SAN DIEGO, California&NEW YORK, New York (AUGUST 9, 2007)— Through a deal that joins two of the world’s most innovative entertainment brands, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), a global leader in the online gaming industry, is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra’s Virgin Comics to bring the popular, India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe to life as an MMO video game initially for the PC.
The deal was announced today by John Smedley, President of SOE and Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics.
“Ramayan has inspired the lives of millions of people through the ages. The re-imagining of this great ancient epic through the creativity of a game platform re-affirms the fact that Ramayan is one of the greatest stories ever told,” said Deepak Chopra.“The fact that the same creative team of young Indians that created the story will be involved in working with SOE’s game development team, is a testament to the innovative and mythic minds of these gifted Indian creators who will take a new generation to new frontiers across the seas of consciousness into new realms of mystery, magic, adventure, and transformation.”
Through this exclusive multi-year, worldwide license agreement, SOE will develop and publish an MMO based on Ramayan’s story of mythological lore. Virgin Comics will serve as a creative consultant on the project. Virgin’s creative involvement with SOE’s game development team will be spearheaded by its President and head, Suresh Seetharaman, who has also overseen the development of the comic series. Also involved is acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, a co-founder of Virgin Comics.
“Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics’ telling of The R ® m ® yana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO,” said Smedley.“This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honored to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics.”
Virgin Comics’ Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India’s greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics’ Chief Creative Officer commented,“While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honor, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome.”
Devarajan concluded,“In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the likeminded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide.”
About Virgin Comics
Virgin Comics is a character entertainment company creating original stories and epic myths for worldwide audiences. The company was founded in November 2005 by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Enterprises Ltd., alongside author Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman. Virgin is developing new stories with acclaimed filmmakers, actors and musicians including John Woo, Guy Ritchie, Terry Gilliam, Dave Stewart, Ed Burns, Nicolas Cage, Duran Duran, Sachin Tendulkar and others. Feature films based on Virgin Comics’ characters are also in the works, including an animated feature The Secrets of the Seven Sounds and theatrical live action feature films, The Sadhu in development with actor Nicolas Cage as well as Gamekeeper in development with Warner Bros. In India, Virgin Comics recently established a partnership with Studio 18 to pioneer the Indian“teen-horror” genre and a separate partnership with UTV Motion Pictures to develop new Indian superheroes. Virgin Comics also formed a joint venture with NBC-Universal to create new science fiction properties for graphic novels and television with the Sci Fi Channel. www.VirginComics.com
About Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises and hit titles including EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, Untold Legends™, and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies™, SOE continues to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Los Angeles, CA, Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development. SOE is owned by Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
SOE, the SOE logo, EverQuest and PlanetSide are registered trademarks of Sony Online Entertainment LLC. Untold Legends is a trademark of Sony Online Entertainment LLC.