Activision Axe Guitar Hero, DJ Hero & True Crime Hong Kong
It's a dark day for Activision... as well as the last few dedicated fans who still cling to their plastic guitars. During their annual financial statement, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has confirmed that the Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and True Crime: Hong Kong franchises have been completely axed (along with their studios) in order to concentrate on the Call Of Duty franchise.
Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011. The company also will stop development on True Crime: Hong Kong™. These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world’s best interactive entertainment experiences. - Activision's Bobby Kotick
With Rock Band's future all but destroyed by Harmonix's departure from the Viacom family, this practically marks the death of the music game as we know it... along with around 5000 job losses. See you at the crossroads, Guitar Heroes.
Perhaps the most bizarre decision to come out of this recent press release is the canning of True Crime: Hong Kong. My sources (and our previews) tell me that the project was nearing completion- but Activision COO Eric Hirshberg apparently feels that the franchise is not "good enough" to compete in the open world genre. Time to cancel your preorders, folks.
There also won't be any Tony Hawk titles in 2011, though it's unclear whether the franchise has been ditched altogether.
Like a phoenix rising from the flames, Activision also confirmed that their year-long Beachhead Project has blossomed into a fully-fledged studio. Their remit and objectives are still incredibly vague, but Activision CFO Thomas Tippl suggests that the outfit is currently engaged in creating a new online venture set in the... you guessed it... Call Of Duty universe.
Beachhead will create the best-in-class online community, exclusive content, and a suite of services to supercharge the online gaming experience like never before.
We'll hear more in the "near future," but current speculation suggests that they may be hard at work developing an online dashboard that brings together the Call Of Duty games (much like a mix between Halo Waypoint and Battle.net). We'll keep you posted.
Rumour CONFIRMED: Defiant Map Pack Headed To Halo Reach!
UPDATE: THIS IS HAPPENING.
French fansite Halo Destiny have reportedly snagged some details of a new DLC map pack for Halo Reach. Entitled the Defiant pack, it may offer three new levels: "Condemned," "Unearthed" and "Highlands." Condemned is rumoured to take place on a Covenant Frigate, while the Highlands map apparently takes its cues from High Ground (prominently featuring a covenant cruiser that's in the process of glassing the planet). The original details and pictures have been pulled by Microsoft's request... though a very authentic Flickr account still exists.
Microsoft has yet to officially comment on the matter- but the speed with which they attempted to shut the rumour down is extremely suggestive. For now, file it under watch this space. [Halo Destiny via Joystiq]
Sony Denied Subpoenas In Hacker Litigation
We haven't forgotten about the ongoing legal battle between Sony and a cabal of hackers who managed to crack the PS3's tough security. The biggest obstacle facing the software giant is finding out exactly who these individuals are behind their online aliases- and requested Subpoenas from Google, Paypal, Twitter and Youtube in an effort to discover names and home addresses.
Unfortunately for Sony, US District Judge Susan Illston believes that their request represents a gross breach of online privacy and legally denied access to their accounts.
To be honest, this is probably a sound precedent. The idea of billion-dollar companies being able to legally rifle through our PayPal details is chilling to say the least. For Sony, however, it will unfortunately be back to good old fashioned cyber-sleuthing. [PSX-SCENE]