You read that right – Hollywood big-shot producer Jerry Bruckheimer is getting into the videogame industry. In association with MTV Games, the producer has announced the two executives who (under the keen eye of Bruckheimer himself) will lead Jerry Bruckheimer Games, Incorporated.
Jim Veevaert, former Microsoft Games man responsible for production of the Halo franchise on the Xbox 360, has been announced as President of Productions. Jay Cohen, best known for his work with Ubisoft’s North American divisions, will be working President of Development. Together they “will build a creative IP development studio focused on the development and production of groundbreaking interactive content and original intellectual property that convey and reflect the high standards of entertainment value set by Jerry Bruckheimer in his other creative ventures.”
With no games announced, what all of that means remains to be seen. Bruckheimer’s reputation for films is big action, flipped cars, and exploding aircraft… all things which, provided the mechanics are in place, would probably make a killer game. Or at least an incredibly fun one.
The formation of a games studio completes the Bruckheimer’s entertainment circle of life – the producer’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, loosely based on the Ubisoft game of the same name, is set to hit theaters in 2010.
ERRY BRUCKHEIMER AND MTV GAMES APPOINT JIM VEEVAERT AND JAY COHEN TO LEAD JERRY BRUCKHEIMER GAMES STUDIO
NEW YORK, May 12, 2009 – Internationally renowned motion picture and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer and MTV Games, a part of Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks, today announced two executive appointments that officially mark the producer’s entrance into the video game industry. Industry veterans, Jim Veevaert and Jay Cohen, will lead Jerry Bruckheimer Games, Inc. as President of Production and President of Development respectively.
Connecting the impact, creativity and success of Jerry Bruckheimer to the interactive entertainment industry for the first time, Veevaert and Cohen will build a creative IP development studio focused on the development and production of groundbreaking interactive content and original intellectual property that convey and reflect the high standards of entertainment value set by Jerry Bruckheimer in his other creative ventures.
“Jim Veevaert and Jay Cohen are two of the most knowledgeable, brightest, and creative talents in this industry,” said Jerry Bruckheimer. “Throughout their careers, Jim and Jay have both demonstrated their unstoppable desire to advance the medium, which is exactly what we do with feature films and television. We are going to create content that challenges the way things are done and the experiences gamers have today.”
By working with only the best designers, developers, storytellers and artists, Veevaert and Cohen will incubate and develop projects that explore interactive storytelling, foster immense creativity and challenge the boundaries of traditional game development.
Bruckheimer and MTV Games previously announced this exclusive deal to create new and original video game content together. Details on the partnership have been quiet until today’s executive appointments.
Van Toffler, President of MTV Networks Music & Logo Group, added: “Between them, Jim and Jay bring 30 years of proven success to the table from the world of video game development, production, publishing and marketing. With their knowledge, passion and experience with blockbuster Triple-A game franchises, they’re exactly the right team to inject the same kind of explosive ideas into the interactive space that Jerry Bruckheimer brought to film and television. Following on the success of Harmonix and Rock Band, this powerhouse coupling of Bruckheimer and MTV Games is the next step in our evolution in the video game industry.”
A 15-year veteran in the interactive industry, Jim Veevaert spent the past eight years at Microsoft overseeing the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system’s largest franchises. As the Executive Producer for Halo 3, Veevaert was responsible for production and franchise management for the Halo Xbox 360 game series. He also managed Microsoft’s relationship with video game developer Bungie Studios. Prior to his work on the Halo series, Veevaert brought the Epic Games relationship to Microsoft, along with the Gears of War franchise. Veevaert led collaboration with the creative leads of Rare Ltd in the United Kingdom to expand the Viva Pinata franchise with an original television production and series of companion games.
A 13 year veteran in the interactive entertainment industry, Jay Cohen spent the past decade at Ubisoft building the French company’s North American subsidiary into one of the most respected and prosperous independent publishing and development powerhouses in the business. During his tenure as Senior Vice President of Publishing, Cohen and his team successfully engineered and executed the launches of blockbuster franchises such as Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Prince of Persia, Rayman and Assassin’s Creed. A firm supporter in advancing and promoting the awareness of the artistry and talent within the interactive industry, Cohen has served as a member of, and currently sits as, Chairman of the Board for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
MTV Games, best known as the publisher of Harmonix’s Rock Band® franchise, will serve as publisher for Jerry Bruckheimer Games, Inc. and work with Veevaert and Cohen on all phases of development – from concept to launch – including supporting production, and managing distribution and global marketing. MTV Networks will support the venture across all its broadcast and digital platforms including CMT, MTV, Spike and VH1. MTV Games is a top five publisher in the video games industry and the leading publisher of downloadable game content. Bob Picunko, Senior Vice President Electronic Games & Interactive Products will oversee the relationship for MTV Games.
Jerry Bruckheimer holds an undisputed position as one of the most successful producers in both motion pictures and television. First in partnership with Don Simpson, and then as the chief of Jerry Bruckheimer Films, he has produced an unprecedented string of worldwide smashes, hugely impacting not only the industry, but mass culture as well. With Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer produced such films as “Flashdance,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Days of Thunder,” “Bad Boys,” “Crimson Tide,” “Dangerous Minds” and “The Rock.” Since the creation of Jerry Bruckheimer Films, he has produced, among others, “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Bad Boys II,” “Veronica Guerin,” “King Arthur,” “National Treasure,” “Glory Road,” “Déjà Vu,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and the landmark trilogy, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Upcoming films include “G-Force,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
On television, Jerry Bruckheimer had an unprecedented 10 television series airing in the 2005-6 season, a record in the medium for an individual producer. JBTV’s series have included “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” and its spinoffs “C.S.I.: Miami” and “C.S.I.: NY,” and “Without A Trace,” “Cold Case,” The Amazing Race” and “Eleventh Hour,” with “Dark Blue” premiering in the summer of 2009 on TNT.
Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television have been honored with 41 Academy Award nominations, six Oscars, 77 Emmy nominations, 17 Emmys, eight Grammy Award nominations, five Grammys, 23 Golden Globe nominations, four Golden Globes, 23 People’s Choice nominations, 15 People’s Choice Awards, numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop,” and 20 Teen Choice Awards.
Announced in December 2007, MTV Games’ exclusive deal with Jerry Bruckheimer Games Studio represents the prominent motion picture and television producer’s first foray into the gaming world. The deal was negotiated by Creative Artists Agency on behalf of Jerry Bruckheimer. For MTV Games, the agreement was overseen by George Cheeks, EVP & General Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, MTV Networks.