Heard about the upcoming new game based on Dante’s Inferno? Neither has anyone else, but that’s not stopping it from becoming EA’s latest game to be licensed for a movie deal.

Don’t feel too badly for not knowing anything about the game: EA hasn’t actually announced it yet. But it’s in development, according to a Variety report, and will probably launch late in 2009. The game will be a modern interpretation of Dante’s epic poem detailing his journey through the nine circles of Hell, and is expected to be called, ever so creatively, Dante’s Inferno.

Four studios are reportedly bidding for the movie rights to the game: Universal, Paramount, New Regency and MGM. Warner Bros. had also expressed interest, but dropped out of the competition yesterday for unknown reasons. Fighting for the rights to a game-based movie before the game is even announced is a bit of an unusual progression of events – typically, movie studios like to see how a game fares before they sink money into translating it to the big screen – but even if the game tanks horribly, a movie emerging from the property has a built-in safety net: It can be marketed as an over-the-top CGI-fest based on the poem itself rather than the suck-ass game it inspired.

It also fits well with EA’s recent strategy of aggressively moving to bring its game properties to movie audience: The company recently announced that an Army of Two movie is in development, while Fox is at work on a Sims movie and Mass Effect has also been optioned.

Absolutely no details about the game, the movie, release dates, genre, platforms or even a confirmed title, have been released.

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