Saturday, June 27, 2009

Montreal's Ubisoft Collaborates With Cameron...

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According to reports from Big Game Hunter, the Montreal studio of French video game developer/publishers Ubisoft are collaborating with Canadian film director James "Aliens" Cameron on a new game crafted as an extension of his upcoming tent-pole feature "Avatar."

"Ubisoft didn't want to just put something flashy on the screen, they wanted a soul behind the videogame," said Cameron.

"The world of the 'Avatar' game is, in some ways, considerably richer than what you are going to see in the film."

"We are learning from the best," said Yannis Mallet, head of Ubisoft's Montreal studio.

"The film and videogame industries are on lines that are not quite parallel, so let's anticipate that the talents are converging and building collaboration, so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

Ubisoft was free to create its own characters, vehicles and weapons for the video game, as well as embellish settings on the fictional moon 'Pandora' where the film story is set.

Inspired by author Edgar Rice "Tarzan" Burroughs' "John Carter Of Mars" fantasy book series, "Avatar" is set during the 22nd century on a small moon called 'Pandora', inhabited by ten foot blue humanoids called 'Na'vi'. Humans cannot breathe Pandoran air, so genetically engineered human/Na'vi hybrids known as 'Avatars' are controlled via a mental link.

Cameron said he wrote "Avatar" 14 years ago but the technology to realize his vision didn't exist until now.

In 2008, Ubisoft bought Montreal-based Canadian special effects firm Hybride, which worked on animated action films "300" and "Sin City."

In the film, a paralyzed Marine named 'Jake Sully' (Sam Worthington) volunteers to exist as an Avatar on Pandora, falls in love with a Na'vi princess and becomes caught up in the conflict between her people and the human military consuming their world.

According to Cameron, the film is 60% computer-generated elements, and 40% live action.

To create the human mining colony on Pandora, production designers surveyed the 'Noble Clyde Boudreaux' drilling rig in the Gulf Of Mexico, June 2007, photographing, measuring and filming every aspect of the rig, replicated on-screen with photorealistic CGI.

The music score for "Avatar", is composed by James Horner, his third collaboration with Cameron after "Aliens" and "Titanic". Horner recorded parts of the score with a small chorus singing in the alien language 'Na'vi', as well as working with Wanda Bryant, an ethnomusicologist to create a music 'culture' for the alien race.

Ubisoft also revealed that the company will be working on projects with directors Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg on a new "Tintin" game, timed to the release of that feature in 2011...