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'Snake Plissken' Coming To a Video Game Near You!

by Rainier on July 30, 2003 @ 3:17 a.m. PDT

The character made famous by Kurt Russell in "Escape From New York" is set to become a franchise in all media under the brand "The Snake Plissken Chronicles." Plissken has already been the pivotal presence in two films: the 1981 favorite and its 1996 sequel, "Escape From L.A." A series of deals by Russell, director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill, -- who, as the company Snake World, jointly own the character rights -- has added video games, an anime movie, comic books, action figures and novelization tie-ins to the ways Plissken's story is being told (thanks HomeLan).

Namco Hometek Inc. has secured the rights to develop and publish "The Snake Plissken Chronicles" video games, the company is expected to officially announce Wednesday. The title character will have Russell's likeness, and the actor will provide the voice.

"Bringing Snake into the video game world should be a blast," Russell said.

Carpenter, Hill and Russell will work closely with Namco on the games' development, the first of which is scheduled to reach retail in time for Christmas 2005.

"Working with both the original team from 'Escape' and the developers at Namco allows Kurt, Debra and me to reach a whole new generation of Snake fans and still be true to the original movie," Carpenter said.

Hill said it had taken more than a year to find the right video game company after she and her partners first decided to extend the character in that direction.

The deal is structured on a series of tiers. Snake World received an unspecified amount "in the high-six figures" as an advance on the first game. If that sells more than 250,000 units, there will automatically be a second game with a higher advance and so on.

"This reinvention of Snake in a multimedia world that did not exist 20 years ago only reinforces our belief that the character is universal in his appeal and ageless in the marketplace," Hill said. "We created this really cool outsider character that a lot of people identify with."

The games will not be based on the movies. Instead, Hill said, they will explore the legends and incidents the movies refer to. "How did Snake lose his eye? What happened in the Battle of Cleveland or at the Battle of Leningrad? These are all the different stories of his life," she said. "There's a lot of lore. We're having fun with this as a creative platform."

Hill also confirmed that Production IG, the company behind the 1998 classic "Ghost in the Shell," has acquired rights to create "Chronicles of Snake." Russell will provide the voice for the anime movie, which is scheduled for completion in 2005. A 30-second trailer is planned for inclusion on the upcoming collector's edition DVD of "Escape From New York."

An extension of the "John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles" comic book deal also has been signed. Two issues already exist, from Hurricane Comics and published by Cross Gen Entertainment, but that arrangement has now developed into a three-year series of bimonthly episodes in the life of the eponymous antihero with Carpenter, Hill and Russell as executive producers.

According to Hill, the success of the comics magnified the interest from video game companies. "It was a smart business move," she said. "They came with lots of creative ideas and good proposals and good advances."

Namco Hometek Inc. is the U.S. consumer division of the Tokyo-based Namco Ltd. The video game company is best known for "Pac-Man," "Soul Calibur" and "Tekken," among other franchises.

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