Woo game, pic on hybrid disc


SAN DIEGO -- Midway Games has partnered with the Weinstein Co. and Genius Products to create the first video game/movie hybrid Blu-ray Disc.

When the game publisher ships the limited edition "John Woo's Stranglehold Collector's Edition" for PlayStation 3 in the summer, gamers who buy the $70 disc will get a full game as well as a high-definition version of director John Woo's "Hard Boiled." That title had not previously been released on Blu-ray.

Woo decided to take the interactive route with "Stranglehold," a sequel to "Hard Boiled," with Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as Inspector Tequila. The game offers an original plot that takes place 10 years after the events in the movie.

Although "Stranglehold" -- developed by Midway Games' Chicago Studio in conjunction with Woo's Tiger Hill Entertainment -- also will ship for Xbox 360, Microsoft's next-generation console still uses DVD-9 and does not have the capacity to hold both a full game and a movie.

"Putting a movie on a Blu-ray Disc certainly adds value to the game," IDC video game analyst Billy Pidgeon said. "These discs have a lot of storage capacity, and this gives Midway a chance to fill that space and offers consumers a value with two different entertainment mediums on a single disc."

With Woo's support, the director created the game's story, directed the motion-capture action and oversaw the game's development; Midway approached the film's rights-holders with the dual-format idea.

Weinstein and Genius were eager to take the film and deliver it to a new audience on a new format. As a result, gamers who haven't seen the original film -- which also is being released July 24 on DVD in a 15th anniversary two-disc edition via their Dragon Dynasty DVD label -- will be able to see the movie and then control the protagonist in a new interactive adventure.

Midway is still working out details on what types of extras the movie will have, but it is likely that two languages will be offered at the very least.

"The exclusive collector's edition of 'Stranglehold' demonstrates the power of PlayStation 3 Blu-ray Disc and the total entertainment experience that can only be found on PlayStation 3," said Riley Russell, senior vp Third Party Relations and general counsel at Sony Computer Entertainment America. "The 50GB capacity of Blu-ray Disc allows PS3 content publishers to do things simply not possible on our competitor's 9GB DVD-based systems. Thanks to the advanced technology found in PS3, developers like Midway can truly realize their visions, bringing consumers even closer to the game."