CNN is opening a virtual bureau the week of Nov. 5 in SECOND LIFE, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The news network will imbed a version of its i-Reports where eyewitnesses cover the news happening in the virtual world. News, created by the denizens, will be available on kiosks scattered around the game. CNN staffers will also hold news meetings, like a virtual journalism school, to help the fledging cyberjournalists. SECOND LIFE averaged 400,000 to 700,000 users over the last year.
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Toondra.com, the first VOD site devoted to short animated films, are partnering to offer a showcase of international animation. More than 1,000 extracts of short films submitted for the festival's official selection will be available for free on www.toondra.com, and the service will be frequently updated with new extracts. The catalogue of films comes from Animaquid, the database created by the Annecy Festival over its 47 years of existence. Check out www.toondra.com and www.annecy.org.
Konami Digital Ent. announced CASTLEVANIA: THE DRACULA X CHRONICLES is now available in retail stores in North America. Developed exclusively for the PSP, CASTLEVANIA: THE DRACULA X CHRONICLES brings the PC Engine CD game CASTLEVANIA: RONDO OF BLOOD in two different versions to North America for the first time ever -- the original 2D form and an updated version incorporating 3D graphics and new gameplay elements.
D3Publisher of America, Inc. (D3PA) announced that new videogame BEN 10: PROTECTOR OF EARTH, the first-ever interactive title based on Cartoon Network's Emmy-winning animated series, has shipped to retail outlets across North America. BEN 10: PROTECTOR OF EARTH is available for the Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and PSP.
Electronic Arts Inc. announced that THE SIMPSONS GAME has shipped in North America and will ship in Europe on Nov. 2. Created in partnership with 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, 20th Century Fox Television and Gracie Films, THE SIMPSONS GAME features an original script created by the TV show's Emmy Award-winning writers and voiced by the original cast from the TV show.
Activision Inc. has shipped BEE MOVIE GAME and SHREK: OGRES AND DRONKEYS to retail locations nationwide.
BEE MOVIE GAME is based on the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film from creator Jerry Seinfeld. BEE MOVIE GAME allows players to race, chase, fly and blast their way through the adrenaline-fueled world of the feature film and beyond. As the witty and courageous Barry B. Benson, gamers are propelled on an adventure to save the bees' right to produce honey and keep it for themselves.
Starz Media's Manga Entertainment today announced the launch of its new streaming video entertainment website, Manga.com. A unique blend of video, product-related information and other editorial content, the site will offer a customized user experience to satisfy everyone from product-hungry anime-fans to web-video enthusiasts looking for their daily fix of sexy animation.
With the latest videogame title THE LEGEND OF SPYRO: THE ETERNAL NIGHT with voice work from Elijah Wood and Gary Oldman hitting stores this week, The Animation Picture Co. has announced that it has acquired the screen rights from Sierra Ent. and Vivendi Games to SPYRO THE DRAGON, VARIETY reports.
APC will base the CG feature on the recent LEGEND OF SPYRO trilogy of games. Steve and Dan Altiere (DR. DOOLITTLE 4) will write the script.
APC's Dan Chuba, John Davis, Mark Dippe, Brian Manis and Ash Shah are the producers. APC is looking for a director.
Cartoon Network's indefatigable BEN 10 series continued its inexorable march toward planetary dominion as the most recent BEN 10-themed game, SAVAGE PURSUIT, racked up a record-breaking 4.18 million game plays (based on internal Turner Broadcasting statistics) in its debut week on CartoonNetwork.com.
Sony Pictures Imageworks will be demonstrating its work on the upcoming BEOWULF at the 2007 Australian Effects & Animation Festival (AEAF), taking place at the Sydney Convention Centre Nov. 13-15.
CG Supervisor Theodore Bialek will reveal how Imageworks created BEOWULFs stunning imagery. Using the performance capture technique pioneered with THE POLAR EXPRESS, Imageworks created director Robert Zemeckis' version of the eighth-century epic poem.
Interactive publisher/distributor Ubisoft has announced that some of the leading actors from Paramount Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment's upcoming BEOWULF film will participate in the BEOWULF video game. Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Brendan Gleeson and Sebastien Roche will all provide their voices and likenesses for the video game. The reprisal of their film roles in the game marks the actors' first-ever appearance in a video game, and further demonstrates the close collaboration between Ubisoft, Paramount Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment.
For the first time, LOONEY TUNES shorts will be available for download in high definition via Xbox Live. Fifty episodes will launch today with 10 episodes in Spanish.
