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It’s Game Over for Projects From Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski

"The Lone Ranger" Producer and Director Find Their First Forays into Videogames Put on Hold

It hasn’t been a good week for two of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers trying to be players in the videogames biz.

Microsoft has decided to pull the plug on Gore Verbinski’s “Matter,” a game developed for use with the Kinect that was supposed to launch on Xbox Live Arcade sometime this year through Blind Wink Games.

Instead, “Microsoft Studios is no longer pursuing this title,” a company spokesman told gaming publication Joystiq.

In “Matter,” which was going to be Verbinski’s first foray into videogames, players would use motions picked up by the Kinect to control a metal sphere through a futuristic shape-shifting landscape. Game was meant to instill and demonstrate emotion in typically motionless game players, Microsoft Studios’ Phil Spencer said last summer when the game, meant to be downloaded, was first announced.

Verbinski is currently wrapping up “The Lone Ranger” for Disney.

Microsoft’s move follows the closure of Jerry Bruckheimer Games, revealed just days earlier.

Producer quietly shuttered the games shingle, which he founded in 2007, before it even produced a single title. Founding presidents Jim Veevaert and Jay Cohen have already found other jobs. Veevaert now serves as general manager at social game producer Zynga, while Cohen is chairman of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Former Ubisoft exec Jay Cohen had also been brought on as president of development. He is now CEO of Proseed Games.

Designed as a studio to incubate games that other studios would develop, company had an exclusive deal with MTV Games. Concepts would potentially be adapted as films or TV shows.

But that pact started to fizzle in 2010, when Viacom sold Harmonix, behind music game “Rock Band,” and chose not to pursue the development of more console games, all but ending Bruckheimer’s chances for getting a tentpole title off the ground. Bruckheimer Games had been developing games for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 at the time.

Ironically, Bruckheimer is producing Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger.”

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