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Universal Wins Hot Inferno Bidding War

Universal Pictures beat out three other studios on Sunday for EA's unreleased and unannounced videogame DANTE'S INFERNO (working title), per VARIETY. Set to hit the marketplace next year, the videogame is the second EA title in a week to go to Universal.

ARMY OF TWO was purchased by the studio for Scott Stuber to produce (via EA) and Scott Z. Burns (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM) to write.

Paramount, New Regency and MGM were also vying for DANTE'S INFERNO, which was purchased for a reported option fee against a seven-figure purchase price. Warner Bros. was also in the mix, but ended its campaign on Thursday.

Strike Ent. partners Eric Newman and Marc Abraham will produce with EA. Patrick J. O'Brien, VP with EA Ent. and Jonathan Knight, the game's creator, will be closely involved in the film's development.

EA has declined to comment or confirm the game's official title, making the bidding war a surprise. EA's past film deals, as with most gaming studios, have been with titles that are already out and have proved to be a hit with gamers. With DANTE'S INFERNO, EA had not even announced the existence of the game when the bidding began.

The game and the movie will apparently deal with a journey through the stages of hell. In making the film deal so early, EA will be able to release the game close to the movie release date. The gaming giant is looking to become more involved with film and TV adaptations of its titles. Recent deals for EA games also include THE SIMS (Fox) and MASS EFFECT (producer Avi Arad).