Top publisher Electronic Arts has announced that it is the new holder of the rights to create videogames based on the hugely successful The Simpsons franchise, with a next-generation title already in the pipeline.
The firm has signed a long-term deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television and Gracie Films which gives it the rights to create next-generation titles based on the long-running TV series, taking over from current Simpsons game publisher Vivendi Universal Interactive.
The deal is even more significant since it's the first time that EA has entered into such a deal with Fox, and could pave the way for future collaboration on some of Fox' other hugely successful properties.
No launch date for the first next-generation Simpsons title has been specified as yet, and it's not clear which of the next-gen platforms it will appear on - although it's probably safe to say that all three platforms will get Simpsons titles at some point.
"This is something EA's been interested in for years," commented Nick Earl, general manager of the EA Redwood Shores studio where the titles will be developed, "and now game development and technology is at a place where The Simpsons characters and world will really come alive in these games."
Twentieth Century Fox president Gary Newman also offered his thoughts on the deal, stating that "Electronic Arts is exactly the right creative partner to bring Springfield to life in this medium," but we'll leave the last word to Simpsons executive producer James L Brooks, who simply commented that "I think this is a great opportunity for us, primarily because it brings with it the possibility of free EA games." It's all about having your priorities right.