Ubisoft giving Michael Jackson new life in videogame

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French videogame titan Ubisoft is making a videogame that lets players "step into the shoes" of legendary King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot unveiled the game "Beat It," the title of one of Jackson's most famous songs, with the help of a high-energy dance team at a press conference in Los Angeles late Monday.

"I am very happy because we have signed a legend," Guillemot said of the deal that cleared the way for Ubisoft to craft a dancing and singing game based on Jackson's life and music.

The game will combine Jackson's music with his renowned dance moves, calling on players to learn and emulate the King of Pop's skills.

Players will also be able to sing along to Jackson songs including "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," and have their vocal performances rated by the game.

"Michael always pushed every limit when it came to technology to give his fans unforgettable entertainment experiences, whether it involved his videos, his recordings or his concerts," said John Branca, co-executor of Jackson's estate.

"Now, with this interactive product, we have the chance to bring Michael, the artist, into households around the world in a perfect match of Michael's artistry and the family entertainment which he always highly valued."

The title will be playable on videogame consoles and handheld gaming devices.

A version being made for Kinect gesture-based controls for Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles will use cameras to put players virtually into the game with Jackson.

"This game is a natural extension of what he would be doing today to raise his artistry to even greater heights for his fans of all generations," said Jackson estate co-executor John McClain.

"It is a game that the entire family can experience and enjoy together and this is something that would please Michael tremendously."

During his extraordinary career, Jackson sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide; released 13 No.1 singles, and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

His "Thriller" album is the world's best-selling album of all time with more than 110 million copies sold.

"We're delighted to have the opportunity to develop a game based on the songs and moves of one of the world's most incredible performers of all time," said Guillemot.

"We expect the game to bring Michael Jackson fans, families and friends together with the energetic song and dance of The King of Pop."

The videogame was announced as the fallout from the singer's death continued, with a Los Angeles judge rejecting calls for the legend's doctor to be suspended from practicing medicine in California.

The California Medical Board had requested that Conrad Murray -- who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in the pop icon's death -- should be suspended pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

The judge said he did not have authority to act on the request.

Murray, 57, is accused of wrongly administering multiple sedatives, including the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol, which contributed to Jackson's death at the age of 50 on June 25 last year.

Murray was the last person to see Jackson alive when he died last year and had administered drugs to him in the final hours of his death.

© 2010 AFP

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