Walt Disney's original animation studio is in the process of being restored, and you can get in on the action. A live Webcast documenting the restoration of the Kansas City, Missouri building where the Laugh-O-Gram Studios, Walt Disney's original animation studio, was housed is now online. The not-for-profit organization Thank You, Walt Disney, Inc. is spearheading the renovation in an attempt to return the building to its 1920s condition, including animation equipment present when Laugh-O-Gram films operated out of the second floor.
Interactive software publisher TDK Mediactive, Inc. and DreamWorks SKG have extended their exclusive video game license agreement for the SHREK franchise, including the SHREK sequel. The agreement is worldwide for all current game platforms. According to TDK, the worldwide sales of SHREK interactive titles have been highly successful, exceeding 1 million units across four platforms (Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color and PC CD-ROM). Additionally, most of the titles are available in six languages and are currently available in North and South America, Europe and Australia.
Sony Online Entertainment Inc. is developing EVERQUEST II, an upgrade to the existing popular online multi-player game. Using a new in-house 3D engine that takes advantage of a wide variety of recent technological advances in 3D hardware and software such as per pixel lighting, dynamic environment mapping, and a fully programmable surface shader system, the game graphics will be upgraded and new features will be added including the ability to own real estate, ride horses, command ships and experience increased character customization.
As part of their master publishing agreement with Nickelodeon, interactive software publisher THQ Inc. is in development on FAIRLY ODDPARENTS! for Game Boy Advance. Based on the Nickelodeon animated program starring Timmy Turner and his trouble-making, magical godparents, FAIRLY ODDPARENTS! for Game Boy Advance is scheduled to ship November 2002. The player will control Timmy, who enters the world of his favorite comic book hero, the Crimson Chin.
TDK Mediactive, Inc. has signed an exclusive three-year, renewable worldwide licensing agreement with Jim Henson Interactive, a division of The Jim Henson Company. TDK now has exclusive rights to develop and publish games based on many of the Muppet characters including Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear for next-generation consoles, Game Boy Advance and PC platforms. TDK will reveal their gaming plans for the Muppet characters at the E3 Expo, May 22-24, 2002.
Interactive entertainment publisher Infogrames, Inc. will ship its first DRAGON BALL Z video game for Game Boy Advance, DRAGON BALL Z: LEGACY OF GOKU on May 14, 2002. The popular DRAGON BALL Z series airs in the U.S. on Cartoon Network, averaging more than 1.5 million viewers per show. The new game encapsulates the show into an interactive experience that puts the DRAGON BALL Z world under control of the player. Developed by Webfoot Technologies, Inc., DRAGON BALL Z: THE LEGACY OF GOKU will be available nationwide on May 15, 2002 for a suggested retail price of $29.99.
Seamus Blackley, co-creator of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, resigned Monday, April 22, 2002, less than a week after the company slashed prices on the game console in Europe and Australia. REUTERS reported Blackley intends to launch a new game-industry startup and says his resignation was not related to Xbox's sluggish sales. But just six weeks after its debut, Microsoft has reduced prices for the Xbox game console in Europe and Australia. Effective April 26, 2002, the Xbox will sell in Europe for 299 euros (US$266) or 199 pounds (US$288), and in Australia for A$399 (US$215).
Entertainment publisher TDK Mediactive, Inc. and Mattel, Inc. are releasing video games based on the 1980s animated series ROBOTECH. In ROBOTECH: BATTLECRY for the PlayStation2, Xbox and GameCube, and ROBOTECH: THE MACROSS SAGA for Game Boy Advance the player pilots the Veritech Fighter, a giant transformable mechanized robot that can convert into a jet fighter, a 40-foot tall humanoid robot and a combination of both. Each transformation mode offers new movement options, special abilities or weapons.
NewKidCo International Inc. has entered into a worldwide multi-year agreement with Nickelodeon to publish video games based on the Nick Jr. show DORA THE EXPLORER. The agreement grants NewKidCo the rights to create interactive products for all leading video game systems. The series follows Dora, a young Latina who lives inside a computer and uses her knowledge of English and Spanish to communicate with her friends, overcome obstacles and reach her goals. The series currently airs 11 times a week, both on Nick Jr. and as part of CBS' weekend programming.
