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Activision is more than just Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The game maker is bringing three big franchises to San Diego for Comic-Con 2012. And the publisher is using the convention to tease two brand new franchises – a new Marvel game and a prequel game based on AMC’s hit TV series,The Walking Dead.
Although it’s already on store shelves, Activision is riding the wave of The Amazing Spider-Man’s $140 million opening at the show. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the latest in the critically-acclaimed, bestselling franchise based on the Hasbro toys. Activision continues its James Bond franchise with 007 Legends, a collection of interactive stories from six Bond films, including Skyfall, Moonraker and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. David Oxford, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Activision Publishing, talks about this year’s plans at the celebration of pop culture in this exclusive interview.
The Hollywood Reporter: What is Activision doing at Comic-Con this year?
David Oxford: Activision is doing a great many things at San Diego Comic-Con this year. First, we’re celebrating the launch of The Amazing Spider-Man by allowing fans to go beyond the film and find out what happens next in The Amazing Spider-Man video game – which serves as an epilogue story to the movie. We’re also showcasing some of the most anticipated fan-favorite games in the industry, including Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, 007 Legends, and an all–new The Walking Dead video game based on AMC’s hit TV series. Oh yeah, and last but certainly not least – we’re revealing a brand new super hero game during the Marvel Games panel on Saturday, July 14th.
THR: How are you working with Hollywood talent at this year’s convention?
Oxford: We’ve got a handful of Hollywood talent scheduled to attend panels and autograph signing sessions. For Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, we have Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime), Gregg Berger (the voice of everybody’s favorite Dinobot, Grimlock), and Nolan North (as the voice of Cliffjumper), set to do a panel on Sat. July, 14 at 10 a.m., and then an autograph signing session at 2 p.m.
For The Amazing Spider-Man video game, we’ve got Bruce Campbell – who plays an ‘extreme reporter’ that gives Spider-Man death-defying challenges throughout the game – doing an autograph signing session also on Sat., July 14 at 4:00 p.m.
THR: How are you promoting The Amazing Spider-Man game at Comic-Con?
Oxford: We’re giving fans the opportunity to go beyond the feature film and find out what happens next in The Amazing Spider-Man video game. The story/events of the game serve as an epilogue story to the film (which, if you haven’t already seen it, is great!). We’ll have game stations on the show floor where showgoers can come up, get their hands on the game and get a taste for Spider-Man’s triumphant return to free-roaming Manhattan gameplay.
THR: How have you seen the role games play at this show evolve over recent years?
Oxford: The video game industry has been consistently growing and evolving. I remember attending SDCC years ago when you were lucky to have any companies attending the show and having their games readily available for attendees to walk up and play. Now, video games are so prominent at ‘the Con’ that the guys running the show group all the interactive gaming companies together so that we sort of have our own corner of the show floor.
THR: Why is the Comic-Con attendee important for Activision?
Oxford: The answer to this is simple: fans are the bread and butter of video games. What better way to reward our fans then to let them play and experience our latest games in a unique and fun setting before they’re available in stores.
THR: How has the growing number of international press that attends The Con influenced game activities at the show?
Oxford: What’s really great about the increasing number of int’l press attending Comic-Con is that is further cements my point above regarding how far Comic-Con has grown over the years. We now look at events like SDCC and NYCC and so on as opportunities to meet with members of the press from around the world.
THR: How has Activision worked with comic book creatives over the years on the Marvel games?
Oxford: Activision has had a great, long-running partnership with Marvel Entertainment over the years. Depending on what game, we collaborate with Marvel to bring on Marvel writers, voice actors, character costumes, etc. And of course, there’s the fact that a decent amount of Activision employees and members of our development studio are huge Marvel fans by nature.
THR: What impact has Comic-Con coming so close to E3 this year had on game activities?
Oxford: There hasn’t really been an impact from Comic-Con hitting so close to E3. E3 is an industry event, and Comic-Con is definitively more fan-facing and allows us the opportunity to give this hardest-of-the-hardcore fan audience an early, sneak peek behind the curtain at what we’re working on before its out in stores.
THR: 2015 is the last year for the convention’s current contract in San Diego. What does having this convention in San Diego mean for Comic-Con?
Oxford: This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that the convention could change locations, and San Diego has been an excellent home to Comic-Con over the years. On a personal note, if this is indeed the last year, I’ll miss our annual trip down to San Diego next year once the convention relocates, and that’s a feeling that I’m sure will be shared by others.
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