Big Idea Productions, creators of the direct-to-video children's series VEGGIETALES, has teamed with interactive entertainment publisher ValuSoft, to create and distribute three new interactive PC CD-ROM games. Based on the VEGGIETALES series, each interactive game allows players to join their favorite VEGGIETALES characters including Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, to play games and complete projects. The first title, THE MYSTERY OF VEGGIE ISLAND, will be available on September 15, 2002.
If you haven't already, whet your appetite for Chris Wedge's feature film ICE AGE by visiting its "cool" Website at www.iceagemovie.com. 20th Century Fox and Internet consulting and development firm Genex have partnered on the site, which gives users an introduction to and interaction with the key characters from the film. The ICE AGE site chronicles the adventures of Scrat, a sabertooth squirrel who needs the help of online players to locate acorns, his key to surviving the Ice Age.
Marvel's popular comic book character DAREDEVIL will soon come to life on next generation console systems. Interactive entertainment publisher Encore, Inc. has signed an exclusive, five-year, worldwide agreement with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. to publish action-adventure games based on the blind superhero. The game's release will coincide with the December 2002 premiere of the feature film DAREDEVIL starring Ben Affleck.
Microsoft Corp. will provide a one-day tutorial on March 19, 2002 called "Xbox Unplugged," at the 16th annual Game Developers Conference (GDC), March 19 - 23, in San Jose, California. This sponsored tutorial is designed for professionals in the business of creating games, but new to the Xbox. The tutorial teaches developers, artists, sound designers and producers the nuts and bolts of Xbox, and explains how to best harness the capabilities of the video game system.
Game developer The Collective, Inc. is working with LucasArts to develop and create the next INDIANA JONES game. The game is expected to release in fall 2002 and will be available on a variety of next generation console platforms and PC. The Collective's work on the recently released BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER game for Xbox sealed the deal for LucasArts said president Simon Jeffrey. "The Collective brings considerable technological and development expertise that will greatly benefit Indiana Jones, one of our most important brands," Jeffrey stated.
BRB Internacional has signed a strategic deal with Queen Bee Interactive (QBI) to develop interactive programming for various platforms and digital broadcasts. BRB is an independent and privately owned Spanish animation company with 30 years experience in the audio-visual production, distribution and licensing sectors. QBI specializes in the production and development of interactive applications, projects and interactive TV programs. The company has previously collaborated with various international media outlets including AOL/TimeWarner.
Hollywood, California's boutique animation house Super 78 created the animated cinematics for the recently released videogame titles PAC-MAN PARTY and PAC-MAN WORLD 2 for Namco and game developer Mass Media. The titles feature 8 1/2 minutes of animation by Super 78 featuring some of the game's popular characters including Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man. Creative director Brent Young's interest in video games helped Super 78 conceive and complete the project.
Three months after its North American debut, the Xbox video game system launched in Japan on February 22, 2002. Bill Gates was on hand to present the first Xbox sold, and many gamers camped out overnight in the Shibuya District of Tokyo to make sure they were among the first in the country to get their hands on a console. Xbox is now on sale at thousands of Japanese retail outlets, and 12 game titles are available including PROJECT GOTHAM RACING, TENKU, JET SET RADIO FUTURE and DEAD OR ALIVE 3. A total of 22 titles are scheduled to be available in Japan by the end of March.
Cartoon Network will launch three pay-to-play games based on the SCOOBY-DOO cartoon series in early summer 2002, to coincide with the release of the SCOOBY DOO movie. Cartoon Network has partnered with mobile entertainment service provider Digital Bridges Ltd., to launch the Scooby mobile games and others based on Cartoon Network characters, throughout North America and Europe. The titles will encompass the entire range of current mobile gaming technologies available today including SMS, WAP, Java and BREW, allowing the vast majority of mobile handset owners the chance to enjoy the games.
EMI recording artist and virtual band Gorillaz has teamed with media company Static 2358 to develop interactive TV content. A new game called Zombie Kong, featuring all four of the animated band members, will debut to more than 5.7 million digital satellite homes in the U.K., Friday, February 22, 2002 on Static's interactive television channel PlayJam. Game play involves viewers using their TV remote to control Gorillaz band member Noodle and help her find her way through 12 different levels.
Kids videogame publisher THQ and Nickelodeon have an extensive videogame lineup for 2002 featuring popular Nickelodeon shows. In addition to games based on Nickelodeon's television series RUGRATS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and ROCKET POWER, THQ will also offer an interactive adaptation of Nickelodeon's upcoming theatrical release THE WILD THORNBERRYS and games based on the JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS movie and upcoming JIMMY NEUTRON television series.
One of Japan's top animation studios, Production I.G., has launched a new English-language Website as part of an international campaign aimed at raising people's awareness of anime, and introducing the works and history of Production I.G. The new site includes news, updates, detailed descriptions and pictures from past I.G. films as well current projects.
