Ubisoft pacts to adapt skein
“Lost” has found a new home on videogame consoles.French game publisher Ubisoft has struck a deal with Touchstone Television to adapt the hit ABC drama. Long-term pact gives Ubisoft the opportunity to turn “Lost” into a vidgame franchise, with a life potentially beyond that of the skein. First game likely will come out around Christmas 2007. While several TV shows including “CSI,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Law and Order” and “Alias” have been adapted into games, most are PC-only and targeted at smaller auds of casual gamers. The only recent example of a game that came out for multiple consoles and was targeted at a broad group of gamers and TV watchers, as Ubisoft plans to do with “Lost,” is “24.” Game publishers have recently been striking fewer Hollywood license deals, focusing their efforts on turning a handful of big-name properties into popular vidgame franchises. With that goal in mind, Ubisoft chose “Lost” based on its worldwide popularity and intricate narrative that allows for lots of spinoff stories. “Our experience with ‘CSI’ opened our eyes to the potential of games based on TV shows,” said Pascal Bonnet, Ubisoft’s director of U.S. licensing. “Sales of games based on movies tend to peak for the three months around the film’s release, but a game based on a TV show can sell for up to six months and you’re not committed to come out by the theatrical release date.” Ubisoft execs already are talking to series creator J.J. Abrams and producers to develop a storyline. It will move to sign deals with actors after it determines which characters will be included in the game. “We’d like to fully integrate the series’ creative team, from writers to composers to set designers and stylists, so that we create an extension of the television series that is organic and extremely compelling for the fans of ‘Lost,’ ” said Bruce Gersh, ABC/Touchstone’s senior VP, business development, who negotiated the deal for the studio. Touchstone wasn’t actively shopping the “Lost” license; it entered negotiations with Ubisoft after the publisher approached it about a promotional tie-in with the show. ABC is hoping to tie the game’s release in with other ancillary products, such as a DVD for the show. Ubisoft is well known for its stealth games created by Tom Clancy and the “Far Cry” franchise, which like “Lost” takes place on a remote tropical island. It recently made the “King Kong” tie-in game, which garnered strong reviews but sold only moderately well and won’t have a sequel. It also is making games based on Sony’s upcoming toons “Open Season” and “Surf’s Up.”
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