Stan Lee's NHL-Themed 'Guardian Project' Created Using Video Game Technology
The superhero franchise, which could spawn an online game and TV series, is the first project to develop "Hollywood animation through a game engine," says co-creator.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Stan Lee's latest venture, The Guardian Project, a collection of 30 superheroes inspired by each of the National Hockey League teams, was unveiled Sunday as a short film with voice-over by Lee that played on the ice, on the JumboTron and on a huge round movie screen during the 58th NHL All-Star Game intermission at the RBC Center and on the Versus and CBC Networks telecasts of the game.
The computer-generated Guardians were created by Guardian Media Entertainment, a partnership between the NHL and Lee's SLG Entertainment, using the same video game engine technology that powers blockbuster games like Epic Games' Gears of War franchise, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's Batman: Arkham Asylum and Sony Online Entertainment's DC Universe Online.
Tony Chargin, co-creator of The Guardian Project and executive vp at Guardian Media Entertainment, said the company is using Unreal Engine 3 to develop an online game as well as a computer-animated television series aimed at tween boys. Further down the road, Chargin didn't rule out a console video game, since the game technology works seamlessly across all platforms.
"We are the first ever attempt at creating Hollywood animation through a game engine," said Chargin, who works directly with Lee on the project. "It's never been done before. We have far-reaching implications for what we hope to do with this technology, but it's enabled us to do some really intricate motion picture quality animation in a fraction of the time."
While the TV series is still "nine months to a year down the road," Chargin said the plan is to launch the online game by October of this year to coincide with the start of 2011-12 NHL season.
"Each of the superheroes derives traits from its city and team brand: The Oiler has a weapon that he plunges into the ground; the Bruin fights evil with his sonic roar; the Los Angeles King has his earthquake-inducing sword," Chargin said. "In the game, you're going to be able to use all the Guardian powers and square off, one-on-one, live against other players online."