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.
Category: Internet and Interactive
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.
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.