Universal Interactive, Inc. has shipped THE SCORPION KING: SWORD OF OSIRIS, an action-adventure game for Game Boy Advance. The game is based on Universal Pictures' THE SCORPION KING starring The Rock, and will be in stores to coincide with the film's theatrical release on April 19, 2002. Developed for the Game Boy Advance by southern California-based WayForward Technologies, THE SCORPION KING: SWORD OF OSIRIS is an action-adventure game where players step into The Rock's role as the Scorpion King to defeat more than 30 new enemies on a quest to retrieve the Sword of Osiris.
Game publisher THQ has been named the worldwide exclusive interactive game licensee for some of Marvel Enterprises' most popular comics properties including CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE PUNISHER and NICK FURY. The all-inclusive relationship grants THQ rights to all classic TV and film versions of each of the properties for every viable game system as well as PC, through 2007. The two companies also announced they will collaborate on the upcoming comic book series, THE CALL.
Venice, California-based Max Ink Café (MIC) recently completed the game cinematics for DRAGON RAGE, the newly released PlayStation2 game console for game developer 3DO. MIC created seven movies totaling 10 minutes of animation, integrating live-action digital video footage of the ocean, a sunset and fire with pure CG environments and matte paintings that appear in the cinematics.
Gullane Entertainment has signed a deal with educational products developer LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. to create THOMAS & FRIENDS interactive storybooks. THOMAS THE REALLY USEFUL ENGINE will be created for the "LeapPad" learning system and will include curriculum-based activities that are integrated into each page of the story. This title is part of LeapFrog's pre-reading series of books and is geared toward children in pre-kindergarten through first grade. The second title, THOMAS AND THE SCHOOL TRIP, will be developed for the "My First LeapPad" learning system.
ANIMAL HOSPITAL, an irreverent new animated series about an animal psychiatric hospital, has debuted on Icebox.com and the first six episodes may be viewed for free. Described by creator Dan Bell as "R. Crumb meets ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with a touch of ANIMAL FARM thrown in," ANIMAL HOSPITAL features the voiceover talent of Dana Carvey, Steven Weber, Caroline Rhea, Mo Gaffney and Paul Hipp. Check it out at www.icebox.com.
Catch the latest theatrical trailer for SPIDER-MAN exclusively on the Internet. Premiering at www.sony.com/Spider-Man beginning Wednesday, March 27, 2002 at 9:00 am (PT) the QuickTime trailer will offer the final glimpse of the film prior to its debut on May 3, 2002. The trailer, which is being made available on the Internet prior to its theatrical screening, features new footage showcasing the films visual effects as Spider-Man patrols the city, using his webshooters to swing from rooftop to rooftop.
Interactive entertainment publisher Electronic Arts has entered into a publishing and distribution partnership with Square Co., Ltd. for FINAL FANTASY X in Asia Pacific. The deal grants EA the rights to distribute FINAL FANTASY X INTERNATIONAL for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. FINAL FANTASY X was released in July 2001 in Japan and December 2001 in North America.
On March 14, 2002 Microsoft Corp. debuted its next-generation game console Xbox in Europe and Australia. A total of 20 games were available at the time of the launch, with an additional 40 scheduled to be available by the end of June 2002. The launch day game lineup included the Microsoft Game Studio releases HALO, PROJECT GOTHAM RACING and ODDWORLD: MUNCH'S ODDYSEE. Xbox is now on sale in Australia, the United Kingdom and across Europe for a suggested retail price of $649 Australian and 479 Euro or £299.
Interactive entertainment developer THQ Inc. has gained interactive publishing rights to HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE, Nickelodeon's animated feature film based on the TV show, HEY ARNOLD! In HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE for Game Boy Advance, players assume the role of Arnold as he rallies his friends and relatives to stop an unsavory businessman from tearing down their neighborhood to build a Super Beeper Emporium. Players must help Arnold find and organize his friends so that they can complete certain tasks on different levels.
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.