Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with VIZ Media, LLC, to develop video games based on VIZ Media’s hugely popular SHONEN JUMP’s NARUTO™ animation series for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The game will hit stores in North America, South America, Central America and Mexico in 2007.
With NARUTO, Ubisoft will develop for the first time a game based on a Japanese property. NARUTO was first launched as part of SHUEISHA’s weekly manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999 and launched in the U.S. in the monthly SHONEN JUMP Magazine in 2003. NARUTO manga books have sold more than 59 million copies in Japan alone. Manga books are published in major territories in Europe as well. The NARUTO anime series debuted on TV TOKYO in 2002 and has already spawned several successful video game titles in Japan as well as character merchandise and two movies. Now, NARUTO anime is airing with tremendous success on Cartoon Network in the U.S.
NARUTO takes place in a world where ninja are the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox demon, Uzumaki Naruto is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio studies under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi, who helps the group face a series of dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninjas learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right versus wrong.
‘NARUTO’s ninja and martial arts themes are a perfect match for video games, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the characters and become part of the action’ said Cynthia Money, vice president of consumer products for VIZ Media. ‘As a leading global game developer, Ubisoft is an ideal partner to develop video games for NARUTO that will bring out the power and emotion of the storylines.’
‘NARUTO is a huge hit around the world, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a game that will bring this exciting character to life,’ said Christian Salomon, worldwide licensing director at Ubisoft. ‘NARUTO is part of a wave of Japanese manga and anime that appeals to kids and adolescents alike, and we plan to deliver to them every bit of the excitement they have experienced in NARUTO’s manga, movies and TV shows.’