Sega will hatch 'Alien' games

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Sega has inked a deal with 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising for a series of games based on the "Alien" movies.

The publisher, best known for its "Sonic the Hedgehog" video game franchise, is developing multiple next-generation and PC video games set in the "Alien" universe, including a first-person shooter and a role-playing game, with the first product to ship in 2008.

Rob Lightner, vp business de- velopment, said Sega is in talks with actors from the films, including Sigourney Weaver and Lance Henriksen, to reprise their movie roles by providing likenesses and voice roles for the games.

"We haven't finalized anything at this point, but everything is on the table," Lightner said. "It's important for everyone to understand the difference here: We're taking licensing to the next level with this franchise."

Mike Gallo, senior producer of the "Alien" games at Sega, said the new games will not follow the strict story lines of any of the four films in the series but instead will provide a new experience by drawing from the history and lore that is the foundation of the films.

"We'll go out of our way to tie the games into the films in unique ways," he said. "We're also looking at all 'Alien' source material for inspiration, in addition to the films. We may incorporate some characters that fans know and love, and we may let gamers find answers to questions that were left unanswered in the movies."

There have been about a dozen "Alien" video games, dating to the Atari 2600 game that came out in 1982 and leading to Glu Mobile's cell phone game "Aliens: Unleashed" from 2003. Gallo said Sega's games will stand out from previous efforts thanks to new technology developed for next-generation machines.

"Alien" (1979) and its three sequels have grossed more than $557 million in worldwide boxoffice and garnered two Oscars.

Elie Dekel, executive vp at 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, said Fox is keeping the "Alien vs. Predator" franchise, which has a second film in production, apart from this game deal. The "AVP" franchise had a best-selling PC video game franchise from Vivendi Games released before the movie bowed in August 2004. He said that although the first "AVP" film did not have a direct tie-in, there could be a new game for the sequel.

Dekel said that Fox has other catalog properties that could turn into long-term game franchises, naming "Big Trouble in Little China," "The Fly" and "Fantastic Voyage."

In recent months, Sega has done game deals for Paramount's "Charlotte's Web," Marvel Entertainment's "Iron Man" and the "His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass" trilogy of films from New Line.
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