With further licensing deals to be announced in due course, Rugby World Cup 2011 will be the authentic rugby gaming experience this summer.
Rugby World Cup 2011 is the official game of the 2011 tournament in New Zealand and HB Studios and 505 Games have been granted the exclusive rights for the tournament's official game by Rugby World Cup Limited.
"From a developer perspective, working with an official license always opens doors on the way to creating a more immersive gaming experience," commented Alastair Jarvis, General Manager at HB Studios.
"At HB, we feel uniquely placed when it comes to rugby game development, and tying up a deal such as this only makes our dream of creating the definitive, authentic rugby title achievable."
The first rugby title on this generation of consoles, Rugby World Cup 2011 will feature the home of Irish rugby as one of its many showpiece stadia.
Many player likenesses for the Ireland squad have been secured and implemented into the game with HD presentation detail extending to the inclusion of thigh tape, wrist tape, finger tape and scrum caps.
Rugby World Cup 2011 will challenge players to pick from the 20 Rugby World Cup participating teams and attempt to lead their team through the pool phase, and progress to the final with the opportunity to lift the prestigious Webb Ellis Cup.
National rivalries, venues and player personalities are perfectly captured as participants will fight for the pride of their nation in either solo play or with up to three other players in local multiplayer matches.
For the first time, HB Studios will give players the chance to fight for the glory of their country online by challenging other players to one-on-one matches on Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network and PlayStation® Network.
"As with any sports title, we feel authenticity is key with Rugby World Cup 2011, and with that in mind, the involvement of the IRFU was an essential element of this title," commented Ian Howe, President, 505 Games.
"With further partnerships yet to be announced, we're confident rugby fans from around the world will be impressed with the roster of likenesses and stadia within the game."
Padraig Power, IRFU Commercial and Marketing Director, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this project. The Irish rugby brand is very strong at the moment and this game brings our team, our brand and our sport to new markets and new supporters. We hope all Irish rugby supporters enjoy it immensely!"
Rugby World Cup 2011 will be available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system on August 26.