Space Goofs will soon emerge as a video game property, says Marc du Pontavice, president of Paris, France-based Gaumont Multimedia. The PC platform game, based on the animated series, is slated to hit retail shelves in December 1999. Production will be kept entirely in-house, allowing script and animation talent to circulate between the television and video game projects. The French animation giant is adamant about keeping the brand intact. ‘Most video games based on movies or TV [series] have no synergy [with the original product],’ says du Pontavice. ‘The convergence of technology must be followed by a convergence of creativity.’
Space Goofs, the video game, is a somewhat risky undertaking, since Gaumont will absorb 100% of the US$1.5 million production cost with no distributors in place. However, du Pontavice views the move as a logical progression from the 1993 acquisition of the TV series by Fox Kids Network. Gaumont insisted on picking up both the electronic merchandising rights and music rights to the show, with a view towards developing a game in the future. Saban obtained all other merchandising rights to the property.
Gaumont intends to skew slightly older with the game, targeting a demographic of ages 15 to 30. Lucasfilm’s Day of the Tentacle, a video game released in 1993 that was aimed at both kids and adults, has become a working model that Gaumont strives to simulate.
Space Goofs follows on the heels of Gaumont’s first video game product, The Fifth Element, which was released worldwide on September 30. Budgeted at US$2 million, The Fifth Element was originally launched on Sony’s PlayStation console, with a PC Platform version scheduled to follow next year.
A co-production with Callisto, The Fifth Element targets teens and young adults with a digital recreation of Luc Besson’s big-screen futuristic universe. Three distributors will handle the game: Activision in the U.S., Sony in Europe and Hudson in Japan.