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There aren't a lot of big-budget movie tie-in games these days, but that's something Universal hopes to change in the coming years. From Fast and the Furious to Jurassic World, the studio aims to bring more silver screen hits to game consoles moving forward.
The folks over at Gameinformer recently got in some hands on time with the upcoming Jurassic Park Evolution and, in the process, they had an opportunity to chat up Universal's new executive vice president of worldwide games, Chris Heatherly. According to Heatherly, the future of games based on Universal properties could be a bright one:
The goal is to make a bigger push into gaming. Just cause we have so much IP that's unexploited in games, but it's a really great fit. We have the mega-franchises like Jurassic World and Fast and the Furious, we have stuff like the Universal monsters that goes back decades, we have the horror stuff with Blumhouse, we have the animated stuff with Illumination and Dreamworks. It's really a broad portfolio.
To get the ball rolling, Universal is staffing its games division, bringing on about 100 positions, according to the initial report. It sounds like they'll be primarily focused on mobile games, but that shouldn't be taken as a sign that AAA console games aren't part of the plan. As Heatherly puts it, Universal is well aware of its limitations to develop a whole bunch of games boasting a whole bunch of IPs set in a whole bunch of genres.
As he explains it, Universal doesn't need to "own the development capacity" when you've got the roster of IP the studio possesses. Instead, he's interested in licensing those IP out, similar to what Disney has done with Star Wars. He said that Universal is interested in forging partnership with developers right now and, down the road, maybe they'll consider picking up some studios of their own.
And yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Universal isn't a games company (not yet, at least), so it probably wouldn't be a sound investment to cobble together a team and take a swing at turning one of their properties into a big AAA blockbuster. Then again, even licensed games based on movies in the past have been notoriously iffy. So we're certainly interested in seeing them follow through on the idea of taking these types of projects more seriously.
If Universal notices a developer has turned out a well-liked racing game, maybe they'll work with them to get a Fast and Furious game out that's, you know, not rubbish. This is a pie in the sky example, but Supermassive Games has settled nicely into horror games. Maybe they'd be a good fit to bring the Universal monsters back from the grave? Also, there's got to be a good developer out there just itching to make a Pacific Rim game, right?
Those musings aside, Heatherly said fans can expect to hear more from Universal in the games department in the next couple of years.