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Activision Blizzard intentionally blocking Brutal Legend deal?

News posted by Ryan on October 30th, 2008 at 11:07am GMT

Activision BlizzardSome fairly disconcerting news has come to light today: it turns out that Activision Blizzard — the publisher that pulled out of the Brutal Legend publishing deal — may be actively hindering any deals Double Fine tries to make with other publishers.

According to a Double Fine source, Activison has been “an impediment” during the re-pitching process, and they’re “blocking the process”.

A speculative comment on the matter by Quirk suggests that Activision Blizzard is causing problems for Double Fine so they’re eventually forced to re-negotiate with them — with far more favourable terms for the latter, naturally. Welcome to the wonderful world of business.

Update: Apologies if you saw this news post in your preferred subscription format earlier and couldn’t access it on the site; a small hiccup prevented it from appearing on the front page.

Brutal Legend Action Stickers

News posted by Ryan on October 26th, 2008 at 5:41pm GMT

2 Much Metal Babies stickerWant to show your support for Brutal Legend? Then what better way than to wear Double Fine’s brand new stickers, professing your fandom to the world? Costing a mere dollar each, these beauties can be stuck just about anywhere and are the perfect way to get your fix while you wait for the game — kind of like a nicotine patch, except they exude awesomeness rather than drugs.

There’re two stickers available: the Brütal Legend Sticker, a simple semi-transparent and extremely edgy adornment; and the 2 Much Metal Babies Sticker, a transformation of the Double Fine logo that’s also available as a patch.

Electronic Arts boss comments on Brutal Legend

News posted by Ryan on October 17th, 2008 at 7:06pm GMT

John RiccitielloWith Brutal Legend‘s fate still unclear and the game apparently without a publisher, speculation has been running amuck with people throwing names like MTV, EA, and even Gamecock into the list of publishers who might take the game on.

Keen to get some clarification on what the actual deal is, Gamasutra took the opportunity to slip a question about Brutal Legend into its recent interview with EA CEO John Riccitiello. The response:

“I have seen it. I am well aware of what the game is. It’s a very significant creative risk. Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products. Spore was also a significant creative risk. So was The Sims. Portal, BioShock. But so was Grim Fandango.”

A number of other gaming sites have taken this as an acknowledgement that EA has looked into the game and isn’t prepared to publish it, particularly because of Riccitello’s use of the word ‘risk’. However, it is important to note that EA has a history of publishing ‘creative risks’, including the aforementioned Spore, The Sims, and Portal.

Unfortunately he also slips Grim Fandango in there, which although deservingly has almost legendary status as a high-quality game, didn’t really set the sales charts on fire. As such, his comment diplomatically leaves EA’s actual intentions regarding the game entirely unknown.

50 Cent game switches from Sierra to THQ

News posted by Ryan on October 11th, 2008 at 12:34pm GMT

50 Cent: Blood in the SandBrutal Legend is one of several games that were effectively cancelled by Activision Blizzard, thus causing Brutal Legend‘s publisher issues that I’m sure must of us are aware of. One of the other games left in limbo was 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand, which it turns out is now being published by THQ.

This obviously only very loosely concerns Brutal Legend, but it does shed a little light on what is a very murky picture of what’s going on with the in-limbo games (there’s been no real official announcement to clarify things), and shows that the games are actually finding their way to other publishers. And they’re finding their way with no official announcements, at that — the only reason we know about this 50 Cent development is because someone spotted the publicly-accessible Australian ratings record.

Will THQ also pick up Brutal Legend from Activision Blizzard? Or is Double Fine still grabbing publishers by the ears and pitching the game to them? Perhaps Activision Blizzard is actively helping out and trying to hook up the developers of the games they cancelled with new publishers? Who knows.

Hopefully I’ll be able to give you some solid details soon. Until then, speculation is all we’ve got!

Tim Schafer interviewed by Gamers With Jobs

News posted by Ryan on October 1st, 2008 at 4:42pm GMT

Gamers with JobsI have to confess that this is the first time I’ve heard of Gamers With Jobs, but scoring an interview with Tim Schafer is certainly a demonstration of good taste on their part — looks like I’ve found a new blog to subscribe to!

It’s a pretty superb interview. Spanning about 20 minutes, it covers everything from Schafer’s earliest games like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, right up to a whole bunch of details about Brutal Legend. Here’s a slightly paraphrased snippet concerning the status of the game:

“We’re not done, but we’re pretty far along. I would say we’ve got two thirds of the dialogue recorded; we’ve been to the studio several times with Jack [Black]. He’s awesome and adds a lot of comedy to the game — a lot of personality to it. […] I can’t say when [Brutal Legend] is going to come out or be done, but it’s going to.”

It’s generally a great listen — it’s a podcast, by the way — and well worth 20 minutes of your time. Head over to the Gamers With Jobs download page to give it a listen; the 20-minute Tim Schafer interview starts about 44 minutes in, with Brutal Legend conversation mixed in throughout.