Lotus Enters Virgin Territory

Unique Licensing Deal to Result in PlayStation 2 Racer.

Posted by Staff
International software publisher Virgin Interactive and cutting-edge sportscar pioneer Lotus have today signed a ground-breaking licensing deal that will see Virgin Interactive develop and publish a Lotus-themed PlayStation 2 racing simulation featuring the most exciting sportscars in the company?s history. The deal will create a highly polished car racing game produced as a co-production between Lotus and Virgin ? the first time a manufacturer will provide such a hands-on approach to the development of a racing game.

Developed by simulation specialists KuJu, Lotus Challenge (working title) will afford players the opportunity to drive some of the world?s most desirable cars: from the Lotus 7 driven by Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner, the Esprits driven by Roger Moore as James Bond to the latest 340R. As Lotus is renowned for winning on the track, famous racing cars will also feature prominently, with a powerful mix of Formula One and sportscars available to whet the game player?s appetite. It will involve not only racing against other computer-controlled cars, but also driving challenges ranging from daring stunts on movie sets, to pursuing other cars through city traffic. Lotus challenge will mix the adrenaline rush of racing with the challenge of great driving skills from one of Britain?s most famous sportscar manufacturers.

Commenting on the ground-breaking strategic partnership, Jon Messent, Director of Corporate Affairs for Group Lotus Ltd. said: ?This is the first time a unique co-production has been set up between a car manufacturer and a games developer.

The same designers and engineers who create new Lotus cars, will maintain an unprecedented level of involvement in the games development to ensure it will be as realistic as possible. Group Lotus is extremely proud to have selected such innovative partners: Virgin Interactive is a recognised driving force in interactive entertainment, and KuJu?s reputation for technical excellence is renowned. Lotus Challenge will take the Lotus brand to a younger demographic and increase awareness of the range to an audience typically outside our usual consumers.?

Sean Brennan, Chief Operating Officer for Virgin Interactive, added: ?This is big news not just for Virgin, but for the industry as a whole. Never before has a company from outside the interactive entertainment business taken such a hands-on approach to games development, ensuring that the Lotus reputation and brand will appear as an integral part of the finished game and not as some tacked-on afterthought. We?re very pleased to be part of a proprietary deal of this kind, and with KuJu in charge of development duties, we are confident we?re backing a racing certainty.?

All the Formula One cars featured in Lotus Challenge will be courtesy of Classic Team Lotus representing the Formula One achievements of Team Lotus.

Marketing company CAN, headed up by Nigel Gordon-Stewart, was pivotal in the creation of this new ?Interactive co-production? licensing concept.

Lotus Challenge will be released for Sony?s PlayStation 2, in Q2 2001.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Grant at Virgin Interactive
Tel: +44 207 551 0000 Fax: +44 171 551 0001
e-mail: allison_grant@vie.co.uk

Andrew Davis, Karen Angus or Alastair Florance at Group Lotus Ltd.
Tel: +44 1953 608 000 Fax: +44 1953 608 111
e-mail: pr@lotuscars.co.uk