Paramount Digital Entertainment enters the online video game space with a new multi-year partnership with casual game developer Funtactix.
The first title through this deal will be an online game world based on the Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies computer animated Western film Rango, which features the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, and Bill Nighy.
Rango: The WORLD, an online multiplayer game, will launch in conjunction with the March 4 theatrical release.
Rangotells the story of a pet chameleon who ends up the sheriff in the lawless town of Dirt, where he encounters a cast of characters that poke fun at the traditional Hollywood Western formula. The games further explore this variation of the Wild West.
“For Rango: The WORLD, we’re creating a living online universe, a place for fans of the film to enter the world, to create their own persona so they can socialize, explore, compete and play,” said Sam Glassenberg, CEO of Funtactix. “We’ll be adding to the world over time and creating a community.”
Paramount has also licensed Rangoto Electronic Arts, which has Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS games launching based on the new movie. Glassenberg said that the online gameplay is very different from the console game, as are the target platforms and business model. Rango: The WORLD is free-to-play and doesn’t require a game console.
“Rango’s characters and their outrageous antics are well-suited for a variety of gaming platforms and players of all ages,” stated Tom Lesinski, president of Paramount Digital Entertainment. “Rango: The WORLD gives younger fans of the film a fun way to interact and personalize the characters and storyline in an immersive online environment.”
Funtactix has been developing online and browser-based casual games since 2006, including the award-winning Moondo browser-based 3D multiplayer action game. Rango marks one of the first applications of Funtactix’ “The WORLD” solution, a multi-year technology investment designed to create authentic online experiences with compelling characters and breathtaking visuals, giving fans the opportunity to enter the world of their favorite film.
“There is a depth to the world that non-branded games can’t approach,” said Glassenberg. “More than that, our technology and our approach removes the boundary between the audience and the entertainment, the imaginary fourth wall. We create authentic experiences for fans to get into the movies themselves.”
Although computer animated movies allow the game developer to utilize digital assets from the film, Glassenberg said his studio is also working closely with Paramount on bringing live action films to the online games space using “The WORLD” solution.
“We’re already into production on several other projects outside the CGI space so we know it works,” said Glassenberg. “The ability to directly utilize art assets is certainly one advantage we bring, but there are many others. Our focus is in creating authentic experiences for fans. That can be done through art, through animation (motion capture of stars), through writing (working with the creative team that created the source IP), through music and through collaboration and trust. We are using all of the above to create our worlds.”