SAN JOSE, Calif. – Coming soon to a game console near you: a Steven Spielberg (search) video game.
The acclaimed film director and producer has agreed to develop three new games under a long-term exclusive deal with video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (search) The deal to be announced Friday reflects the increasingly intertwined interests of Hollywood and the video game industry.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Redwood City-based EA, the world's largest game maker behind blockbusters such as "Madden NFL" and "The Sims," said it will own the intellectual property behind the Spielberg games and publish them.
The deal involves much more than the Hollywood director merely putting his stamp on a game or popping in for quick consultations, said Neil Young, vice president and studio head of EA's Los Angeles studio.
Instead, Spielberg will have an office in EA's studio. He plans to work side-by-side with game developers to create original gaming content beginning with the concept — not a game based on a movie, or vice versa, both of which are common practices nowadays.
"It's really the first time a filmmaker, and a filmmaker of Steven Spielberg's caliber will collaborate at this level on an original game," Young said. "He understands how our medium works and wants to push it in different directions, putting innovations in a game that no one has ever seen before."
Young would not disclose what kind of ideas Spielberg or EA already have in mind, or whether the genre would be science fiction or something else. But the hope, he said, is to draw on Spielberg's storytelling talents and create games that would engage players emotionally.
Spielberg, whose large portfolio includes films such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Schindler's List," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and "E.T." was not available for comment. In a statement, he said he "was looking forward to working closely with the team in Los Angeles."
Spielberg has been an avid follower of games for years. In a speech last year, he told film students they could change the face of film making if only they played more video games.
And in the early 1990s, LucasArts, (search) the game-making arm of Lucasfilm Ltd., created a computer game called "The Dig" based on a Spielberg story idea. Game observers considered it a flop.
It will be several years before the first of three Spielberg-EA games hits store shelves, Young said.