Classic games could soon be part of an IMAX experience near you…

By Jason Venter

If you’ve been playing PC games for years now, you might recall the fruits of a game developer called as Cinemaware. The studio was responsible for a variety of titles that made a mark during the medium’s early years. Despite producing several enormously popular titles, though, Cinemaware eventually folded and its classic intellectual property has only occasionally been revisited by more current developers and publishers, who had similar difficulty making anything stick.

This week, Starbreeze AB announced that it has secured the rights to “the entire Cinemaware library of titles,” in exchange for 525,000 EUR in cash. In addition to the Cinemaware brand itself, the acquisition includes the following list of IP:

  • Defender of the Crown
  • Wings
  • The King of Chicago
  • Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon
  • Lords of the Rising Sun
  • Rocket Ranger
  • It Came from the Desert
  • It Came from the Desert II: Antheads
  • SDI
  • TV Sports: Basketball
  • TV Sports: Baseball
  • TV Sports: Boxing
  • TV Sports: Football
  • TV Sports: Hockey

Longtime fans might notice that The Three Stooges, one of the original studio’s most popular titles, was not included as part of the deal. This is presumably a rights issue, and related to the one that prevented that classic game from being included in previous compilations.

Of course, the real star has long been Defender of the Crown, which has been ported to a variety of platforms over the years and has inspired numerous developers working in the industry today.

“Defender of the Crown is one of the games that made me and many others at Starbreeze go into the gaming industry all those years ago,” said Bo Anderson Klint, Starbreeze CEO. “For many, Cinemaware set the bar for fun and immersive gaming in the ATARI and AMIGA-era. For us, a developer, it will be a pleasure to re-energize and bring these great brands into the new era of VR and other platforms.”

The announcement referenced VR experiences at “our location based IMAX centers,” which might not be quite the form that gamers might expect a revival to take. Starbreeze had previously announced an agreement that will use StarVR headsets and IMAX technology to provide a 210-degree full peripheral field of view (twice what other sets currently allow).

“Just as IMAX provides the best cinematic experience,” IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond remarked at the time, “Starbreeze is a pioneer in the burgeoning VR market and its headsets will deliver a wider, ‘IMAX-like’ field of view to allow consumers to see, feel, move and play in new worlds in a powerfully immersive and realistic way.”

Judging by Starbreeze’s comments following its acquisition of the Cinemaware brand, not all of those worlds will be entirely new, but they should still have plenty of surprises to offer gamers who are looking forward to a variety of experiences, potentially ranging from medieval jousting events to horrifying deserts and possibly even sporting events. Are there any particular titles on the above list that you would like to see developers bring to VR?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.