Sonic Team developing PS2 Astro Boy
Sega gets serious about licensing.
Sega's Sonic Team is busy working on a PS2-exclusive adaptation of manga classic Astro Boy, under the direction of Yuji Naka, the publisher announced this week (obviously not content with unveiling just the one cartoon collaboration), and plans to release it alongside a handheld version in the summer.
The goal seems to be to piggyback the rollout of a new Astro Boy animated series in the US. (After all, it hardly seems likely Sega has only now realised the potential selling power of Astro Boy, an atomic-powered robot who became a reluctant superhero fighting for peace and justice thanks to the imagination of "father of manga" Osamu Tezuka in, er, 1951.) The new animated series started on January 17th on America's "Kids WB" and consists of a run of 25 episodes, which should happily take it through to the game's dual-version release.
That Sega has assigned Sonic Team (and specifically Yuji Naka) to the project is perhaps a reflection of how seriously Sega is taking this. Along with Samurai Jack, Sega views this as a key revenue generator based on a strong license. The former platform holder even has its Hitmaker studio handling the GBA release, dubbed Astro Boy: Omega Factor, in co-operation with Ikaruga and Wario World scribes Treasure of all people, although it's not clear to what extent they're involved. We'll be watching this one with interest.