Dance like Michael Jackson in new video game
Moonwalking just like Michael Jackson will soon be possible for everyone with the launch later this year of the first video game dedicated to the star since his death last year.
A game, developed under the watchful eye of Jackson's beneficiaries by French video game titan Ubisoft, will teach players to master the King of Pop's most famous dance moves.
Named "Michael Jackson: The Experience", the game is being produced by Ubisoft's French editor in his studios in Montpellier and Montreal with a team of around 200 people.
The version for the Wii console, which has been seen by AFP, sets the tone right from the start with background music from the star's many hit songs. In total there will be between 25 and 30 available in the final version.
In the early 1990s, Jackson was the star of a video game adapted from his 1988 "Moonwalker" film which involved players fighting supposed enemies of the star.
This game, however, invites the player to try to move like Jackson with points awarded for the most successful.
"We have looked at hundreds of hours of video and collaborated with choreographers, notably Travis Payne, who was involved in the preparation for the "This Is It" tour," for which Jackson was preparing at the time of his death, said creative director Alkis Argyriadis.
Respect for the work of the singer, who sold more than 750 million albums worldwide and had 13 No. 1 singles, is guaranteed by a firm managing the interests of Jackson's beneficiaries including his three children, with whom Ubisoft is in contact.
"The attention to detail even extends to the length of the hem on the trousers.... (and) the famous white glove," said producer Abdelhak Elguess.
Some Jackson moves have, nonetheless, had to be modified to give players a realistic chance of replicating them, according to Argyriadis.
"Not everyone can dance as well as he could," he added.
A "dance school" made up of videos sets out his choreographies so that players can familiarise themselves with his body language.
The less gifted can take the role of one of Jackson's dancers.
Stephane Vallet, of Ubisoft Europe, said it takes "around two years to conceive a game" so the game was apparently already in the pipeline before Jackson died.
Of the consoles, the game can be played on Nintendo's DS and Sony's Playstation 2 portable and will be available from November 23 in the United States and two days later in Europe and Asia.
But consumers will have to wait until the start of 2011 for Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
A Los Angeles judge has set a January 2011 hearing to weigh whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray with involuntary manslaughter over his death on July 25, 2009.
The 57-year-old doctor was charged in February this year after officials ruled that Jackson died after being injected with a powerful cocktail of sedatives and painkillers, including propofol.
The doctor, who was the last person to see Jackson alive, has admitted administering drugs to the singer to help him sleep shortly before his death.
© 2010 AFP