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Game firm said to fold

November 15, 2008|Alex Pham | Pham is a Times staff writer.

Brash Entertainment, which burst onto the video game scene 18 months ago with $400 million in pledged financing and a promise to reinvent games based on movies and television shows, shut down Friday, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Hollywood company forged ties with major studios to get an inside track on licensing the rights to films, including "300," "Saw" and "The Tale of Despereaux." But its early games failed to connect with audiences, and investors balked.

Brash was founded by Mitch Davis, Nick Longano and Larry Shapiro, veterans of the game and entertainment industries. Neither Davis, the only remaining executive from the founding team, nor company spokeswoman Abby Topolsky returned calls for comment.

Brash's demise, first reported by Variety, underscores the difficulties of making video games on a Hollywood time frame. Feature films take less than a year to shoot, edit and release. But video games can take two or more years to develop.

Because release dates are dictated by movie schedules, Hollywood-licensed games are often slapdash.

That was the case with Brash's first two titles, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Jumper: Griffin's Story.

Cracks began to appear at Brash in the spring when Thomas Tull, a major investor and head of Legendary Pictures, stepped down from the company's board. Longano, Brash's chief executive, resigned in the summer. And Shapiro, its chief creative officer, quit last month to join game developer Oddworld Inhabitants in San Luis Obispo.

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alex.pham@latimes.com

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