['Bell, Game, and Candle' is a regular GameSetWatch column by writer Alex Litel, discussing stuff that happens - or doesn't happen - in the game business. This time - he travels into the future to bring back press releases.]

EA Signs the Legendary David Lynch for Three Game Deal
Auteur behind Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive to elevate the plane of interactive entertainment

Electronic Arts today announced that cinematic legend David Lynch will bring his unique talents to the development of three original games. Lynch will lead development of the games with a team at Pandemic Studios in Los Angeles, the same studio recently released open-world title Mercenaries 2: World of Flames and the forthcoming The Lord of the Rings: Conquest. Lynch's acclaimed works include Oscar-nominated classics such as Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet, and The Elephant Man. He is presently devoting his time to an array of multimedia projects.

Under the agreement with Asymmetrical Productions, EA will co-own the intellectual properties and the game franchises will be co-developed, published and distributed worldwide by EA. The relationship between Lynch and EA includes efforts to extend the game franchises into theatrical motion pictures. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“The sheer promise of technology has struck me as a bellwether of innovation; for that reason, I am excited to be entering a new medium and proving it capable of handling a scathing, soaring complexity,” said Lynch. “By taking the more arduous road of creating computer games without the use of computers, I believe that we will set an inspirational precedent for interactive narratives.”

The collaboration will also give Lynch unprecedented control over the marketing and publicity of the games, offering an imaginative experience prior to the release of the game certain to intrigue Lynch fans and gamers. Starting today, fans will find a clues embedded within Lynch’s daily weather forecast at his website davidlynch.com.

Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games Label said, “For decades, David Lynch has amassed an incomparable library of masterpiece after masterpiece, and it is nothing short of an honor to help him create his next masterpieces. These are certain to be projects that will show the general public that the medium is as legitimate artistically as film or literature.”

The deal was brokered on behalf of Mr. Lynch and Asymmetrical Productions by Creative Artists Agency.

Microsoft Brings Romance to the Halo Universe with Halo Dating

Groundbreaking franchise once again shatters boundaries with innovation

In an age when the state of gaming seems awash with the monotonous drudgery of soulless, polarizing product targeted at the most specific of audiences, an innovative title will stand apart. “Halo® Dating,” the ambitious next great chapter in the acclaimed “Halo” franchise, is certain to shatter entertainment sales records when it releases later this year.

Created by legendary developer Bungie Studios with the assistance of acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks and exclusive to the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, “Halo Dating” will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in an epic, galactic tale of romance.

Sparks, best known for sweeping novels such as “The Notebook” and “Message and the Bottle” that have created big-screen romantic blockbusters, handled the writing of the project and guided the team in development. His contributions ensure an experience that will thrill diehard fans and newcomers alike.

“There is absolutely no greater platform in the video-gaming universe than that of the ‘Halo’ series,” said Sparks. “Dealing with very human, universal matter, I’m confident this game has an involving experience that will encompass everyone and bring gamers and non-gamers together.”

Although “Halo Dating” largely eschews the shooting that has marked the series, the game features relentless action and adventure that will bring the audience to see those two terms in a new light.

In the campaign mode, gamers can expect to spend twenty-five hours on an ultimate journey in the shoes of Colonel James Ackerson, as he attempts to sustain his relationship through intense intergalactic conflict and shocking revelations.

But “Halo Dating” truly comes alive when multiple players join in, the game features an entirely different cooperative mode called “Couples Play” that places one player as Ackerson and one as his girlfriend through an unique way of play, and will truly bring couples closer together with an emphasis on positive cooperation rather than nihilistic destruction.

On the Xbox LIVE® service, gamers will find a continuation of that emphasis of positive cooperation with modes like “Lovematch”—an subversion of the famed “deathmatch” mode—where the aim is not to blast each other but resolve differences and contribute in a positive manner.

“With a truly compelling experience that transcends demographics, “Halo Dating” is the must-play title of the fall,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Anyone interested in the future of entertainment knows that the Xbox 360 is the place to be.”

