Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Big Game Hunter ...

January 24, 2006

Sam "Spider-Man" Raimi and Rob "Xena" Tapert, of Ghost House Pictures have acquired feature film rights to Japanese video game "Siren" from SCE Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment's game development studios for PlayStation platforms.

Michael "300" Gordon will write the screenplay, working with "Siren" game director Keiichiro Toyama.

Ghost House's Raimi and Tapert will produce with Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Vertigo brought the project to Mandate Pictures' Nathan Kahane. Ted Adams of IDW and Rick Privman of JEA will exec produce.

Shooting is expected later this year.

"Siren" is a best selling game in Japan with an upcoming sequel.

The film will focus on an American med school student searching for her missing sister in Japan. She begins her investigation in the remote mountain village of 'Hanuda', finding herself trapped by an unspeakable evil.


January 23, 2006

Games publisher THQ have announced the company's exclusive worldwide rights to develop/publish video games based on the upcoming spy movie "Stormbreaker".

Following award-winning author Anthony Horowitz's series of best-selling 'Alex Rider' books, the movie's cast includes Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Robbie Coltrane and Ewan McGregor.

The video games, developed by Altron for Nintendo DS(TM) and Razorback Developments for Game Boy(R) Advance, are scheduled for a simultaneous worldwide launch with the movie Summer 2006.

"Alex Rider has a huge worldwide following, having sold over nine million books to date," said Jennifer Wyatt-Ambler, senior global brand manager, THQ Inc.

"Our decision to work with THQ to bring the Stormbreaker video game to market was based on the company's vast expertise with leading global licenses," said Peter Samuelson, producer of the film along with his brother Marc Samuelson, Steve Christian and Andreas Grosch.

"We look forward to seeing the brand extended into the video game market and allowing consumers the opportunity to be the martial arts, parachuting, scuba diving, 14-year-old action spy who is Alex Rider."

"Stormbreaker" is scheduled for release in the UK July 21 by Entertainment Film Distributors and in North America August 18 by The Weinstein Company.

In the "Stormbreaker" game, players become 'Alex Rider', as they out-spy evil, featuring third-person 'stealth' game play, racing action, intense fighting and gadget-based mini-games.

For the "Stormbreaker" movie, the first of Anthony Horowitz's six novels about schoolboy special agent Alex Rider, the book was named in a nationwide poll of children as the book they most wanted to see turned into a movie.

"Stormbreaker" is directed by Geoffrey Sax from a screenplay by Anthony Horowitz.


January 23, 2006

According to David Wanetick of the Wall Street Transcript, "Due to the soaring costs of developing video games, the tremendous reach of video games, extended exposure to ads when playing video games, and integration with on-line commerce, 'advergaming' will be a common fixture in video games."

While consumers try to block advertising with spam filters, pop-up blockers, mute buttons and digital recorders, Wanetick said there are sound reasons for consumers' receptivity to advergaming.

One reason is that the appearance of corporate logos makes video games appear more realistic, with gamers driving through virtual towns in which signs for Coca-Cola and Nike appear.

Another driver of advergaming is its tight integration with commerce. Some advergaming companies have arranged agreements with pizza chains whereby gamers can simply click on a banner to have their favorite pizza delivered to them without interrupting game play.

"Advergaming is clearly on a rapid growth trajectory," said Wanetick, projected to generate $4 billion in revenues by the end of 2008.


January 17, 2006

A new "Star Trek" video game is in the works, with Mad Doc Software developing "Star Trek: Legacy" for the PC and the Xbox 360.

"We've always wanted to do a Star Trek game that captures the core Star Trek fantasy," Mad Doc CEO Ian Lane Davis said.

"When you look at the history of Star Trek games, there have been some good games, but we felt we haven't had the chance to make the game the Star Trek fans want until now."

Concentrating primarily on 'space combat', the new game will enable the player to take charge of the 'Enterprise NX-01' before graduating to take control of two main ships.

Players will be able to upgrade via 'Command Points' accrued in battle, adding power to the 'shield' and 'photon torpedoes'.

An eight player online mode for PC/Xbox Live is also being discussed, evolving over three generations commencing with the original 'Kirk/Spock' TV series.


January 10, 2006

4Kids Entertainment, Inc. and The Mirage Group have signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Montreal-based Ubisoft for new games based on the upcoming CGI feature-length "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film being produced by Imagi Animation Studios, to be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company.

Under the Ubisoft agreement, the video games will be available for gaming consoles in conjunction with the film's planned release, early 2007.

The new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie will be the first all CG animated movie in the history of the franchise, deriving its PG-tone from the original comic-book series, expected to be 'grittier' than the previous live action pictures.

