Publishing goes to Hell with ‘Dante’s Inferno’ game tie-in

A new trade paperback edition of the 14th century epic poem Dante’s Inferno is planned as part of a marketing push of Biblical proportions for Electronic Arts’ video game adaptation, which is due out Feb. 2.

gustave_dore_inferno34The text will be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s English translation from the original Italian, and it will contain a 16-page, full-color insert chronicling the road from Renaissance literature to next-gen consoles — specifically the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the handheld PSP. The game’s executive producer, Jonathan Knight, pens a new introduction for the classic work as well.

Is this bordering on literary blasphemy? Perhaps. But it seems natural that the first high-profile game to be based solely on a work of classic literature should have its own reprint. Games inspire crappy novelizations and “original” novels all the time … what’s wrong with exposing one of the greats to a potential new audience?

Oh, check out the book’s cover — wrapped in promotional artwork from the game, of course — which I first saw over at Wired:


This is just the latest in a controversial crusade of promotions for the Dante’s Inferno game.

In June, EA secured an early seat in Hell with a publicity stunt involving a staged protest against its own game to coincide with the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles. They also offered a $6.66 discount on 09/09/09 and sent $200 checks to video game critics, daring the journalists to cash them.

There was also a viral marketing campaign that involves a website and promotional video for a nonexistent game called Mass: We Pray, which links to the Inferno game’s official site and a Facebook app.

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