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Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Disney Buys American McGee's 'Oz' Movie; Q&A Posted
8:08 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

As reported earlier this week in industry trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, famed game designer American McGee's multimedia production company, Carbon 6, has struck a deal with one of Hollywood's biggest film studios to produce the motion picture properties of his current project, "American McGee's Oz".

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a three-picture deal was struck recently between Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and McGee's own company. The deal, brokered by talent agency ICM, will see a film trilogy emerge from McGee's twisted re-telling of the classic children's book The Wizard Of Oz.

Apart from the basic premise of the new work, which sees Oz as a dark and barren, war-torn land, little is known about the project, despite the fact that an Oz-based computer game was officially supposed to be released sometime this year for the PC and Xbox platforms. In a recent interview with gaming mega-site Gamespot, McGee sheds some light on the current status of the game, and offers insight into the increasing difficulties of developing new titles faced by game developers:

GS: It sounds like Oz is becoming a lot more than just a game.

AM: To date, we've developed the property across a wide range of markets. Series one of the toys have been at retail for the last year and have done very well. We're in the process of launching series two and three of the toys this year. The book is done, and as HR reported, we have a deal with Warner Books. The book should be released by Xmas of this year, but as usual, there's no promise that it will.

GS: That sounds like a bonanza, synergy-wise. But when is the game itself coming out?

AM: That's a little more complicated. We have a completed design, a running Xbox demo, and a lot of material to show but are still working on finding a publisher. For a while we put the publisher search on hold while we worked on getting the film set up. Now we're receiving interest from game publishers again and are working to get game development restarted.

With game development currently on hold, and a movie deal in the works, it's this reporter's opinion that the game will probably not hit the shelves until it can be tied-in with the release of the Disney pictures, sometime in the next two or three years. As for a Mac version, there likely won't be any word on the possibilities of a port until well into the game's development. Stay tuned to IMG, however, as we'll continue updating readers on the progress of this multi-media extravaganza.

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