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If you’re not already suffering from heart palpitations after this morning’s publishing announcement, perhaps we can do something about that.
Hot on the heels of the news that Electronic Arts is publishing Brutal Legend, Eurogamer has interviewed Tim Schafer about his totally-not-cancelled game. A small snippet from Tim Schafer:
“In Brutal Legend you’ll go into a world you haven’t gone into before, which is combinations of every single thing I’ve ever thought was cool in the world, all together in one place […] Brutal Legend is the natural evolution of awesome. I think you must take the next step, even if it is a giant step… The next logical, enormous step towards awesomeness that we’ve made.”
For that and more interesting discussion about the new publishing deal, Jack Black’s involvement, the game’s music, etc, be sure to read the whole interview! Muchas gracias to Ozzie for bringing this to my attention.
Despite a lot of people dismissing Electronic Arts as a potential publisher of Brutal Legend after an earlier story about comments from the company’s CEO, it looks like the industry mega-giant is taking the game on after all.
The game’s official website at brutallegend.com is now redirecting to a non-existent page on EA’s servers, brutallegend.ea.com (you can see a screenshot of this error on the right). You will also find a button linking to this page on the sidebar of Double Fine’s Brutal Legend mini-site.
This domain change only seems to have been made today — it previously redirected to Sierra Entertainment’s old site — and a new post on the official Double Fine blog further bolsters the evidence of an imminent full-blown announcement.
At this point it seems fair to conclude that Electronic Arts is publishing Brutal Legend, and that a new site hosted by EA will be going up later today. Thanks to Nappi for pointing this one out.
[December 12th, 2008 at 1:05pm GMT] And just over an hour later, it’s official: Electronic Arts is publishing Brutal Legend! Check out the new official site, which is little more than a splash page for now but undoubtedly be filled out following the gameplay demonstration on Sunday.
[December 12th, 2008 at 1:16pm GMT] I’ve just received a press release from EA detailing the deal further. According to EA’s David DeMartini:
“Brutal Legend is shaping up to be a creative tour de force. At EAP, we are deeply committed to giving the industry’s elite independent developers a platform to launch their creations to a worldwide audience. Tim Schafer is known for some of the richest stories and characters in our industry, and with Jack Black offering his vocal styling’s for Eddie Riggs, we are extremely excited to help Tim and his talented team at Double Fine see their vision come to fruition.”
Brutal Legend has been given a new release schedule of Autumn/Fall 2009, which is one year beyond the original date — plenty of time for Double Fine to fine-tune their baby to sweet pefection, I guess. It’s still slated for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 only at this time.
With just four days to go until we’ll be seeing the first proper footage of actual in-game Brutal Legend action, Spike is building the hype up with a series of TV advertisements. Most relevant is the Brutal Legend teaser, although unfortunately the only footage is a small excerpt from the original theatrical trailer. There’re also three general Spike Video Game Awards ads starring Jack Black:
In other news, Double Fine has announced that further Brutal Legend news is coming later this week. The post implies it may have something to do with a new publisher, but that’s mostly.
While like most fans I’m worried about what’s going on with the fate of Brutal Legend, it seems Tim Schafer wasn’t lying when he said that development of the game is still ongoing despite there currently being nobody to publish it upon completion.
According to CNN, the upcoming Spike Video Game Awards are to feature a gameplay demonstration of Brutal Legend by none other than Tim Schafer himself. And as if that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one award show, the awards are being presented by the voice of Eddie Riggs and all-round great actor, Jack Black:
“Jack Black, one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile and talented stars, takes viewers on a trip to gamer heaven as host of Spike TV’s 2008 “Video Game Awards.” In addition to the world premiere of Brutal Legend gameplay from designer Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango and Psychonauts) and Double Fine Productions, the 2008 “VGAs” will be stacked with an unprecedented number of wall-to-wall world exclusives.”
If your heart’s still beating, be sure to add December 14th to your calendar — that’s when the show hits the air. As you’d expect, the awards will be shown on Spike; it appears that this channel’s only available in the US and Canada, so if anyone has any tips for worldwide viewers who might want to watch this please leave a comment!
[December 2nd, 2008 at 21:23 GMT+0] I may have misinterpreted what CNN said when I mentioned that Tim Schafer will be presenting the demo. Upon closer inspection it seems that the article probably merely meant the game is by Tim Schafer, and not necessarily that he’ll be presenting the gameplay demo. Treat that as reasonable speculation for now!
Despite the Brutal Legend publisher problems beginning months ago, the publisher hadn’t said anything with much substance about the matter until today. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been speaking with Gamasutra about the cancelled games, and had this to say:
“With respect to the franchises that don’t have the potential to be exploited every year across every platform, with clear sequel potential that can meet our objectives of, over time, becoming $100 million-plus franchises, that’s a strategy that has worked very well for us. Our strategy has been to focus […] on the products that have those attributes and characteristics that we know if we release today, we’ll be working on 10 years from now.”
So unless Activision Blizzard believes it can repeatedly milk the life out of the franchises it publishes, it’s not interested; while cash cows that’re guaranteed to succeed and spawn multiple sequels are great, anything that’s exceedingly creative and a retail risk isn’t likely to be picked up.
The downside to this approach is that you need something dazzlingly awesome and unique to have a cash cow in the first place. For how long does Activision Blizzard intend to keep dragging the same old franchises on?