Today Ubisoft announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with VIZ Media, LLC, to develop video games based on VIZ Media's hugely popular SHONEN JUMP's NARUTO animation series for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The game will hit stores in North America, South America, Central America and Mexico in 2007.
With NARUTO, Ubisoft will develop for the first time a game based on a Japanese property. NARUTO was first launched as part of SHUEISHA's weekly manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999 and launched in the U.S. in the monthly SHONEN JUMP Magazine in 2003. Naruto manga books have sold more than 59 million copies in Japan alone. Manga books are published in major territories in Europe as well. The NARUTO anime series debuted on TV TOKYO in 2002 and has already spawned several successful video game titles in Japan as well as character merchandise and two movies. Now, NARUTO anime is airing with tremendous success on Cartoon Network in the U.S.
NARUTO takes place in a world where ninja are the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox demon, Uzumaki Naruto is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio studies under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi, who helps the group face a series of dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninjas learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right versus wrong.
"NARUTO's ninja and martial arts themes are a perfect match for video games, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the characters and become part of the action" said Cynthia Money, vice president of consumer products for VIZ Media. "As a leading global game developer, Ubisoft is an ideal partner to develop video games for NARUTO that will bring out the power and emotion of the storylines."
"NARUTO is a huge hit around the world, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a game that will bring this exciting character to life," said Christian Salomon, worldwide licensing director at Ubisoft. "NARUTO is part of a wave of Japanese manga and anime that appeals to kids and adolescents alike, and we plan to deliver to them every bit of the excitement they have experienced in NARUTO's manga, movies and TV shows."
About VIZ Media, LLC:
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and at www.VIZ.com.
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through its strong and diversified lineup of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 21 countries and sales in more than 50 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. Ubisoft generated revenue of 538 million Euros for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, an increase of 8 percent over the previous fiscal year at constant exchange rates. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.
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