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Sega gets the force

LucasArts will create games for Dreamcast

George Lucas’ vidgame arm LucasArts Entertainment said Monday it will create a series of titles for the Sega Dreamcast vidgame console, with the first, “Star Wars: Episode I Racer,” to be released this spring.

Under its current deal with Nintendo, LucasArts is developing its third agreed-upon “Star Wars” gaming title for the N64 console, but under the Dreamcast pact, it is not tied to a specific number of titles it must create nor does it have a deadline for them.

Sega currently ranks No. 3, behind Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s N64, among vidgame console makers. The deal with LucasArts should entice more buyers to plunk down $199 for the 128-bit, Internet-ready console and $50 for gaming titles and help Sega take a bigger stake of a $7 billion biz.

The PC and Nintendo N64 versions of “Racer” proved lucrative as they became major million-unit sellers upon release last spring.

Company last month announced its second major vidgame franchise, netting Eidos Interactive’s ultrapopular “Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation” for the platform.

Whether LucasArts releases a second Sega title before the end of the year has yet to be determined, a LucasArts spokesman said.

The photo-realistic “Racer” is based on the high-speed pod race sequence in “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and features the voice of Jake Lloyd, who portrays Anakin Skywalker, as well as sound effects and soundtrack from the pic.

Players will be able to take advantage of the Sega Dreamcast Network to post high scores to the Internet.

” ‘Star Wars: Racer’ lets players relive all the speed and exhilaration of the film’s do-or-die pod-racing sequence,” said Tom Byron, product marketing manager for LucasArts. “Sega Dreamcast allows us to achieve a high level of realism that convincingly immerses game players.”

“We are pleased to welcome LucasArts aboard as a third-party publisher for Sega Dreamcast and are excited to see their debut on the system with such a stellar title as ‘Star Wars: Episode I Racer,’ ” said Neal Robison, Sega of America group director for third party. “We look forward to additional titles from LucasArts that continue to take videogaming to the next level.”

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