At Games Convention today, Sony Computer Ent. Europe (SCEE) made big announcements on new features added to the PlayStation 3 and PSP.
Santa Monica-based Electric Farm Ent. epic sci-fi animated series, AFTERWORLD, has debuted on MySpace. With a $3 million budget, the series will include 130 two-to-three-minute webisodes. The series launched with 10 webisodes and will post new installments daily starting Aug. 27, 2007.
The free series will be supported by ad revenue and has had promising runs on Afterworld.tv, bud.tv and YouTube.
Aardman Animations has hired online video solutions firm ROO Group to re-launch the WALLACE AND GROMIT website (www.wallaceandgromit.com) with advanced video functionality. This is the first time that video footage of the British animation series has been made openly available online.
The new website will house a mini player on the homepage, which will link through to a main portal player with full-screen viewing capabilities. A significant collection of WALLACE AND GROMIT content will be on offer, including a series of short films and clips from their classic animations.
ITM Creatives, the artistic division of talent agency International Talent Management (ITM), has launched a site that allows producers to search for freelance artists, animators and related technicians by location, profession and availability. Operating across the three primary entertainment fields -- interactive entertainment, feature films and television -- ITM doesn't charge the hiring company for using its services and is committed to charging its clients a reasonable commission as part of their agency representation.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) has announced the appointment of Arwed-Ralf Grenzbach as Vice President, Videogames, Music and Special Products. The newly created role signals efforts by NVCP to further advance its international consumer products business into the rapidly expanding interactive and music arena. Grenzbach, who is London-based, will report to Jean-Philippe Randisi, Vice President and Managing Director, NVCP EMEA, also in London.
Aniboom offers animators to submit their shorts for distribution over their network, where filmmakers can set up personal home pages called Boomzones. Using "Animachines," Aniboom's unique online animation tools, visitors can create their own content as a hobby or professional endeavor. Additionally, Aniboom engages its community with a variety of creative contests with prizes valued up to $50,000.
To help promote the Aug. 21 street date of the highly anticipated BIOSHOCK videogame, EyeballNYC crafted a :60 spot in collaboration with ad agency RDA International on behalf of their client 2K Games. Challenged to distill Bioshock's visual and graphic complexity, Eyeball set out to create a commercial that would entertain general viewers, tantalize fans and do justice to "the ground-breaking nature of the game."
The winner of the 2007 Webby People's Voice Award for Animation, 18-year-old Alan Becker, presents the ANIMATOR VS. ANIMATION GAME, exclusively available at AtomFilms. In this Flash game, a player can choose the role of "Animator" to impose his or her will and make the "Animation" a helpless victim, or play "Animator" to defend against and attack the ruthless aggressor.
Cookie Jar Ent. announced a licensing agreement with CinemaNow Inc. to make Cookie Jar television shows available for download online. Starting this fall, more than 400 individual episodes of Cookie Jar's series, including JOHNNY TEST and THE ADVENTURES OF PADDINGTON BEAR, will be available for purchase at www.cinemanow.com. This marks the first time that Cookie Jar shows will be available for download in the United States.
MTV Networks (MTVN), a unit of Viacom, scored high across several of its gaming properties in June and July, as the company recorded growth, set traffic records, and showcased new initiatives throughout its diverse portfolio of casual games, games media, and console-based and handheld games. As these milestones signal the continued emergence of gaming as a key pillar in MTVN's global vertical entertainment strategy, the company will invest more than $500 million over the next two years in the development and distribution of its gaming business across its global portfolio.
Japanese animation producer GDH is teaming with Shanghai-based Internet netcaster Wang You Media, according to VARIETY. The deal will see GDH invest $500,000 into Wang You, which will distribute GDH's Gonzo brand cartoons on its website, 8850.com. Additionally, GDH will provide shows from other houses on a regular basis to 8850.com.
Publishing, animation and licensing company VIZ Media has secured the download rights to the hit supernatural action anime series BLEACH from TV Tokyo and Shueisha. Twenty episodes of both the dubbed and subtitled versions of the series will be made available for download in the United States beginning on Aug. 31, 2007, on direct2drive.com and totalvid.
Rosario Dawson has signed on to produce and star in the online live-action/motion-capture animation series, THE GEMINI DIVISION, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Electric Farm Ent.'s Jeff Sagansky is producing 100 episodes of the three-minute sci-fi series along with LIZZIE MCGUIRE producer Stan Rogow and game writer Brent Friedman.