Thanks to THQ, STAR WARS fans will be able to play their Game Boys while waiting in line to buy tickets for EPISODE II, and not feel like theyre missing out on the action. THQ Inc. will be releasing STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES for Game Boy Advance in spring 2002 to coincide with the release of the Lucasfilm feature film. The game will be the only one that follows the story line of the new movie. Players will assume the role of three different characters: Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
NewKidCo International Inc. has signed a three-year agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P. to publish interactive entertainment software for next-generation gaming systems based on the classic characters and stories of Dr. Seuss. The games, targeted to children ages six and up, will be distributed to all major retail accounts throughout North America, with distribution into Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Rim planned as well. The first title, scheduled for release in fall of 2002, will be developed for Game Boy Advance.
Disney Interactive has launched a new publishing label called Plaid Banana Entertainment to create a complete line of software in the kid's adventure genre. Disney is teaming with Hulabee Entertainment, a digital media company established by Humongous Entertainment co-founders Shelley Day and Ron Gilbert. Under the agreement, Disney Interactive will handle all marketing and distribution for Plaid Banana Entertainment titles.
Twelve new Wallace and Gromit short films will soon be available on the Internet. Aardmans Nick Park is in production on the 1-minute films, each featuring a unique Wallace-created invention, demonstrated as usual by the ever-patient Gromit. The film series, entitled WALLACES WORKSHOP, was inspired by a similar series of photographic vignettes Park was commissioned to create for the U.S. magazine EXPLORE. The films will be available online beginning Fall 2002.
Video game publisher Activision will be adapting its successful property RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN for the PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox video game systems. The PC version of the game has shipped more than one million units and topped sales charts worldwide since its release in December 2001. Activision promises that the next generation version of the game will feature unique design and technical modifications that take full advantage of each platform's advanced technology.
The interactive division of Toronto-based DECODE Entertainment is going into production on two Websites based on animated series. In addition to creating a French-language version of UNDERGRADS Online, they will also be developing the interactive world of GIRLSTUFF BOYSTUFF. UNDERGRADS Online is the Website DECODE developed alongside the animated series that currently airs on MTV and Teletoon. Co-produced by DECODE and MTV Animation, UNDERGRADS follows four male friends as they attempt to maintain their camaraderie while struggling to survive their first year at different colleges.
Game developer THQ Inc. and Motorola, Inc. have teamed to develop a suite of games for Motorola's current and next-generation handsets. As a result of this agreement, the companies will introduce new wireless games for Motorola mobile phones with Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) technology. The first four games, WWF MOBILE MADNESS, TETRIS, INTELLIVISION'S ASTROSMASH and MOTOGP will launch in North America in mid-January 2002 with worldwide distribution to follow throughout the year.
Microsoft Corp.s future-generation game console Xbox will go on sale at retail outlets throughout Japan on February 22, 2002 at a price of 34,800 yen (US$265). 50,000 Xbox Special Edition consoles designed exclusively for the Japanese market will also be available. The special console will be greenish-black with a translucent textured casing. The jewel portion of the box will have a silver logo with black lettering. A silver-plated key chain with an engraved serial number and Bill Gates signature will be included with the console as well.
Square Electronic Arts FINAL FANTASY X game for PlayStation 2 was number one in U.S. sales across all video game software categories in its first week of release, according to NPD Funworld Video Game Data. FINAL FANTASY X shipped to retailers nationwide on December 18, just in time for the Christmas holiday. In Japan, FINAL FANTASY X was released on July 19, 2001 and sold through 90% of the 2.14 million units it shipped in the first four days. It is the first PlayStation 2 title to reach the 2 million unit mark.
San Jose, California-based entertainment software developer BAM! Entertainment has reached an agreement with Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Consumer Products to publish video games based on the animated series SAMURAI JACK. BAM! Entertainment entered into a strategic relationship with Cartoon Network in 2000 to create video games based on the television shows THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, DEXTER'S LABORATORY and YOGI BEAR. SAMURAI JACK debuted on Cartoon Network in August 2001 and has attracted an audience of all ages.
Nintendo will showcase its GameCube video console at Milia 2002, weeks before its initial European launch. The video game set-top was released in the United States and Japan in 2001 and has sold nearly 1.5 million units in North America alone. Nintendo will preview GameCube along with 20 new games including LUIGIS MANSION, PIKMIN, STAR WARS ROGUE SQUADRON 2: ROGUE LEADER and SONIC ADVENTURE 2. Milia visitors will receive the exclusive European preview of GameCube at the Milia 2002 conference held February 48, 2002 at the Palais de Festivals in Cannes, France.
Previously available for PlayStation2 and Xbox, Electronic Arts THE SIMPSONS ROAD RAGE can now be played on the Nintendo GameCube. Developed by Radical Entertainment and co-published with Fox Interactive, THE SIMPSONS ROAD RAGE is a witty and wild arcade-style racing game set in the town of Springfield. Players can take the wheel as their favorite Simpsons character and wreak havoc through six expansive Springfield neighborhoods with the ultimate goal of buying back the Transit Corporation from the diabolical Mr. Burns.
The 2nd annual Sundance Online Film Festival featuring animation, live-action, documentary, interactive and new form shorts is available for viewing until January 20, 2002. Selected works of animation from the Online Film Festival will also screen on January 15 and January 19 at the Sundance Film Festival Animation Spotlight: Online on Screen. The screening will be a compilation of the online animated works shown on a big screen and will feature a Q&A with the filmmakers.