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Weinstein-Backed Genius Floats Katamari-Influenced Strategy

Miramax creators Bob and Harvey Weinstein are turning their hands to gaming with new Line Rider publisher Genius Products, and the firm's Michael Rubinelli has been explaining to Gamasutra how Katamari Damacy-styled "unique, fun" lower-budge
Miramax creators Bob and Harvey Weinstein are turning their hands to gaming with new Line Rider publisher Genius Products, and the firm's Michael Rubinelli has been explaining to Gamasutra how Katamari Damacy-styled "unique, fun" lower-budget titles are the firm's intended forte. Genius Products is 70% owned by indie film studio The Weinstein Company (1408, Rambo, The Mist), and product acquisitions boss Rubinelli has been talking about their strategy in a new Gamasutra interview. What does the firm want? Comparisons to Keita Takahashi's quirky 2004 surprise hit Katamari Damacy were drawn in Rubinelli's meeting with a video game agent who had pitched ten titles in eight months, none of which were picked up by Genius. As recalled by Rubinelli, "He's like, 'Gee, you haven't signed up any of our titles. Why?' I was like, 'Well, none of them really meet our criteria.' I explained him to what we were doing, and he was like, 'Oh, so you want to sign up like six Katamaris.' And I'm like, 'Well, in a word, yes! Not necessarily quirky Japanese gaming, but fun, unique, different, captivating, really imaginative...' He added: "You don't need to go out and spend $15 million on development and another five to ten on marketing just to get your message across, because the game stands on its own." Rubinelli also noted that Genius gets first looks at films distributed by The Weinstein Company, but that it would be "not very smart" to simply adapt all of them into games. According to Rubinelli, Genius is likely to settle on choosing one or two Weinstein films per year from which to develop games. He described a meeting over whether to option last year's 1408 ("Sam Jackson is beloved by video game fans"), during which the company decided "psychological thrillers don't necessitate being a good game." Gamasutra readers can now check out the full interview with Genius Products' Rubinelli, which includes Bob Weinstein's likening of video games to Broadway, how the company deals with developer inXile on the upcoming Line Rider game for Wii and DS, and how Rubinelli realized he needed to get out of middle management.

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