"We are excited that the Turtles are returning to the big screen in 2007 and pleased to partner with Ubisoft for the creation of a new movie-based ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' video game," said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" has been an international phenomenon for more than twenty years. The property began as an underground comic book and is now one of the most popular licenses.

The "4Kids" TV show is broadcast in 90 international territories.

"Ubisoft has demonstrated its strong commitment to making quality license-based games and truly understands the spirit of one of the world's most famous children's brands," said Christian Salomon, director of licensing at Ubisoft.

"Ubisoft is thrilled to be bringing the Turtles back in an exciting new adventure that will attract both the first generation of enthusiasts all the way through to the current and future generations of fans."


November 29, 2005

Activision, Inc. has signed an agreement with Spider-Man Merchandising L.P., a limited partnership between Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., to extend its exclusive worldwide publishing rights to the "Spider-Man" motion pictures through 2017.

The license grants Activision the right to publish entertainment software products based on subsequent "Spider-Man" movie sequels or new television series.

Under its current agreement with Spider-Man(R) Merchandising, Activision will develop and publish interactive entertainment games based on Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment, Inc.'s upcoming feature film "Spider-Man 3", set for release May 2007.

To date, Activision has published games based on "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2".

For calendar 2004, "Spider-Man 2" was the #1 movie-based videogame according to NPD Funworld.

"This agreement allows Activision to continue bringing our own brand of interactive magic and vision to this unique, 'evergreen' prroperty ...", said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc.

Spider-Man(R) Merchandising L.P. is a limited partnership between Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. and Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.

Founded in 1979, Activision posted net revenues of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005, maintaining operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands.


November 19, 2005

Video Game winners were announced during the 3rd annual SPIKE TV VIDEO GAME AWARDS 2005 ceremony held at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, CA.

Hosted by Samuel L. "Pulp Fiction" Jackson, the two-hour 'game vs. game' extravaganza premieres on Spike TV Saturday, December 10 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).
"Resident Evil 4" (Capcom) took away the 'Vector Monkey' trophy for 'Game of the Year' and 'Best Graphics'.

Peter Jackson's "King Kong" (Ubisoft) won three awards including, 'Best Performance by a Human -- Male' for Jack Black, 'Best Game Based on a Movie' and 'Best Cast'.

"World of Warcraft" (Blizzard Entertainment) won four awards including 'Best Multiplayer Game' and 'Best PC Game'.

The Spike TV ceremony featured musical performances by 50 Cent, Def Leppard and Missy Elliott and show appearances by Charlize Theron, Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Black, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rock, Vin Diesel, Carson Daly, Donald Faison, Jaime Pressly, Josie Maran, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Carmen Electra, Natasha Bedinfield and Dane Cook, among others.

The show also featured the Television World Premieres of "24: The Game" (2K Games), "Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run" (Midway Games), "Star Wars: Empire of War" (Lucas Arts), "Scarface" (Vivendi Universal) and a 25th anniversary comic tribute to Pac Man (Namco).

The official sponsors of the Spike TV Video Game Awards 2005 are AOL, Burger King Corporation®, Circuit City, Mountain Dew, New Dentyne® Fire Mints, Pontiac, U.S. Air Force and Verizon Wireless V Cast(TM).

Albie Hecht and Casey Patterson are Executive Producers of the show, Greg Sills, Supervising Producer, Magda Liolis, Producer, Scott Fishman, Executive in Charge of Production and Julia Knowles, director.


November 15, 2005

The Majesco Entertainment Company, a provider of digital entertainment products/content, has announced that "Aeon Flux" the video game has shipped for the Xbox(R) and PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment systems.

The game links Peter Chung's MTV 1992-97 animated series with the upcoming feature film opening December 2nd starring Oscar(R) winner Charlize "Monster" Theron.

"We are excited to be partnering with MTV and Terminal Reality to create the first-ever interactive journey into the world of 'Aeon Flux'," said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco.

"With an exciting combination of stealth, speed, beauty, and acrobatic combat, 'Aeon Flux' is the ideal character for a video game," adds Tony Calandra, senior director, MTV Games.

"By creating a compelling story that bridges the ground-breaking animated series to the highly-anticipated upcoming film, we believe we will offer a thrilling experience for gamers and all 'Aeon Flux' fans old and new."

Set in the distant future, "Aeon Flux" the game features a blend of stealth, speed and acrobatic combat.

Assuming the character role of 'Aeon Flux', players employ lethal abilities to disrupt the tyranny that pervades the walled city-state of 'Bregna', ruled by a congress of scientists.

Aeon faithfully serves the 'Monican' rebellion in their efforts to overthrow the 'Breen', while rivals oppose her at every turn and powerful lusts test her loyalties.

Game play features include the voice and likeness of Theron.