Brash Entertainment said Monday that it had raised $400 million in funding to develop games based on movies and television shows.
Although relatively modest within Hollywood circles, the money raised by the Los Angeles start-up is nearly unprecedented in the video game industry. Investors included Abry Partners, New York Life Capital Partners, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance and PPM America.
“It’s an astonishing amount of money,” said Geoff Keighley, editor of industry website Gameslice. “This is by far the largest capitalization of an independent developer I’ve seen.”
Brash President Nicholas Langone said the company planned to build better games by cultivating close ties with movie directors.
“It’s not about watching a movie and replaying it in a video game,” said Langone, who oversaw game development as general manager of Universal Interactive, a division of Vivendi Universal. “We’re asking how the game experience can complement what we see on the screen.”
Brash has a dozen games in the pipeline, including one based on “Saw,” Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s horror-movie franchise. Langone said the firm, which will outsource development to independent studios but closely oversee each project, aimed to publish 10 to 12 games a year by 2009. It has an agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to distribute its games.
Many publishers have tried to leverage movie franchises into blockbuster games, with mixed results.
“When you have moviemakers making games and vice versa, historically the outcome has been pretty terrible,” IDC analyst Billy Pidgeon said. “They’re two very different disciplines.”