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Videogames a 'test bed' for Hollywood, says Tron creator

Director comments on new games as Disney talks of franchise potential

Tron creator Steve Lisberger has described videogames as "a visual and a narrative test bed for Hollywood", suggesting that games can be utilised as a less expensive medium to test potential new film concepts.

"I like the fact that the games in some ways are a visual and a narrative test bed for Hollywood, where some of the more far-out ideas can be experimented with on a somewhat smaller scale than having to ratchet them all the way up to a film like Tron: Legacy," said Lisberger in a recent Reuters interview.

"I think that's a good relationship between games and films," he added.

"I think games like Tron: Legacy have a great opportunity to use 3D technology to create a much more immersive experience for the consumer," said Bob Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. "When you use new technology to make something that is more compelling for the consumer, then they want more of it. They want to watch it more, play it more, and buy it more."

"You can already play Blu-ray 3D and 3D games on PlayStation 3, so games are a great way to get the technology into the home," added Tron: Legacy director Joe Kosinski. "Games and movies are very different experiences and it's great to have one leverage the other into the home theatre environment. I think there's room for both and I can't wait to play the Tron game in 3D myself."

Two tie-in titles were created for Tron: Legacy, with Propaganda Games' Tron Evolution released for the HD and portable formats and N-Space's Tron Evolution: Battle Grids for the Wii. Much like the film neither has been received well critically, with Tron Evolution currently on a Metacritic score of 60 and Battle Grids currently unranked, with just reviews of 50 and 65.

Although neither game has made an impact on the sales charts Tron: Legacy has enjoyed a $44 million opening in the US, which may have a knock-on effect on the games.

"I think Tron has the potential to become a real franchise," said Iger. "Right now the focus is on launching a great movie and a great videogame, and then hoping that the people out there agree with us. If they do, we have the ability as a company to basically turn something that's successful in one medium or two into a true franchise. And we're fully prepared to do that with Tron."

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