Taurus nods play games with THQ

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The Taurus World Stunt Awards, which airs Monday on AMC, is getting a lift from an upcoming video game. THQ'S "Stuntman: Ignition" game, which ships for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 on Aug. 28, will feature a tie-in to Taurus, which honors the best stunts and stunt people in Hollywood.

THQ has entered into a multiyear licensing deal with Taurus, and the new "Ignition" features a trailer for the award show as well as replicas of the trophies.

"The Taurus Awards is like the Oscars for stunt professionals," said James Cheeks ("The Transporter"), who THQ enlisted to serve as an adviser to the game. "It's where your peers cheer you on and you get acknowledgment of the stunts you've done in movies."

The awards have been integrated into the game play, rewarding gamers that have performed well in front of the virtual camera with real trophies. There are 36 Taurus Award nominations spread throughout the game's six fictional action movies like "Aftershock," "Overdrive" and "Strike Force Omega." By stringing together three specific stunts, the player will earn a nomination.

At the Taurus taping May 20 on the Paramount Studios lot, THQ had seven Xbox 360 game kiosks set up at the show's afterparty on the Paramount Studios lot. Actors Josh Duhamel ("Las Vegas"), Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans ("The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer") as well as Mr. T gave the new game a test drive.

Samuel Hubinette ("Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), who was nominated for a Taurus Award, said the event is "a great party when we have about 1,500 people from the stunt industry and big-name actors that come out and celebrate what we've done in the last year."

Shawn Wright, lead designer of the game at development studio Paradigm, said working with Taurus has been great. He said they want to get more involved in the game as this relationship moves forward.

For those in the professional stunt industry like Debbie Evans ("Superman Returns"), who won the Best Stunt Woman of the Year award, "Stuntman: Ignition" will shine the spotlight on their achievements.

"A lot of times we are in the background of Hollywood, and we are an important part of movies, and a lot of times we're not recognized as such," she said. "I've worked on a lot of major films doubling lead actresses doing major stunts and have not received credits when the crafts service guys gets a credit on the screen. And that's very frustrating. It's nice to have this game which a lot of moviegoers will play."

Cheeks was brought in early in development to work with Dallas, Texas-based Paradigm on incorporating Hollywood moviemaking into the game. Each movie has a preproduction phase in which stunts are first explained by one of the six directors in the game and then detailed by the stunt coordinator.

"Being a Hollywood stuntman is a gritty job, so we didn't want to show the polished aspect of the business," Wright said. "We wanted to bring the gamer behind the scenes, so we have storyboards, animatics, still shots and character renderings before every level. We wanted to show what goes into making a movie."
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