhe, please visit: www.sidhe.co.nz

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