Updated: ‘Rango’ Leads Paramount Push Into MMOs

Next month’s Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies animated film Rango will be the first to get released day and date with its own companion massively multiplayer online game.

“Rango: The World” is expected to be the first of several MMOs that will be delivered by gaming developer Funtactix in support of other upcoming Paramount theatricals. The MMO allows users to experience the characters from the film and, while free to play, has a premium content level that could yield incremental revenues for the studio.

While film-related MMOs are typically generated years after theatrical release, Rango will arrive at the box office at the same time as its online companion in an effort to maximize the value of the intellectual property across platforms. “We’re creating another channel for the partner to leverage the investment,” said Sam Glassenberg, CEO of Funtactix, a New York-based firm backed by Jerusalem Venture Partners.

With Rango, Funtactix is introducing a new Flash-based MMO platform that doesn’t require downloads or plug-ins, which could make this more accessible on PCs than previous generations of MMOs; mobile access is also being developed. In addition, Funtactix has developed technology that allows for transplanting the animated characters into the MMO environment without sacrificing the quality of the imagery.

Paramount Digital Entertainment is also releasing a console-videogame adaptation of Rango, to be released March 1.

Here’s a look at the Rango trailer: