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Disney, Square play Sony game

Tetsuya developing for PlayStation 2

Disney Interactive has inked a deal with Square Co. game helmer and character designer Tetsuya Nomura to develop a yet-unnamed title expected to be graphically rich and rival anything on the market to date for Sony’s PlayStation 2 next-generation vidgame console.

The Square/Disney interactive title is skedded to be released in Japan by the end of 2001 and in North America and Europe in 2002. PlayStation 2 is expected to hit retailer’s shelves this year. It will not only play more photorealistic vidgames, but connect to the Internet and play DVDs. It bows in Japan on March 4.

Disney and Square will collaborate on creative content development, production, manufacturing and distribution.

“We believe Square’s leadership in game development and Disney’s expertise in content creation will result in a leading-edge title for PlayStation 2,” said Tomoyuki Takechi, prexy of Square Co. “We fully expect this product to appeal not only to the existing fans of Square and Disney games, but to cultivate new and broader audiences for both companies.”

Tokyo-based Square is currently at work on a computer-generated feature film based on its seven popular “Final Fantasy” role-playing games, which push impressive computer-animated movie sequences over gameplay. Columbia Pictures is releasing the pic in 2001.

The last edition of the game generated roughly $300 million for Square Soft, Square’s vidgame distrib arm. Together, the “Final Fantasy” games have sold more than 25 million units, becoming one of the most profitable vidgame series to date.

“We are extremely proud to be working with Nomura,” said Jan Smith, prexy of Disney Interactive. “We know his talent and that of the creative team at Disney will complement each other and result in a unique, compelling gaming experience that will appeal to a global marketplace.”

Disney Interactive, a division of Disney Consumer Products division, develops a variety of interactive family-oriented entertainment and educational CD-ROMS and vidgames. Its most popular titles for vidgame consoles such as PlayStation and Nintendo are licensed to third-party game creators including Rare and Activision.

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