July 11, 2012 1:54pm PT by John Gaudiosi
Comic-Con 2012: 'Spartacus' Goes Virtual in New Ubisoft Console Game
Fans of Starz Entertainment’s bloody sword-and-sandals saga, Spartacus, finally get a console game experience with Spartacus Legends. Attendees at Comic-Con 2012 in San Diego will get to play the new game first at the Starz Media booth. Starz is teaming up with Ubisoft to promote the new game at the convention.
After a mobile game based on Spartacus: Blood and Sand and online Facebook games (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena: The Game and Spartacus Vengeance: The Game) accompanied previous series season debuts, the final season will get a console game from publisher Ubisoft, Spartacus Legends. Developer Kung Fu Factory is working with Ubisoft on the fighting game, which will be released digitally for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 through Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
The new fighting game promises to immerse users in the visceral world created by Steven S. DeKnight featuring popular characters from the international hit series. Set to launch in early 2013 in tandem with the new season, Spartacus: War of the Damned, gamers will experience primeval gladiator moments, from training inside the ludus to brutal battles in the arena, all while striving to become a legend.
Featuring thousands of ruthless weapon combinations and a robust skill system, Spartacus Legends delivers a variety of tools for gamers to customize their gladiators and dismember their foes. Gamers will be able to fight as Spartacus, Crixus or one of their own created gladiators as they battle with friends offline or in online multiplayer to join the ranks on the worldwide leaderboards.
According to Ubisoft, Liam McIntyre (Spartacus) has been very involved with the Spartacus Legends team. In addition to allowing his likeness and voice to be featured, Liam, a big gamer himself, played early builds of the game and provided his creative feedback throughout the development process. Manu Bennett (Crixus) also worked with the game makers and is a playable character in the game.
DeKnight, who is a gamer, said that his own videogaming experience has influenced the making of this TV series. After wanting to do a console game since before the first series debuted, he’s been involved with the two Facebook games and mobile game, as well as this console edition.
“I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3 and I play as much as possible,” said DeKnight. “I’m more of a third-person Gears of War, God of War guy…anything with war in it...Call of Duty, those kinds of action-based games I just find exhilarating.”
Working with the console development team has been an interesting experience for the creator.
“I’m constantly amazed at the technological advances in gaming,” said DeKnight. “I grew up playing games. I remember all the way back to the Pong days, and how I was shocked and amazed by the Atari 2600 when it came out. Now to see the graphics, and the almost photo-realistic gameplay, it’s truly amazing.”
The Spartacus franchise (Gods of the Arena, Blood and Sand and Vengeance) airs in more than 150 countries and has been translated into 15 languages. In the United States, viewership for the show has grown with each season and is one of the highest rated cable series, with more than six million viewers watching each episode.
In the upcoming final season, Spartacus: War of the Damned, sees the return of Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Dustin Clare (Gannicus), Dan Feuerriegel (Agron), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Naevia) and Ellen Hollman (Saxa). They are joined by Todd Lasance in the role of Gaius Julius Caesar, along with Simon Merrells as Marcus Crassus. Spartacus is produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight.