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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 11:22 GMT


Business

Train robbery game hope for SCi

Ronnie Biggs has evaded British justice in Bazil

A computer entertainment company is planning to raise £20m to develop a game based on the Great Train Robbery.

SCi Entertainment said Ronnie Biggs and Bruce Reynolds, two of the gang which carried out the robbery in the UK in 1963, had helped design the product.

It was also developing a game based on film The Italian Job.


[ image: The scene shortly after the 1963 robbery]
The scene shortly after the 1963 robbery
The train robbery adventure will see players able to play the part of Biggs as he attempts to evade UK police officers over the past 39 years.

SCi also plans to use the funding to develop games based on the Italian classic car race Mille Miglia, and to develop an online football game which will see players compete directly with other "managers" over the internet.

No stranger to controversy

The company will raise the funding by selling more 6.1m shares at 330p.

SCi gave the details as it reported record pre-tax profits for the year to 30 June of £1.7m against a £3.3m loss for the same period last year.

Turnover was £8m, up from £2.8m a year earlier.

The group said the major contribution to results in the second half of the year had been from console versions of gory car race game Carmageddon - which had generated sales of more than £10m during the past three years.

The 1963 Great Train Robbery is one of the most notorious criminal acts of the century in the UK.

Succession of strokes

A spokesman for SCi denied earlier this month that the game glorified the crime: "We are no different from a film company or book publisher in saying `let's do a story which captures the public imagination'.

"There are far worse events that have been followed up by book publishers and film companies."

SCi is no stranger to controversy, having to wait for approval for its Carmaggedon game, in which players score points by running over pedestrians.

Biggs, who is 70, is reported to have suffered his third stroke in 20 months at his home in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, last month.

He escaped from a London prison in 1965 after serving 15 months of a 30-year sentence for his part in the £2.6m Great Train Robbery, which seriously injured train driver Jack Mills, who later died.

He fled first to Australia, ended up in Rio and, after marrying a local woman and fathering a child, could not be extradited under Brazilian law.



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