Infogrames’ fashionable new cross-promo deal with Diesel
Cribbing from an in-game fashion promo model started by Psygnosis and Diesel last year, Infogrames is looking to launch its latest PlayStation game in style by inking a similar deal with popular apparel outfit Diesel to feature the company’s togs and logos in Driver 2. Due out November 14, Driver 2 is the follow-up title to last year’s best-selling video and PC game Driver, which racked up global sales of four million units for a cool US$150 million in gross revenue. The sequel will showcase Diesel clothing on its in-game characters, and Diesel billboards, bumper stickers and stores will be liberally splashed throughout the game’s environment. In return, Diesel will promote the vid game in more than 40 stores worldwide via customized floor units and window displays. Shoppers will also be able to demo the game in Diesel outlets throughout November.
Shockwave lays low to finish toons
After a year of signing big-hype webisode deals with Hollywood honchos like Tim Burton and David Lynch, Shockwave has laid off 20 staffers in its San Francisco and L.A. offices and is laying low in terms of committing to future on-line animation projects, according to a spokesperson. The company has vowed to finish production on those that are already in place; in fact, Burton’s much-touted Stainboy webisode, based on his book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, launched on Shockwave.com earlier this fall. Rumors still persist, though, that the company is shifting its focus away from on-line animation to concentrate on web games, which tend to generate more traffic.
This move seems to make sense given the recent fall of Pop.com, which has many new media players questioning the future of on-line programming. Led by an all-star founding team including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, the entertainment site initially went the same route as Shockwave, inking webisode agreements with some leading comedians in show biz, however none of the content ever launched-and neither did the site proper. The company closed its doors in September.
Stan Lee Media to muscle up a Conan the Barbarian web franchise
Having tackled the music market with web franchise strategies based around the Backstreet Boys and Mary J. Blige, SLM is now branching out into sci-fi and fantasy. The company recently acquired Conan Properties, keeper of the rights to the Conan the Barbarian character, and plans to work up a web series and licensing blueprint based on the property.
The ubiquitous SLM has also partnered with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s estate to develop an Internet franchise around a recently discovered project called Starship. Scribbled drawings and notes found by Roddenberry’s widow map out the story of a human scientist and an obnoxious alien commander who must work together on a starship to battle intergalactic environmental disasters. Japanese graphic artist, director and writer Leiji Matsumoto (the talent behind Gundam) will supervise the property’s development into an on-line series, and an animated feature film is also in the works.
SLM recently laid off 19 animators, digital artists and colorists in favor of out-sourcing some of its toon work to Asian animation houses. The company has also begun using Toon Boom technology to turn traditional animation into webtoons.