Bungie and Activision Pen 10 Year Exclusivity Deal
Well this one is a little bizarre. In the midst of the avalanche of defections from bonus-cheated Infinity Ward comes the news that long-time Microsoft partners and Halo developers Bungie have signed a ten year exclusivity publishing contract with Activision.
"Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade,” stated Thomas Tippl, Acti COO.
"Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.”
Nine months in the making, this deal is particularly noteworthy because of its specificity: Activision will only have the rights to publish games based on new intellectual property from Bungie with the development company to remain independent, retaining all ownership rights of any new IP. It was assumed in the wake of 2007's split with Microsoft, that Microsoft would retain first right of refusal on any future projects and it's unclear why or even if they passed on this, but then again Bungie have been chomping at the bit to go multiplatform for some time now and its not inconceivable that they might have more than one future project in the pipeline.
It's certainly a strange sequence of events and we'll keep you posted as the story develops, but what are your initial thoughts on the matter? Is this a good move for Bungie, or should there be alarm bells ringing? Let us know your opinions in the comments box below. [Joystiq]
GoW3 Dev Boss Reveals Alternate Endings...
Spoilers Ahead. You have been warned.
Stig Asmussen, God of War's development pit boss, has spilt the beans on the alternate ending of GoW3 as well as the possible future story arc of the franchise. Apparently, the ending was originally supposed to foreshadow Kratos' intention to take on the Norse pantheon in future releases.
"...basically, you destroy Greek mythology and then Norse mythology is right around the corner. That’s the next thing that Kratos would go after. It becomes clear at the end that he’s going to become this harbinger of death across different mythologies in the world and maybe carry the series on from there.”- Stig Asmussen, Gamepro Interview
Cory Barlog also floated the idea of Kratos becoming the Grim Reaper at the end of GoW3.
David Jaffe, the designer behind the 'Nordic' ending, twittered the following in response to the Gamepro interview (as reported by Kotaku).
“I assure you my story was not as simple as Kratos going after the Norse gods. There is an element of truth but it goes far beyond."
“I love Cory, he rocks. But that was my idea. Blades of Chaos becomes the Scythe of the Reaper. BUT still, lots more. Up2Sony2reveal.”
Sony would be mad to let the franchise die after GoW3 reached 'killer app' status... and according to Jaffe's twitter posts, it's "Up2Sony" to clue us in on how the story will progress. There's clearly a sequel in the works. We've got our money on Kratos instigating Ragnarok. [Gamepro]
Sony Sued over OtherOS Removal
We called it. Sony is now facing a class action lawsuit from Californian resident Anthony Ventura after update 3.21 removed OtherOS... even though they previously insisted that it wouldn't be removed (we called that one as well, but who's counting?). Ventura is seeking compensation "including but not limited to compensatory damages; restitution; injuctive relief; attorneys' fees; and the cost of this suit," which could be around 5 million dollars if the court documents are to be believed.
The removal of OtherOS contravenes EU consumer laws (allowing several European residents to claim refunds), but customer protection is much weaker stateside. It'll be very interesting to see how he gets on. [Gamesindustry.biz]
New Game Room Titles Delayed Indefinitely
I want to love Game Room, Microsoft's attempt to bring classic arcade titles to the masses. I just wish that they'd stop making it so damn difficult! The promised update would've brought a number of new games to the table yesterday (including Super Breakout, a personal favourite), but Xbox Live's European spokesman has revealed that it's been delayed "until further notice."
“The latest batch of Game Room content has also been delayed until further notice – I’ll let you know once a new date is confirmed.”
This is likely due to copyright issues as well as the recent sacking of 50 Krome employees. [VG247]
It's time for a rant. Game Room is a great idea in theory, but the current game selection is horrendously overpriced and pathetically weak when compared to the fantastic arcade titles that're already available on XBLA. Contra? Metal Slug? Virtual On? Samurai Shodown 2? Street Fighter 2? They're all on XBLA as we speak... for around the same price.
Cross-platform connectivity is great fun (as I love earning Lunar Lander achievements on my laptop when I'm away from my 360), but if Microsoft doesn't ensure a slew of big-name titles, integrate the existing XBLA lineup into Game Room and reorganise the pricing structure then it's doomed to fail. Krome needs to shape up or ship out before the service truly becomes the laughing stock of downloadable games. Then again, thanks to its launch day glitch and lineup... it probably already is.
Psyched for Kratos' next hinted adventure? Wanna leap to Game Room's defence (or slag it off some more)? Drop us a line in the comments!