Bruckheimer signs Halo, Assassin's Creed execs to spearhead new IP
Microsoft's Jim Veevaert and Ubisoft's Jay Cohen join movie producer to create new games, film and TV projects
Jerry Bruckheimer Games has grabbed two key industry veterans to head its ambitious studio, focusing on creating new brands and properties that can span videogames, movies, TV and other forms of entertainment.
Jim Veevaert, who has spent eight years at Microsoft as executive producer on titles such as Halo 3, and was responsible for managing the relationships with Epic Games, Bungie and Rare, will take on the role of president of production. He's joined by Jay Cohen as president of development, who has spent the last decade at French publisher Ubisoft, helping to launch franchises such as Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell.
"We're tag teaming this, we're using our combined 25 years-plus experience in production and publishing in the industry to really get close to the metal and develop new products, to really be focused on working with the top tier talent," said Cohen, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz.
With a heavyweight producer behind it, the new studio is keen to jump straight in to developing blockbuster titles with the aid of Hollywood talent.
"We're going big," said Veevaert. "We want to focus on a few really big projects to make sure that we have the impact.
"At the same time we have the opportunity of working with the creative teams at Jerry Bruckheimer's studios to integrate the right creative entities to help us tell great stories. We're going to focus on working on very big productions."
The plan is create new products for games, which can then be expanded out to other media, including movies and television projects, said Cohen.
"We want to get it right, this is about how long and how deep we can go in creating brands and IPs that can last for a long time, that we can build upon for a totally multidimensional entertainment value – whether that is in games, film or television.
"That's the unique proposition here, that's what's different about this approach when you bring an executive producer in charge of production like Jerry Bruckheimer, it changes the game," he said.
Both Cohen and Veevaert will oversee relationships with independent development studios, who will help co-develop new properties, with products focused on storytelling.
"The focus we have, by being part of Bruckheimer's organisation, is to really concentrate on storytelling," offered Veevaert.
"We're not going to limit ourselves. We're going to just focus on creating IP and co-developing IP with independent developers in order to facilitate telling great stories. That's going to be our focus for the next few years as we start building out our plans," he added.
And Cohen is confident the studio will be able to manage relationships between videogame, movie and TV execs by being close to projects from the very beginning, and making decisions to work with multiple media from day one.
"What's happened in the past is that publishers and studios on the film side were getting together with ideas and going with a very traditional model, but they really weren't close to the productions themselves. So when a good idea had filtered down it was already in production, great ideas couldn't be implemented effectively and efficiently.
"Now, with more of a producer model, we can get games, films and TV exec producers sitting at the same table, at the same time and discussing the same ideas. It can become a very powerful chemistry to be able to create from the onset."
While Bruckheimer is already associated with some of the biggest franchises in movie and TV, including CSI and Pirates of the Caribbean, Veevaert reiterated that the game outfit will be creating new brands from scratch, and has no intention of taking back licenses already farmed out to game publishers.
"We're looking at focusing on original projects," he confirmed. "The opportunity is to create some original IP that then presents itself to expand out into different media. Jay and I are both going to focus on original titles."