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Warner Bros Makes Move Into Game Development 25

Posted by simoniker
from the early-90s-all-over-again dept.
Thanks to Yahoo for reprinting the press release revealing Warner Bros has created a new videogame division, headed by Monolith co-founder Jason Hall, which "will focus on the creation, development, production and distribution of games that will be marketed to consumers under the Warner Bros. Games brand." This represents a change of attitude for Warner Bros, who previously licensed titles such as Harry Potter and The Matrix for external game development, and GameSpot provides some background for the move, noting that new WBIE boss Jason Hall "...was CEO of Monolith Productions, developer of Tron 2.0 and No One Lives Forever 2... There were previous ties between the two companies, since Monolith is currently developing the Matrix MMORPG, The Matrix Online." Update: 01/15 04:22 GMT by S : Game Informer has an interview with Jason Hall about his new position, in which he hints on "...some interesting developments throughout the course of this year... things like the Harry Potter titles."
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Warner Bros Makes Move Into Game Development

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  • by El (94934) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @08:38PM (#7980273)
    ... a FPS with LOTS of FALLING ANVILS!
    • Your anvils will be no match for me when I use my strap-on rocket and rollerskates.
    • Man-Cubes [gamespy.com](TM) ?







      Man-cube is an officially registered TradeMark of H.A.R.M. Any use or implication specifically reserved and is protected by trade dress, copyright, patent and trademark laws, and various other intellectual property rights and unfair competition laws. Any violation of this policy will result in horrible, tortured, and excrutiatingly slow death. By Man-Cube (TM). Or Mime. Probably Man-Cube (TM) though, since they're cheaper to hire on a per hour basis than the French. Either way,
  • by DLWormwood (154934) <wormwood@@@me...com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @08:38PM (#7980281) Homepage
    I believe it was Warner who had ownership of the original Atari that produced the 2600. Just like Mattel did with the Intellivision, Warner divested themselves of Atari when the Great Video Game Crash of '84 occured. Seeing how Mattel is now re-releasing old Mattel Electronics portables, I guess it was only a matter of time before Warner stuck their toes back into the waters...
    • That was Warner Communications, which was a division of Warner Brothers. Also the Intellivision was a Mattel Product, not a division. (Not sure if you were alluding to it being a seperate company)
      • That was Warner Communications, which was a division of Warner Brothers. Also the Intellivision was a Mattel Product, not a division. (Not sure if you were alluding to it being a seperate company)

        Wow. Talk about splitting hairs... Miramax is Disney; the MacBU is Microsoft. Regardless if it's one "entity" or many in the eyes of the tax people, it's still one "company" to the public at large.

        As for Mattel, the way the Blue Sky Rangers [intellivisionlives.com] say things, Mattel Electronics was an autonomous unit from the compan

  • It makes sense (Score:1, Insightful)

    To see them having thier own games division; it's a lot cheaper than contracting every time, especially given the vast potential they have for game development. There is always the danger of the games sucking, though.
    • Of course, at the moment, as the interview states, they're not discussing whether or not they're actually going to develop games in house. So far they've simply hired Jason Hall so that they have someone in house that actually understands managing a development house, which goes a long way towards being able to interact with developers that you've contracted to develop games.
  • ...it'd be kinda cool to see the WB logo in the intro of all their games.... just a small thing i think would be cool. industry-wise though, i think this is fantastic. WB means art and quality, and it brings the industry one step closer to being seen as 'legitimate' (wrong word to use, i know... but you get the gist)
  • Glaring Absence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Babbster (107076) <[aaronbabb] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:16PM (#7980672) Homepage
    It's interesting that the cited articles didn't mention two big Warner Brothers-controlled properties: Superman and Batman. Given that both of these comic book icons have been popular over the years, and that superhero videogames should be a natural, these two characters would seem to form a perfect area of focus for a new WB gaming division. This should be of particular interest to Warner given that both characters have been horribly treated by game developers in the near and distant past. Obviously, the entire DC Universe could be fodder, but if Warner could have as their debut game a good Batman and/or Superman title they could make quite a splash.

