Activision's head of developer relations, Dan Winters, has reached out imploringly in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, stating that it was not so long ago when Activision was thought of as the loveable underdog to the behemoth that was EA and that, in spite of success, they're still the same people.
'It's interesting, before our merger with Blizzard, becoming the number one publisher from a revenue perspective, we were always known as the warm and cuddly Activision; the scrappy, loveable number two. As soon as we become the number one and we develop broader perspectives, perceptions started to change a little bit.'
'We've worked very hard, and continue to do so, to let people know that, you know, we're the same guys, we really are. We haven't changed! I'm the same guy that I was before the merger, as are most of us. We're the same organisation. We haven't gone out and hired 3000 people. Our ability to scale and move quickly is the same as it was before. We're not this big, monolithic empire that's making decisions in a dark room, we're still very collaborative. We still have the same healthy respect and appreciation for talent that we ever did.'
Winters is keen to express that things haven't magically changed since they took over the top spot, that the company has a great deal of respect for developers.
'I would like to think that we spend a lot of time, and I individually spend a lot of time thinking of ways to reach out to the development community and show that we have respect and complete admiration for what they do on a daily basis. I hope that there aren't any hard feelings and I hope there isn't any reluctance - I've certainly not felt it directly.'
With the protracted rumblings of the Wempella debacle still occasionally burbling into the media sphere, Winters recognises that there's still work to be done in terms of the company's image. However, he's still somewhat saddened to learn that people were surprised when reports emerged of Bizarre Studios' closer being dealt with in a sensitive manner.
'I'm sorry that people were surprised by that. With all of our internal studios we have built a process, Bobby [Kotick, CEO] has really done this directly himself, built a process for the independent developer model, that allows them to retain their own culture, their own visibility, their own leadership, really to drive the stewards of the brands. I think those are important pieces of ownership, as it's loosely defined.'
Feeling a pang of sympathy for the publisher? Now that EA's number two, have they suddenly become warm and cuddly? Let us know your thoughts below.