I apologize again for the quiet blog. However, something’s been running through my mind. Sometimes I mentioned the aftermath of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which resulted in a lawsuit between Acitivision, Vince Zampella and Jason West and Electronic Arts. However, something else has happened which surprised me: A new development studio formed in 2009 called Sledgehammer Games. Some of the staff members have been directly involved in the development of the Dead Space series. They have announced that they are currently working on a next Call of Duty game instead of alternating between Infinity Ward and Treyarch.
One thing I am trying to understand is video game politics. However, I am merely a consumer like everyone else. Most of what I know about the industry comes from news online. One thing that COD fans became used to is the COD dev responsibility shifting between Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Fans may have different feelings towards the two studios and yet each incarnation of COD has been successful, through sales, ratings, downloadable content and online multiplayer. There is also a strong ad-campaign with it.
What does this have to do with TFB?
Activision is known for publishing many sequels. If a game sells enough copies, another sequel will be made. TFB worked on the video game version of the first Madagascar movie. It sold well enough for them to make a video game version of the second movie. The contract between DreamWorks and Activision ended and THQ is now responsible for Madagascar video games. So, whatever TFB is working on, it is not Madagascar and it has nothing to do with any of DreamWorks’ other licenses.
Whatever their project is, it is big and TFB itself has grown significantly since their last game. If this game is successful financially, we can expect another sequel in the works. Activision would naturally want these sequels to be released at a consistent rate and will trade responsibilities between TFB and another developer the same way Infinity Ward and Treyarch has before the aftermath of Modern Warfare 2.
As I write this, I’m excited for this project because Alex Ness described it as something with a TFB feel, it’s one of their biggest projects, they were given more time to work on it and there was an article from One of Swords where he mentions that developers for Activision have creative control. I am definitely going to pre-order this.
I’d love to see a new Star Control game. At the same time, I’d love to see what’s going through the creative minds of everyone at TFB. Their years of experience can create just about anything. If this game serves as a stepping stone towards Star Control then I’m all for it. As long as they continue to be successful and show Activision they can get anything done, they’ll always be around.
As I wrote this article, I forgot about the 90-day period Activision had for considering what to do with Bizarre Creations. They recommended selling Bizarre Creations. However, there were many candidates for purchasing the studio but none were interested. Bizarre has stated that they will accept the closure if they are purchased. As of this post, Bizarre is still open and has not closed completely. It is still possible for a publisher to put them back into action.
In conclusion, I hope TFB’s current project is successful. I hope it becomes leverage for TFB to work on more projects that they have more control over. I don’t know how much effort Activision will take to promote it and it may be up to us to spread the word however we can.
With regards to COD, it’s complicated and I wish the best for Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. I also hope for the best of Bizarre; their racing games have great reviews and their Geometry Wars series has a very strong cult following of its own.
I think we should watch the video games news closely for Activision, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer and COD’s future in general. It shows how Activision treats high-budget projects and how important ownership of publishing rights are. It may even have an effect of how they see TFB’s current project and future ones. Their publishing contract for James Bond will expire in 2014 and Activision is no longer publishing new DreamWorks-licensed games.