EA develops Hasbro properties

Upcoming games will include 'G.I. Joe' tie-in

Electronic Arts is developing a broad array of games based on Hasbro properties set to come out in the next several years, including one tied to the upcoming “G.I. Joe” film.

Numerous sources said that EA will release a game in conjunction with Paramount’s 2009 summer tentpole.

An EA rep confirmed that the publisher has interactive rights to “G.I. Joe” as part of its overall deal with Hasbro, but declined to comment on any specific game plans.

EA signed a multi-year partnership with Hasbro in 2007 and will start releasing a number of games this year, including ones based on the popular “Littlest Pet Shop” franchise, Nerf, Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzee, and Trivial Pursuit. Deal gives EA rights to make interactive versions of nearly all of Habro’s properties save for a few already set up elsewhere, such as “Transformers,” which is at Activision.

Publisher, which is still No. 1 worldwide but recently lost that spot in the U.S. to Activision, is particularly enthused about “Littlest Pet Shop,” a very popular brand with young girls.

“‘The Sims’ has been a hit with the adult female demographic, but this is our first product that goes a little younger,” said Chip Lange, g.m. of EA’s Hasbro Studio.

“Littlest Pet Shop” games for the DS, PC and Wii will come out the fall.

First EA Hasbro games will come in the next several months on mobile phones, including “Scrabble,” “Monopoly,” and “Yahtzee.” In the summer and fall, EA will also launch the latter two on its Pogo.com casual gaming website, along with an online “Trivial Pursuit” game. Also in the fall, EA will put out “Nerf” action titles targeted at young boys on the DS and Wii, along with a game based on the classic board game “Operation” for PCs.

All of the Hasbro titles, save perhaps for “G.I. Joe,” are being made under the publisher’s “casual entertainment” label, which aims to draw in non-traditional gamers such as young children and women. Lange said his goal is to make identifiable versions of each Hasbro property, with an interactive twist, that are broadly accessible.

“We consider these to be digital versions of the brand, as opposed to the game, and the more complex the platform, the more the design will alter from what players are used to,” he explained. “Players from different age demos should be able to pick up the game, know how to play, and have a good time doing it together.”

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