Local company designs Xbox game featuring ‘Peanuts' characters

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Attention Xbox 360 users and fans of the "Peanuts" comic strip. There's something new out there: a 3D video game and it was developed by a Salt Lake company.

Wednesday is the official release date of "Snoopy Flying Ace," where Xbox players can get into the cockpits as one of the Peanuts characters and engage in a World War I dogfight.

Employees of Smart Bomb Interactive were celebrating Wednesday -- by playing the game, of course.

The Peanuts comic strip characters are no longer just in your morning newspaper, says Vice President of Business Development at Smart Bomb Interactive Clark Stacey. "We were very fortunate that when we brought these characters over, they just really worked as 3D characters. Our models and animators really brought these characters to life from the newspaper pages."

Smart Bomb Interactive is a video game and IP development company that focuses on kid-friendly games. It previously worked on a project with the family of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. That relationship worked so well that now, Smart Bomb holds the exclusive license to bring Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and the others to life in the new generation of video games.

"For people who didn't grow up with these characters like we did, hopefully this is an introduction to some iconic American characters that are really a lot of fun in this context as well, and hopefully get people to look at the history of the Peanuts strip," Stacey said. "There's a lot of great stuff there."

The game is high action, with vibrant colors and sound. Points are scored by shooting down or damaging a plane.

Charles Schulz's widow and son were actively involved in this entire project. The family has told the artists, designers and programmers they like what they see. Stacey believes the game still preserves the integrity of what Charles Schulz created.

"I hope that he would think that we gave them a faithful representation," he said. "This is a family-friendly game. While there are explosions and planes get shot down, everybody parachutes to safety."

The game is downloadable through an Xbox device for $10.

The company hopes to develop other games featuring the Peanuts gang in the future.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com


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