ABC's hit television creeper "Lost" is following in the footsteps of other small-screen blockbusters like "CSI" and "24" and is finding new life in the gaming world.
Though still in the very early stages of development, Touchstone Television and game maker Ubisoft announced today that a deal to make the game is final and that it's now in the hands of the programming geniuses at Ubisoft's Montreal studios.
"With our Montreal studios involved you can expect an extremely high level game," said Pascal Bonnet, director of licensing for Ubisoft "'Lost' is a hit all over the world and we want to bring the 'Lost' universe to the next level."
Bonnet says that less than two weeks ago at the video game industry's biggest trade show -- the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 -- he met with the show's producers, including co-creator J.J. Abrams, to discuss the project.
Bonnet wouldn't share much, but did say the idea is to create a video game as unique and engaging as the unconventional TV show.
"Lost" creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof and producers from the show will serve as executive producers on the game.
Not Just for Gamers; Not Just for Fans
The "Lost" video game will be released for both home and handheld consoles, as well as for PCs, and is scheduled to hit stores sometime next year.
While the details have yet to be ironed out, Bruce Gersh, senior vice president of business development with ABC Entertainment, says ABC hopes to broaden the show's appeal with an interactive experience unlike any other.
"As we are developing this game, we'll be keeping in mind the core viewer, but also the core player," he said. "We're gonna have a lot of fun with it."
Gersh points out that while the show's characters will likely be involved in some way, the creation of the game may lead to new characters that could have the chance to jump out of the game and into the show.
"We did that with the 'Alias' game," he said. "It was a small character, but he appeared in the game first."
"Lost" fans will be happy to know that the studio behind the upcoming game is one known and respected by gamers worldwide.
Among others, Ubisoft Montreal is responsible for the Tom Clancy "Splinter Cell" series of games, "Far Cry Instincts" and the recent "Prince of Persia" titles.
Unusual Marketing for an Unusual Show
The move to turn "Lost" into a video game is in line with the current trend of bringing hit television shows to game players.
But it's a trend that Gersh says is not new and says more about the audience than the marketing strategy.
"Serialized dramas have classically tapped into the gamer audience," he explained. "But it has to fit the brand. There are lots of great television shows that are successful but would never make sense as a video game."
Gersh says when those opportunities do arise, they represent unique revenue streams that can not only generate additional profits, but can spread the word about an already successful show.
In fact, the marketing team on "Lost" has been vigorous in its pursuit of ways to generate buzz that appeal to the show's audience.
Things like a Web site for the ill-fated Oceanic Airlines, on which the show's doomed castaways were flying when they crashed, and phony television commercials for the show's mysterious Honso Foundation keep fans involved, not just watching.
It may be one of the reasons the show is the fastest-selling series in Buena Vista Internation Television's history, appearing in 210 territories worldwide.
"The creative appeal of 'Lost' transcends borders with its character-driven stories and addictive mysterious mythology,"Touchstone Television executive vice president Julia Franz said in today's press release. "It's not enough for fans worldwide to just watch 'Lost,' the game is a wonderful opportunity to organically extend this creative phenomenon into an interactive consumer experience."