    Then again, considering there are two Superman movies currently in some stage of development (a solo Superman outing and Batman vs. Superman), maybe that is WHY Warner is making this move now. Either or both of those movies could be huge, so why share any of the ancillary profits with an outside game developer?

    • My guess is they don't want to make any of their earlier mistakes with Time Warner Interactive...they will probably create a few new properties that they can kill off if they suck bad enough...maybe make buy out a struggling company...

      It would make more sense for them to start off with some basic driving/fighting/action/sports games and build a group of good developers before they started puting the names of their properties on the line...
    • Re:Glaring Absence (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nice theory, but it's incorrect. According to a recent Newsweek article, Warner Bros. has already sold the rights to both upcoming Superman and Batman movie franchises to (drumroll, please) Electronic Arts.

      It's true that Warner Bros. has numerous properties upon which future games could be based. But considering that the studio has already sold off the rights to many of its high-profile franchises--the Harry Potter and the Loony Tunes movies have been sold to EA; the Matrix rights to Atari; the Batman anim
      • It's true that Warner Bros. has numerous properties upon which future games could be based. But considering that the studio has already sold off the rights to many of its high-profile franchises--the Harry Potter and the Loony Tunes movies have been sold to EA; the Matrix rights to Atari; the Batman animated series and Matrix massively multiplayer rights to Ubisoft; the Justice League animated series to Midway--it's unclear to me which blockbuster properties remain for Warners' new interactive group to expl
    • It's interesting that the cited articles didn't mention two big Warner Brothers-controlled properties: Superman and Batman.

      After the video gaming atrocities that were [INSERT ANY SUPERMAN OR BATMAN VIDEO GAME NAME HERE] and [REPEAT] and [REPEAT], not to mention [REPEAT], I wouldn't mention them either if I were either WB or Jason Hall.

  • They already did... (Score:3, Informative)

    by OneFix (18661) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:37PM (#7980852)
    Time-Warner bought Atari before their death and renamed them Time Warner Interactive...

    Time Warner Interactive was probably best remembered for Rise of the Robots [worldvillage.com] Rise2: Resurection [vidgames.com] (the sequel of the former) and Primal Rage [vidgames.com]...

    Of course all of these were fighting games, but they did a few that weren't fighting games...however, their games were infamous for their suckitude...even those games that had fans (like ROTR) were nothing more than eye candy (no real playability)...however, this was honestly close to the end for the origonal Atari...
  • by Aliencow (653119) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:02PM (#7981095) Homepage Journal
    Super Warner Brothers !
    You could throw AOL CDs instead of fire balls... the green pipes would be toilet... and the ultimate goal would be to gown down the crapper.
  • by TechnoPops (590791) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:19PM (#7981713) Journal
    From the Yahoo! article:

    WBIE will be responsible for creating, managing and monetizing the Studio's long-term interactive gaming goals and business objectives and leveraging its world-class brands across all current and future platforms (including console, MMPOG, PC-based gaming and wireless applications like N-Gage ).

    Need I say more? :P
  • Give Em A Chance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blueZhift (652272)

    Call me crazy, but given the titles that Jason Hall has been a part of, this thing might just fly. I don't believe he would want to just turn out lots of licensed crap. So I think there's a good chance that we'll see some cool creative stuff, if the suits give him a free hand.

    A few years ago there was all of this hype about how games were becoming like movies. As a result we were all treated to lots of motion captured cut scene crap, for a while. I think that now lessons have been learned and we're on th

    • Call me crazy, but given the titles that Jason Hall has been a part of, this thing might just fly. I don't believe he would want to just turn out lots of licensed crap.

      Yes, because all of Monolith's early titles were amazing, well-polished titles with great QA. Except Blood 2 and Shogo, err wait...
  • got pissed at how fudgely enter the matrix turned out and pushed for this move to make sure that matrix online turns out okay...and maybe to get atari back for their disregard for quality while making enter the matrix...the bros seem like the driving force in WB at the moment...even though they have lost their touch with the last two movies (*awaits flames*) Can't wait till the Plasticman comes out...hopefully they will go back to their formula that they used for the original matrix instead of letting CG t

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