This move coincides with Microsoft's announcement of Xbox 360 Arcade, a lower-priced version of the game console geared toward families. Microsoft is also adding episodes of THE BACKYARDIGANS, BLUE'S CLUES and ICARLY to its Xbox Live library, in addition to downloadable games such as SHREK-N-ROLL and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: UNDERPANTS SLAM.
TOMY Corp. and D3Publisher of America Inc. announced that NARUTO: CLASH OF NINJA REVOLUTION for the Wii and NARUTO: PATH OF THE NINJA for the Nintendo DS have shipped to retail outlets. Based on episodes from VIZ Media's hit series, both games will be featured in a launch event on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Nintendo World Store in New York's Rockefeller Center.
Celebrating today's first-time launch of Popeye on mobile phones, Namco Networks and Sprint announced a sweepstakes to promote Namco Networks' latest mobile game to consumers nationwide.
Sierra Online, a division of Vivendi Games, has set release dates for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, a space combat interactive game based on the popular television series produced by Universal Media Studios and airing on SCI FI Channel. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will be available for Windows PC via top online gaming portals and in retail stores Oct. 23, 2007, and will land on Xbox Live Arcade Oct. 24. The BATTLESTAR GALACTICA interactive game is produced under license from Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group.
Features of the upcoming game include:
At Nintendo's request, the Hong Kong High Court has intervened to help stop a global distribution operation involving game-copying devices and modification chips that violate its copyrights and trademarks in the Nintendo DS and Wii systems.
BlinkBox, a service that permits the legal sharing of clips from films and TV shows, has launched a beta site, C21 MEDIA reports. Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Paramount, Aardman and Discovery are among those providing content for the site.
Mobile media company Player X and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group have launched a series of mobile video animations based on the hit 1980s television show KNIGHT RIDER. Series one of KNIGHT RIDER: TURBO BOOST (THE ANIMATED SERIES) consists of six tongue-in-cheek, three-minute "Retrosodes" inspired by the classic show. The news follows the recent announcement of NBC's plan to produce a new live-action series based on the property.
Sony Computer Ent. America (SCEA) will introduce a new 40GB model of its PlayStation 3. Beginning Nov. 2nd, to further enhance the HD entertainment experience, the new 40GB PS3 model will come bundled with the SPIDER-MAN 3 Blu-ray Disc (BD) from Sony Pictures Home Ent., and will be available in North America for $399. The company also announced that, effective immediately, the current 80GB PS3 model will be available in North America for $499, $100 below the original launch price.
LucasArts announced the arrival of THRILLVILLE: OFF THE RAILS, the sequel to the #1 original family game of 2006. The game, which mixes outlandish roller coasters and wacky mini-games, adds a new lighthearted story and amps up the family-friendly mix with 20 new death-defying rides and incredible "WHOA Coasters."
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: RENEGADE SQUADRON, the next installment of the best-selling STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT series of videogames, is now available at retail stores in the U.S. Developed exclusively for the PSP by U.K.-based Rebellion, STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: RENEGADE SQUADRON continues the immensely successful BATTLEFRONT series, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide since its introduction in 2004.
Square Enix Inc. announced that FINAL FANTASY TACTICS: THE WAR OF THE LIONS, available exclusively for the PSP, is shipping to retailers across North America.
Multi-platform animation network Aniboom is launching a branded ad-supported animation channel on Joost, the world's first broadcast-quality Internet television service.
Jerry O'Flaherty, a veteran of the videogame industry, has been tapped to direct Warner Bros.' bigscreen CG adaptation of THUNDERCATS, says VARIETY. O'Flaherty was an art director on Epic Games' GEARS OF WAR and UNREAL TOURNAMENT 3 and Westwood Studios' COMMAND AND CONQUER series.
The story will be a coming-of-age tale for Lion-O as he becomes the leader of the Thundercats. The original series followed a band of humanoid cats as they fled their dying planet, Thundera, to arrive on Third Earth, where they faced the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra.
Spanish animation company Zinkia has inked a deal with videogame publisher and distributor Virgin PLAY to launch HELLO POCOYO!, the first console game based on the award-winning animation series POCOYO.
The deal, signed on the first day of MIPCOM, sees Virgin PLAY's v.2 PLAY label handling worldwide distribution rights for HELLO POCOYO! for Nintendo DS. The console game, which is currently in production at Zinkia's studio in Madrid, is set to debut in Spain in the first quarter of 2008.