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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: 'Final Fantasy' DVD to Exploit PlayStation 2

6 Jul, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

After revolutionizing the art of computer-generated filmmaking, producer Jun Aida and director Hironobu Sakaguchi plan on bringing Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within full circle on DVD.

The feature film, inspired by the video game series that has sold more than 35 million units worldwide, will be released on DVD next spring in two separate editions, one made specifically forPlayStation 2 owners and a regular DVD release. The video game bow of Final Fantasy X for PlayStation 2 will debut shortly beforethe DVDs in the first quarter.

This will mark the first time that a home video company hastargeted the video game community with actual DVD extras.

“For the PS2 DVD release, we will do some scenes usingreal-time rendering, where you will have the interactive ability to change the camera angles,” Aida says. “So you can sort of have your own version of the film, with your own camera positions.”

Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy video games and director of the film, has had his research and development team working on special extras for the movie's DVD release. One extra that's not expected on the DVD is a playable demo of Final Fantasy X for PS2, although a trailer should be included on bothDVD versions.

SquareEA and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment areexpected to work together to cross-promote the DVD and the PS2 game. Square Pictures and SquareEA have worked closely to cross-promote Final Fantasy Chronicles and Final Fantasy IX,both PlayStation games, with the feature film, released next week.

PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox, which ships Nov. 8, haveopened up the DVD audience to include video gamers. The coregamer buys about 50 video games a year and regularly preorders big DVD movie releases, according to research conducted by video game retailer Electronics Boutique.

With the influx of game-based films heading to theaters and video, including Tomb Raider, Crazy Taxi, Resident Evil, Duke Nukem and Perfect Dark, there will be plenty of opportunities for home video companies to take advantage of the PS2 and Xbox machines, which have far more horsepower than a standard DVDor Nuon DVD player.

As PS2 heads into next year, industry experts expect Sony to lift its ban on playable PS2 game demos included on movie DVDs.

The crop of fall DVD movies with game tie-ins, including Shrek, The Mummy Returns and Jurassic Park III, are not expected to include them, but some will include game trailers, PC game demos and game cross-promotions.

The next step in video game and movie DVD cross-promotions is bundling console games with corresponding DVD movies. Artisan Home Entertainment packaged the three Blair Witch PC video games with the two Blair Witch movie DVDs last year, but thishasn't been tried with console games yet. It's likely that when home video studios and game publishers get to this point, they'llbundle previously released games with the movie DVDs, allowing everyone to make money off the original release.

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