Electronic Arts' ORIGIN Systems Grants Option For Feature Film of its Best-Selling Computer Game Wing Commander to Digital Anvil
Austin, TX, November 10, 1997 -- ORIGIN Systems, Inc., an Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) company, announces that it has granted an option to acquire the live-action feature film and television rights to one of the most successful computer game franchises in the history of electronic entertainment, Wing Commander. The rights have been granted to the Austin, Texas-based entertainment company, Digital Anvil, Inc., led by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts. The announcement was made today by Neil Young, general manager of ORIGIN Systems, in conjunction with Marten Davies, president of Digital Anvil. The financial terms were not disclosed.
The film will be based on characters, storylines, themes and other creative elements from titles I through IV of the best-selling Wing Commander computer game series, developed by Origin over the past eight years. Roberts, who was the executive producer of the first four Wing Commander games, is now the chairman and chief executive officer of Digital Anvil. Commenting on the announcement, Young said: "This is an exciting time for ORIGIN and Wing Commander. This holiday season we will be shipping the latest groundbreaking game in the Wing Commander lineup, Wing Commander: Prophecy. And with today's news on the film and television rights, Wing Commander continues its role as a pioneering franchise in the entertainment industry."
"My vision for the Wing Commander property has always been to create an immersive movie-like experience on a PC, complete with a compelling story, intriguing characters, and Hollywood-quality video and sound," said Roberts. "Because Wing Commander is such a rich production, I am excited to be able to translate it to film and television, and release it to a mass market audience."
Since the 1990 launch of the first Wing Commander, the Wing Commander series has spawned four full sequels and numerous derivative products combining to generate in sales more than five million units worldwide. In that time, the Wing Commander series has consistently broken new ground. Wing Commander III became the industry's first interactive movie and marked the first extensive use of full motion video in a computer game. Wing Commander IV was the first game to use 35 millimeter film for its linear narrative. Wing Commander: Prophecy, the fifth installment in the series, will be released this Christmas and already has received critical acclaim from editors who are calling it, "one of the major gaming events of the year," "a visual knockout," and "the future of space combat."
An animated television series based on the property, Wing Commander Academy, was produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and broadcast on the USA Cable Network in 1996-1997.
ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 50 titles, including the award-winning Ultima, Wing Commander, Privateer and Crusader series of games. ORIGIN also develops titles under the Jane's Combat Simulations brand. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, with additional offices in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
Electronic Arts, headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., is a leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, EA posted revenues of $625 million for fiscal 1997. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems. EA has international subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The company has North American development operations in San Mateo and Walnut Creek, Calif.; Baltimore, Maryland; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Headquartered in Austin, TX, Digital Anvil is an entertainment company specializing in the fusion of silicon and celluloid. The company is creating innovative, bleeding-edge, interactive computer games and movies with star power and mass market appeal. Founded by Chris Roberts, creator of the best-selling Wing Commander series, Digital Anvil has a top creative team from the game and film industries, and a key marketing and equity partnership with industry leader Microsoft.
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