Lev Chapelsky, general manager of Blindlight Media, a firm that generates seven figures annually and serves as an intermediary between Hollywood and the gaming industry, concurs. "Software publishers need to be smart about the way they handle their business," he says. "Star power doesn't pay off for games as readily as it does for traditional media productions. There's considerable complexity involved in choosing the right celebrityfor the job and brokering a respectable deal."

That's shrewd advice considering the prohibitive costs involved. Calling on a superstar's talents can set game makers back a cool million. Obscure voice actors alone command a $1,000 minimum retainer. The past years have further seen a meteoric rise in performers' salaries - many unjustifiably swelled into the high six-figures - as the result of publisher naiveté. In addition, it wasn't until recently that fees started to come back down within reason, and even then you're talking around $50,000 a shot.

It only gets worse once you get into contractual negotiations. Few game publishers realize the rights and services that are truly required upfront. Savvy contract agents can smell blood in the water and won't suggest cost-cutting measures - even though they're standard throughout Hollywood - without prompting. What's more, the bigger the corporate name attached to a project, the higher the income the individual being sought will demand.

Snoop Dogg gets his groove on in True Crime: Streets of L.A. Xzibit shares a headlining slot with Vin Diesel in ­the action-adventure The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Andrew WK and the Insane Clown Posse appear as playable characters on Backyard Wrestling 2's roster. Metallica has announced plans to launch an officially branded car-combat title later this year. And the deejay of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' in-game classic-rock radio station KDST? Why, it's none other than reclusive Guns N' Roses singer W. Axl Rose.

So, despite past stumbling blocks, including failed ventures from Dreamworks, MCA, and Viacom, it's obvious the lines among various forms of media are again blurring.
And, as David Cross tells it, that situation suits him just fine.

"It's about time I got some real work," teases the comedian. "Besides … think of the perks. Once you appear in a game, man, that's it - you're set for life. Ladies just can't resist the lure of a proven geek."