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Col revisits ‘Castle’ as vidgame

Gordon, Baldecchi producing project

Columbia Pictures is returning to the vidgame well once more — this time for “Return to Castle Wolfenstein.”

Developed by ID Software, creator of such shoot-’em-up fare as “Doom” and “Quake,” game was awarded the computer action/adventure of the year prize, as well as online gameplay of the year kudos by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

“Saving Private Ryan” producer Mark Gordon and “The Mexican” producer John Baldecchi are producing the project. Col exec veepee of production Matt Tolmach will oversee its development for production prexy Peter Schlessel.

Popular action game, released by ActiVision, follows a highly decorated Army Ranger recruited into the Office of Secret Actions. He is then given the task of escaping and then returning to Castle Wolfenstein — the stronghold of Gestapo capo Heinrich Himmler — whose occult and genetic experiments are raising an unstoppable army to level the Allies. Along the way, there are hearty helpings of blood, violence and gore as the Ranger guns down Nazis and the mutated to save Western culture.

Game has roots that date to the 1983 release of Muse Software’s 2D game “Castle Wolfenstein,” created by Silas S. Warner. That vidgame was one of the first to incorporate human speech.

Sony has had mixed success with the genre: It produced the sleeper hit “Resident Evil” last March based on the Capcom vidgame for its Screen Gems specialty arm, but an animated adaptation of the wildly popular “Final Fantasy” game franchise developed and produced by Square fizzled at the box office in 2001.

Creative Artists Agency repped ID Software in the sale of the rights to “Return.”

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