Mainframe Ent., a leading creator of computer-generated animation, and WizKids Inc., makers of the popular MAGE KNIGHT, HEROCLIX and MECHWARRIOR collectable miniatures games, have teamed up to create a feature-length direct-to-DVD 3D animated feature based on the MECHWARRIOR series of adventure games, books and toys, to be released in 2006.
Gregory Little, who brought it to Mainframe, will produce it under his Machine Age banner. MECHWARRIOR creator Jordan Weisman will produce for WizKids, along with Marc Sachnoff. The film will introduce new characters and storylines, as well as innovative CG animation techniques to give a unique look and feel to the story.
"MECHWARRIOR continues our move towards developing proprietary properties in animation that have already established themselves in the toy and gaming worlds as long-term brands," said Mainframe ceo Rick Mischel. "With this new action-packed DVD adventure, fans will be able to see MECHWARRIOR come to life in a whole new way."
Little said, "The growing DVD-direct market is a great alternative to a theatrical feature when you have a brand like MECHWARRIOR to drive sales. We got a deal done quickly and have a lot more creative freedom than we would have had if this was a $100 million studio feature." Formerly vp of development for Mark Gordon, Little formed his company, Machine Age, in 2004 to focus on the DVD-direct feature market.
The MECHWARRIOR feature story is set in the far-future universe at a time when the old glory of the BattleMechs has passed. When a young heros home planet is threatened by invasion, he goes on a quest for a cache of lost Battlemechs that will turn the tide against the invaders. "The story will satisfy longtime Mech fans," said creator Weisman, "but also gives new fans a great point of entry by showing what the property is all about: big, powerful Battlemechs and the heroes who pilot them."
MECHWARRIOR has a 20-year history as an interactive with sales of more than 13 million videogames on PC and X-Box; the ongoing publication of 79 novels; and tens of millions of collectible game figures for the MECHWARRIOR: AGE OF DESTRUCTION tabletop game. Microsoft continues to release X-Box games under the MECHASSAULT name, with the latest hitting shelves in early 2005.
In May 2001, visual effects house Foundation Imaging, in conjunction with Tribune Entertainment, Microsoft and Fasa Corp. had announced a deal to develop and produce a one-hour live-action adventure series based upon the MECHWARRIOR franchise, which was later shelved.
Vancouver-based Mainframe Ent. Inc. (www.mainframe.ca) is one of the world's most prolific producers of computer animation for television and direct-to-videos, and is expanding into long-form CGI for feature films, commercials and interactive entertainment. In addition to its production of the award-winning BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE direct-to-video feature, a new POPEYE CGI primetime television special and the new SPIDER-MAN animated series, the company created the animation, logo and branding for the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. The company is best known as the pioneer of computer animated television series for the groundbreaking REBOOT. Mainframe has produced more than 240 half hours of computer animation since its inception in 1993. Mainframe is producing a new CGI animated INSPECTOR GADGET DVD feature, as well as a slate of new proprietary television specials and DVD features. Mainframe's majority shareholder is IDT Ent.
Founded by 20-year game-industry veteran Jordan Weisman, WizKids (www.wizkidsgames.com) is a Seattle-based game developer and publisher dedicated to creating tabletop games driven by imagination. Its MAGE KNIGHT, MECHWARRIOR and HEROCLIX CMGs are among the most successful games on the market today, and the company has sold hundreds of millions of figures worldwide.