One of the world’s largest video game publishers, Ubisoft, has signed a licensing agreement with VIZ Media, LLC, to develop video games based on VIZ’s popular Shonen Jump’s Naruto animation series for Xbox 360. The game is scheduled to hit stores in North America, South America, Central America and Mexico in 2007. This marks the first Japanese property that Ubisoft has developed.
Naruto was first launched as part of Shueisha’a weekly manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999 and launched in the U.S. in the monthly Shonen Jump Magazine in 2003. Naruto manga books have sold more than 59 million copies in Japan alone. The Naruto anime series debuted on TV TOKYO in 2002 and has already spawned several successful video game titles in Japan.
Naruto anime is now airing with tremendous success on Cartoon Network in the U.S. On April 15, Cartoon Network will offer a recap of last season’s episodes, followed by three all-new episodes, beginning at 8 p.m. New episodes continue Saturday nights at 9 p.m. as part of the cabler’s Toonami block.
“Naruto‘s ninja and martial arts themes are a perfect match for video games,’ says Cynthia Money, vice president of consumer products for VIZ Media. ‘(They allow) fans to immerse themselves in the characters and become part of the action. As a leading global game developer, Ubisoft is an ideal partner to develop video games for Naruto that will bring out the power and emotion of the storylines.”