Dawson will star as a New York cop who, while investigating the murder of her husband, discovers a worldwide conspiracy involving simulated life forms replacing real life forms.
After making the visually innovative thriller THE CELL in 2000, Tarsem Singh has not made a film for a major studio since. Now the director has signed on to make the sci-fi thriller, THE UNFORGETTABLE, for Warner Bros., according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Basil Iwanyk, David Goyer and Jason Hall are producing.
Based on the Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. videogame THE CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS, the script, which was first titled SPECIES X, follows a cop who discovers that he is an alien and that there is a war going on between two species of extraterrestrials on Earth.
Alvin and the Chipmunks, the #1 kids musical act of all time, rock their way into the world of interactive games this holiday with ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, the videogame, from Brash Ent. Scheduled to ship Dec. 4, 2007, preceding the release on Dec. 14, of the new live-action/CGI film ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS from 20th Century Fox, the game will be available for the PlayStation 2, the Wii, Nintendo DS and PC.
Sierra Ent. announced the development of a PSP exclusive, based on the new ALIENS VS. PREDATOR film, which 20th Century Fox releases nationwide on Dec. 25, 2007. Designed solely for the PSP, players will become the ultimate Predator, hunting down and eliminating the Alien species in the authentic universe of the ALIENS VS. PREDATOR movie. The game is being developed by Rebellion, creator of the original ALIENS VS. PREDATOR PC game.
Electronic Arts Inc. and Hasbro Inc. announced a strategic licensing agreement that grants EA the exclusive worldwide rights to create digital games based upon a huge array of Hasbro's intellectual properties, including Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Nerf, Tonka and Littlest Pet Shop, to name a few. Inspired by these classic board games and toys, EA will develop interactive experiences for a mass audience to play across key platforms including mobile, online, handheld, PC and consoles. The first games are scheduled to launch in calendar year 2008.
Nickelodeon is set to debut TAK AND THE POWER OF JUJU, Nicktoon's first CG-animated series produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Based on the THQ videogame, two back-to-back half-hour episodes will launch on Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, from 8:00 - 9:00 pm. In support of the launch, Nicktoons Network, Nick's 24-hour animation network, will air the premiere episodes the following day, Saturday, Sept. 1, at 11:00 am. The series will air regularly on Saturdays at 10:00 am on Nickelodeon.
Sony Online Ent. (SOE) is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics to bring the India-based RAMAYAN 3392 A.D. comicbook universe to PCs via an MMO videogame.
Sierra Ent. announced development of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, a videogame based on the upcoming 2008 theatrical release of the same name by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films. The game, which will recreate the fantastical world of the film and bestselling book series, is in development at Stormfront Studios and will be available for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and PC in February 2008.
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), a graduate videogame development program, is debuting its latest student game, MASTER PLAN, at SIGGRAPH 2007 in booth #243 in San Diego.
MASTER PLAN is a 3D action game where players construct their own doomsday machine to ravage a city. MASTER PLAN was developed by 34 students and has features never seen before in a student-produced game. Students developed all the tools and pipelines from scratch, including a world editor, vehicle editor with tutorial and fully destructible city environment.
Luxology LLC has launched Luxology TV, a new online hub that allows the 3D community to exchange and view high-resolution video clips on Luxology's website. Luxology TV enables anyone to enhance their 3D learning experience by searching, selecting and immediately watching videos on a variety of subjects, such as modeling, rendering, painting and sculpting.
Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.will launch the SPEED RACER videogame based on the upcoming film written and directed by the Wachowski brothers. The game will be available in 2008 on the Wii and Nintendo DS systems as the SPEED RACER film hits theaters. It will be released on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system with the DVD launch.
In its second quarter report, Marvel Ent. announced the production of a new animated direct-to-DVD feature entitled HULK SMASH. No plot details were announced, but it will be released via Lionsgate in Oct. 2008.
PULP FICTION co-writer Roger Avary has been tapped by producer Samuel Hadida to pen and direct an adaptation of ID Software's videogame, RETURN TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN, according to VARIETY.
Set during World War II, the plot of the game centers on a team of U.S. army rangers, lead by B.J. Blazkowicz, that are assigned the mission to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein and gather information on the Nazis' SS Paranormal Division.