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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon and THQ Team Up for 'Rocket Power'

24 Aug, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

As part of the strategic partnership between Nickelodeon and THQ, a trio of new Rocket Power video games are heading to retail shelves this year with a Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 next-generation game slated for fall 2002.

“The gaming industry is one of the biggest players in entertainment today,” said Gabor Csupo, founder and co-chairperson, Klasky Csupo Studios, which has been involved with the translation of its TV characters to vide ogames. “Games serve as a great way to promote TV and movie properties. Kids fall in love with the interaction of video games, which bring them closer to their favorite characters.”

This year’s Rocket Power video games -- Rocket Power Getting Air (GBC, $30), Rocket Power Team Rocket Rescue (PS, $20, Aug. 31), Rocket Power Dream Scheme (GBA, $40, Sept. 18), Rocket Power Extreme Arcade Games (PC, $20, Oct. 1) -- will benefit from the branded TV spots that Nickelodeon will run this month and again during the holiday window. The home videos, skateboards, games and apparel will also be promoted with these spots.

“Rocket Power is a great property for video games because of it’s slightly older skewing demographic and the extreme sports concept that the show revolves around,” said Peter Dille, v.p. of marketing, THQ.

Dille said that next- generation platforms make sense for younger-skewing licenses next year, since the installed base for PlayStation 2 and GameCube will be established well beyond the core gamers.

Next year’s still-untitled PS2/GameCube Rocket Power game will have an action adventure storyline that draws on several TV episodes.

“Next-generation systems like PS2 can go further than we can on the TV show, introducing 3D versions of our 2D characters,” added Csupo. “Games make our characters richer and more intriguing.”

“With the next-generation Nickelodeon games slated for next year, we’ll take advantage of the DVD format to cross-promote the games with the videos,” said Steve Youngwood, v.p., interactive products and publishing, Nickelodeon Consumer Products. “Kids who watch Rocket Power also play video games. This property is built for extreme sports and you’ll see an upcoming episode featuring Tony Hawk, who’s a retired pro skater best known for his popular video game franchise,” said Youngwood.

Csupo said that the new format presents new challenges, but the end result appeals to fans of the property.

“Right now we’re busy with the movies and TV shows, but we’d be open to creating original things for video games in the future.”

Although the Rocket Power movie won’t hit theaters next year, THQ is expected to create games based on the feature film, just as its done with Paramount and Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (a PS2 game ships Nov. 6 for $40 with a PC game slated for Nov. 12 for $30). Neutron debuts as a Paramount feature this December and then heads to Nickelodeon as a fall 2002 TV series.

Csupo plans to bring upcoming properties from the new Global Tantro animation division, which will skew to an older audience, to video games in the future.

In addition to developing games based on Nickelodeon properties Rugrats, "The Wild Thornberrys" and "SpongeBob SquarePants," Youngwood said that Nick and THQ are close to announcing the title of their first original video game property, which is slated to ship in 2003. The property will debut as a THQ video game first and then head to Nickelodeon as a potential TV series, online entity, movie or magazine. THQ is looking at video games as a new development stream for original content.

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