Animation unit to open gaming studio

Oz animation house Animal Logic will open a game-producing studio in Los Angeles.

Industry vet Giancarlo Mori will oversee the new business division, focusing on original entertainment design and development for traditional and emerging media platforms.

Animal Logic, the effects vendor for George Miller’s “Happy Feet” and a slew of other Sydney-lensed pics, announced last month the production of its first feature as a studio, “Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” for WB. Zack Snyder directs.

Mori was most recently production VP at Activision’s studios in Santa Monica, where he oversaw releases including “Tony Hawk,” “Gun” and “Shrek.”

Animal Logic Intl. will be L.A.-based, but Mori anticipates significant creative exchange with the Oz head office.

“This is a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of interactive entertainment,” he said.

“Games are evolving in directions that allow for new experiences. Being passionate and open to the evolution of popular culture and of the craft of gamemaking is key to creating new compelling titles and franchises,” Mori said.

Animal Logic topper Zareh Nalbandian has wanted to expand his privately held company into videogame production for some time, even arguing for tax breaks for game production in Oz akin to the tax breaks for film and TV production.

“As production values for games increase exponentially, so do the opportunities at the convergence of high-end digital filmmaking and game creation,” he said.

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