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Universal Enters Game Biz With Despereaux

Universal, who has previously said they want to invest in their own videogames rather than licensing them out, will create a game based on the upcoming animated feature THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, per VARIETY.

A version of the film WANTED was announced first, but will be released sometime in 2009, with DESPEREAUX to be released first. The studio will fully fund the game about a heroic mouse on a fairy-tale quest for Nintendo DS. A deal with Brash Ent. was made for marketing and distribution.

Brash is also producing licensed versions of DESPEREAUX for PlayStation 2, PC, Wii and Xbox 360. Universal will use its own producers to oversee the DS game.

"We felt we had the bandwidth to do two projects that we really believed in," said Bill Kispert, VP and GM, Interactive at Universal Pictures. "Both games are very different types of content, which we think shows the diversity of what we can do."

The DESPERAUX game will be released in December, at the same time as the film. Fizz Factor, based in Austin, Texas and owned by Foundation 9 Ent., is developing the game.

Paramount has also made a push to fund its own videogames, starting with casual games based on CLUELESS, MEAN GIRLS and PRETTY IN PINK. Warner Bros. and Disney have been publishing videogames for some time.