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November 27, 2006

Digital Trifecta

Grads Sign Three-Game Deal With Sony

By John Zollinger

With the release of their game flOw this December, two graduates of the Interactive Media Division mark the beginning of a three-game deal with Sony Computer Entertainment America.

flOw
, a game that can be downloaded onto the Playstation 3 (PS3) computer entertainment system, is based on a thesis project of the same name by Jenova Chen. The title is being produced by Kellee Santiago and developed by thatgamecompany, a development studio started jointly by Chen and Santiago.

As 2006 graduates of the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media Division masters program, the project marks the first time a major game company has purchased the rights to downloadable games for PS3 developed by students in the division.

“This is a watershed moment in the history of the school,” Dean Elizabeth M. Daley said. “It builds on our tradition of expanding relationships with the professional community, and opens the door for our students and graduates to showcase their creative talents in an incredibly dynamic market.”

With its aqua background and soft ambiance, flOw’s unique gameplay attracts large audiences. It reflects the type of projects coming out of the Interactive Media Division, which was established in 2002 and offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

The agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment America, which was inked in July 2006, also provides the team with development space on the Sony lot in Santa Monica, California.

“Jenova and I are thrilled to be working with SCEA,” said Santiago. “Because we’re working within Sony, we not only have access to their internal resources, but we also get to work alongside some of the best pros in the industry.”