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Annapurna Pictures to get in the videogame...game with Annapurna Interactive

12.01.2016

Annapurna Pictures is known for quality, bankrolling passion projects for top talents like Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER, Spike Jonze's HER, Kathryn Bigelow's ZERO DARK THIRTY, Harmony Korine's SPRINGBREAKERS, and more (with Alexander Payne's DOWNSIZING coming out next year). And Megan Ellison, CEO and founder of Annapurna, is a big part of that, putting her money where her mouth is and giving us some of the most consistently critically-acclaimed and challenging films out of any studio currently (save maybe SAUSAGE PARTY).

Anyway, it seems that Annapurna Pictures is starting to spread its wings into other fields. It already has a television division, and now looks like it's getting into the videogame business as well. Ellison had this to say about the new development:

I've had a great passion for video games for as long as I can remember...Growing up, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of my all-time favorites. My brother and I ran up quite a bill calling the 1-900 numbers for tips on those games, before the internet provided game-guides. The artistry and diversity of interactive storytelling is exciting and we look forward to exploring the limitless possibilities in gaming. We want to empower artists across this medium to make Annapurna Interactive their home and I believe we’ve assembled the perfect team to make that happen.

The new publisher already has two games on the docket: GOROGOA, described as "a hand-illustrated story suspended inside a puzzle with a unique mechanic where the player moves panels on a grid as though arranging framed drawings on a wall", and WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH, "a playable collection of short stories, each with different art styles and gameplay mechanics centered around the cursed Finch family."

Annapurna Interactive will also be publishing games from top talents like San Francisco-based developer Funomena (TERRA) and Keita Takahashi, creator of the KATAMARI DAMACY series. The publisher itself will be run by veterans of the industry, who have worked on such games as MORTAL KOMBAT, GOD OF WAR, and FAT PRINCESS, among others. 

I'd say this is exciting news! Indie games are on the rise, and there are already some truly amazing gems hidden on Steam or X-BOX LIVE. However, with something like Annapurna Interactive, it would be nice to see actual money behind these ideas, and have innovation truly challenge the status quo of AAA titles like EA Sports and CALL OF DUTY, who seem content to just repackage the same game with nominal new features (oh man, that fish looks pretty. This was certainly worth $60.)

Here are a couple of screenshots from GOROGOA and WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH, respectively:

Extra Tidbit: Annapurna Pictures is named after Mount Annapurna in Nepal, which was explored by CEO Megan Ellison on a visit to Nepal.

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