Sega partners with Marvel

Publisher to make film-based games

Sega is becoming the go-to partner for Marvel Studios, as the Japanese publisher has signed deals to make games based on three of its upcoming films.

Sega will produce videogames based on “The Incredible Hulk,” which comes out in summer 2008, along with “Captain America” and “Thor,” which are in development and to be made with Marvel’s production fund.

Sega previously signed a deal to do a movie based on “Iron Man,” Marvel’s first self-financed pic, and was at the time believed to be in negotiations to do a “Hulk” game. (Daily Variety, Nov. 7)

“Doing a deal for three more games is a big statement of our confidence in Sega,” said Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel.

Sega plans to release both “Iron Man” and “Hulk” day-and-date with the pics, which will be distributed by Paramount next year. It is working with Marvel to secure the films’ stars Robert Downey Jr. and Edward Norton to provide likeness rights and voice work for the vidgame adaptations.

Deal gives Sega the right to make future games based on both characters regardless of whether there are film sequels.

Publisher also plans to go ahead with “Captain America” and “Thor” games even if those pics get stalled in development. But Sega is most likely hoping one or both pics will get greenlit for a 2009 release so it can publish games the same year.

Marvel still holds interactive rights for three of its other superheroes in development for films — “The Avengers,” “Ant-Man,” and “Nick Fury.”

Deal marks a major return to the licensed games business for Sega. Last September it signed a deal with New Line to make games on the upcoming “His Dark Materials” trilogy. Soon after, it got rights from Fox to make games based on “Aliens.”

Publisher, which has recently been recovering from a long slump, hadn’t previously made any console games based on movie licenses in more than a decade.

While the company isn’t ruling out future deals, it appears now to have a full slate of licensed games for the next several years.

“Part of our strategy over the last two years in rebuilding Sega has been to balance our portfolio with best-in-class licenses,” said Sega of America topper Simon Jeffery. “Right now I’ve got to say we’re pretty happy with what we have accomplished.”

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