Ubisoft Puts Sony Animation in Play

Video game publisher Ubisoft will develop and publish games based on Open Season and Surf’s Up, the first two feature-length CG-animated films from Sony Pictures Animation. The exclusive, multi-title licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products marks Ubisoft’s first foray into the world of feature animation. The move will provide some competition for THQ, which has exclusive publishing rights to games based on Pixar properties.

Based on the humor of In the Bleachers cartoonist Steve Moore, Open Season follows a couple of unlikely forest friends as they rally all the other animals to turn the tables on unsuspecting hunters. Martin Lawrence will lend voice to a 900-lb. domesticated grizzly bear named Boog, while Ashton Kutcher plays a scrawny, one-horned mule deer named Elliot. Deborah Messing will voice a forest ranger who rescued Boog as a cub and raised him. Moore serves as exec. producer along with John Carls. The Open Season game will be released on all platforms in conjunction with the film’s theatrical debut on September 29, 2006.

An animated mockumentary, Surf’s Up posits that surfing was actually invented by penguins and has a camera crew documenting a major penguin surfing competition. The Film is being directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (Tarzan), and produced by Chris Jenkins (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The flick and its videogame adaptation are both scheduled for release in summer 2007.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot comments, “Ubisoft’s long-term agreement with Sony Pictures allows us to be part of the creative process from the very beginning, working closely with the animators and directors on the vision and tone of the games."

Ubisoft’s award-winning Montreal studio will be developing the Open Season and Surf’s Up games, working in close collaboration with the production teams at Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks, which will be creating the animation for both pics.