Game powerhouse starts licensing business

Game giant Capcom plans to launch a unit to manage its U.S. licensing biz, with an eye to developing Hollywood pics with Capcom characters, as well as games with the American characters, the company said Friday.

The company has no specific pic projects in the works yet but expects to spend $8.5 million to $25 million on the licensing biz, including acquisitions of rights to U.S. characters for use in Capcom games.

“Of course, we have plenty of characters of our own, but we also want to develop new ones with U.S. partners for our games,” a Capcom spokeswoman said.

The first game will be based on “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law,” a toon featuring a superhero-turned-lawyer that ran as part of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block from 2001 to July of this year. High Voltage Software is developing the game, with Capcom set to release it in November. Capcom intends to release two or three games annually based on American characters and made in cooperation with U.S. game developers.

Founded in 1979, Capcom is no stranger to the biz, having produced two pics based on its “Resident Evil” series, among others. A third, “Resident Evil: Extinction,” is skedded for release in September through Sony Pictures.

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