Eidos Enlists My Chemical Romance for Shellshock 2 Soundtrack
Unprecedented collaboration elevates war-torn fear to new levels.

Eidos Interactive, creator of some of the world’s leading videogame properties, today announced an unprecedented collaboration with the multi-platinum art-rock group My Chemical Romance to create the soundtrack for the upcoming psychological first person shooter Shellshock 2: Blood Trails.

From “Let’s Live for Today” to “My Girl,” the acclaimed New Jersey quartet has reinvented more than twenty hits that truly illuminate the game’s harrowing setting of Cambodia ravaged by the Vietnam War. My Chemical Romance’s contributions mark the largest body of music recorded by a blue-chip act exclusively for a game.

“Ever since that first crack at Contra when I was ten, I have been a lifelong gamer, and finding an opportunity like this that indulges my own fantasies while promoting our artistic integrity is truly once in a lifetime,” said My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerald Way.

Additionally, audiophiles will be to geek out with a copy of the game’s soundtrack on vinyl when they purchase the PlayStation®3 edition of Shellshock 2: Blood Trails.

“My Chemical Romance are relentless auditory innovators, and it was only natural that we decided to partner with them to create the most visceral and menacing depiction of war to grace the medium,” said Lee Singleton, General Manager of Eidos Game Studios.

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails will be released in February 2009 on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Games for Windows®.

Ubisoft Announces Tom Clancy’s Imagine: Party Babyz: Clandestine Frolics
Preeminent infantile celebration simulation returns.

Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announced that it will publish Tom Clancy’s Imagine: Party Babyz: Clandestine Frolics exclusively on the Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Red Storm Entertainment, Tom Clancy’s Imagine: Party Babyz: Clandestine Frolics marks a return of the preeminent infantile celebration simulation.

This time around, the franchise sees the addition of the Tom Clancy brand and an epic story penned by the PEN/Faulkner Award-winner Richard Ford.

“I am happily hesitant to lend my name to anything anyone approaches me to be involved with, but when I saw the unabashedly unflinching undertaking planned ahead, I knew this was a palpable presentation of a narrative,” said Ford. “To see a group of people committed to the conception of something beyond the basic, banal stereotype-laden shoot-em-up in some exotic locale is simply inspirational.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the venerable talents of Richard Ford and Red Storm on board for this evolution of the Party Babyz franchise,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Ubisoft. “With these new epic additions, gamers everywhere are going to find themselves endlessly immersed in the powerful, enchanting world of Tom Clancy’s Imagine: Party Babyz: Clandestine Frolics.”

Game features include:

  • Acclaimed voice cast. The game features the vocal talents of acclaimed actors such as Michael Salinger, Gary Oldman, Brenda Strong, Jean Reno, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Roma Maffia. Patrick Stewart, Terence Stamp, Tom Waits, Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken, and Juliette Binoche.

  • Innovative soundtrack. Composed by Tom Waits, the game’s innovative soundtrack of dozens of ditties and doodles dynamically changes based on the context of the game’s action, making for a more immersive mode of play.

  • Command and move your party. Using the Wii Speak™ and Wii Balance Board™, players can experience the ultimate multitasking challenge where they must wiggle and waggle their bodies while efficiently using their voice to chart the course of their partying.

  • Sensational storyline. Written by heralded author Richard Ford, the game features an unforgettable Homeric probing of contemporaneous society filled to the brink with moral ambiguity that will encourage players discussing their experience after playing the game.

  • Evolved realism. Ubisoft enlisted renowned infantile celebration expert Dr. Frederica Ancalade to consult on the development of the game, ensuring the most realistic interactive experience of the kind.

Tom Clancy’s Imagine: Party Babyz: Clandestine Frolics has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

[Alex Litel can be reached at alexlitel@gmail.com and occasionally found at alexlitel.blogspot.com. The press releases above may not actually exist - yet.]