MGM and Danjaq extend Bond pact

EA's latest title 'NightFire' has sold five million copies

MGM and Danjaq have extended their lucrative James Bond vidgame license with publisher Electronic Arts through 2010 in a deal covering all of Ian Fleming’s original books, the 20 films so far and any new ones to be made during the term of the agreement.

EA, the biggest vidgame publisher, said in its annual earnings call last week that it had sold more than 5 million copies of “NightFire,” its latest Bond title. Game was among the top 10 sellers of the year for both Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.

Though the game was released within days of the newest Bond film, “Die Another Day,” last November, it had nothing to do with that film’s plot. Instead, EA tapped Hollywood screenwriters to flesh out a new storyline based on elements from the broader Fleming world.

Company is taking a similar approach with its newest title, “James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing,” using three-time Bond movie scripter Bruce Feirstein to polish dialogue for the game, which is targeted for a holiday release. Game will also feature Pierce Brosnan’s voice and digital body scan.

Title, EA’s fifth Bond, will be unveiled this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

“EA produces some of the most popular and exciting videogame titles on the market today,” said Travis Rutherford, senior VP of MGM Consumer Products and Interactive. “There’s no better partner to carry on the Bond legacy.”

The extension allows EA to continue making Bond titles through the next generation of vidgame consoles, which are expected to hit shelves in 2005 or so and remain the dominant game machines for the following four to five years.

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