'Runway' poised for vidgame makeover

Atari will help the Weinstein Co. make "Project Runway" a little more realistic for fans with a videogame version set to bow next year.

Series host Heidi Klum and fashion expert Tim Gunn are expected to be involved in the game, but details are still being worked out. Sponsors that are integrated into the series may also appear in the game.

The licensing deal calls of for a series of "Project Runway" games to be created, with the first to launch on Nintendo's Wii, which will utilize the console's Wii Remote Controller and Balance Board.

First game hits stores shelves next spring.

The game will follow much of the format of the TV show, with players competing as aspiring fashion designers and presented with different challenges as they create designs and outfit models with hair, make-up and accessories. Players can then become the model and strut their creations down the runway using the Wii Balance Board, or take on the role of a fashion photographer and document their designs.

Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said the game will allow fans to "actively participate in the program they love by using this new medium as a tool to explore their creativity."

Deal with Atari comes as "Project Runway" is in the midst of airing its sixth season, having moved from Bravo to its new home on Lifetime as part of a five-year pact. Show has already become a hit for the cabler since bowing Aug. 20, viewed by an average of 4.2 million viewers each week.

Atari had been considering creating a fashion game for some time, but in order to launch a successful franchise, wanted to pair up with an established brand in the industry.

"Of all the brand opportunities out there, we thought 'Project Runway' was the leading fashion brand," said Jim Wilson, CEO and president of Atari Inc. "The audience is building, the talent is recognizable. It reaches such a broad audience."

The timing of the game comes as more women, especially tween and teen girls, are turning to videogame consoles for entertainment, with the Wii playing a major role in attracting them.

"The opportunity for a fashion game seems well-timed to where the games market is right now," Wilson said.

Atari isn't the only company with that idea. Developer 505 Games inked a similar licensing pact earlier this year with IMG to build a game around Fashion Week that also bows next year.

Atari, behind the classic franchises "Centipede" and "Missile Command," recently released "Ghostbusters: The Video Game," which has sold over 1 million copies. It will release "Star Trek Online" next year. It has a film based on "Asteroids" in development at Universal.

Peter Oberth
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