"Saw," one of the highest profile games left orphaned when Brash Entertainment went out of business, has been picked up by Konami.
Sources close to the project have confirmed that Konami has made a deal with Lionsgate, to whom the rights reverted when Brash breached its contract, and developer Zombie Studios.
The game will come out this fall along with the sixth "Saw" film (I almost wrote "Saw VI," but that series is getting so long in the tooth I'm wondering if they'll take a cue from the seventh "Star Trek" movie and just drop the numbers).
Konami is an obvious choice to pick up "Saw," since it has experience selling horror with a little franchise called "Silent Hill." But the game almost took a very intriguing twist: no publisher at all.
Or rather, no traditional publisher. Several sources told me that after it got the game rights back from Brash, Lionsgate strongly considered holding onto it and jumping into the videogame business by making "Saw" its first self-published game.
Like every other movie studio (some of whom have gotten into videogames, the rest of whom are considering it), Lionsgate was tempted by potential profits in the fast growing videogame biz. But in the end, execs there apparently decided they couldn't properly model sales, or weren't sure they could market a videogame, and went the safer route of licensing it to a new publisher.
The "Saw" game hasn't been shown publicly, as far as I know. But the many Brash ex-employees I interviewed late last year uniformly said that it was looking really good, nothing like the three embarassments the defunct publisher released in its brief year-and-a-half of existence.
Apparently they've got Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell, doing voice work and the game looks to be a bloody, violent M that's just as hard as the movies' R. I don't know much about gameplay, but I gather that it's based on the puzzles that Jigsaw likes to rig for his victims in the films. I do know it's for PC, PS3 and 360.
Which is a bit of a shame, because while I understand that the typical Wii and DS owners aren't exactly the target market, I can't help but think of all the disturbingly awesome things you could do in a "Saw" game with a touch screen or a Wii-mote. (If it's a hit, maybe they'll use the "Dead Space" example and follow it up with a Wii version).
As is common with movie licenses these days, Konami's deal with Lionsgate is long term, meaning that if the first one's a hit, the games could become just as much of a never ending - and never endingly profitable - institution as the movies.
Reps for Lionsgate, Konami and Zombie all declined to comment or didn't respond to requests for comment.
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