Bruckheimer names his gaming gurus

Jim Veevaert, Jay Cohen lead producer's venture with MTV

SAN DIEGO--Jerry Bruckheimer and MTV Games have tapped two game industry veterans, Jim Veevaert and Jay Cohen, to head up the legendary movie and TV producer's long-awaited gaming division.

The formal hiring of Veevaert and Cohen comes 17 months after Bruckheimer and MTV Games first announced a deal to form Jerry Bruckheimer Games and develop original titles for a variety of platforms, including potentially mobile and virtual worlds.

“We went through a long interview process and we found Jim and Jay to be exceptional in what they've done for various companies,” said Bruckheimer. “They're the right kind of people to make our venture very successful.”

The hiring of Cohen as president of development had been rumored for months. Prior to joining Bruckheimer, Cohen was responsible for content acquisition and strategic planning on this side of the Atlantic for French gaming publisher Ubisoft, where he helped launch blockbuster games such as “Splinter Cell,” “Rainbow Six” and “Prince of Persia.” 

Veevaert, who joins Bruckheimer as president of production, comes from Microsoft, where his duties included serving as executive producer for the record-breaking “Halo 3” and franchise management for the entire Halo XBox 360 game series.

Even with this two key hires now in place, Bruckheimer stressed there is no timetable for when the first titles from the partnership with MTV Games will reach consumers.

“We know games take a long time to develop and we're patient,” he added. “We're looking at things that are very similar to the movies we make and the types of games they've developed in the past so we're going to be focusing on those kind of genres.”

As for how hands-on he intends to be in the game creation process, Bruckheimer said, “I'm certainly going to be involved but I won't say that I'm an expert in this field and so will rely on the developers and the executives to run it.”

Flushed with the huge success of “Rock Band”-- its first major step into the video game arena--MTV Games is now selectively expanding its presence in the space and worked closely with Bruckheimer on the hiring of Cohen and Veevaert.

"This relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer around narrative and story-telling based gaming will enable us to appeal to both men and women,” noted Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music & Logo Group. “We're really not interested in doing copycat games and want to work on original IP that is unlike other games in the market place.”

Announced in December 2007, MTV Games' exclusive deal with Bruckheimer represents the producer's first foray into the gaming world. The deal was negotiated by Creative Artists Agency on behalf of Jerry Bruckheimer. For MTV Games, the agreement was overseen by George Cheeks, evp  and general counsel, business and legal affairs, MTV Networks.