Thursday, June 4, 2009

Activision asserts Brutal Legend rights, sues Double Fine

EA showcased and heavily promoted their new game Brutal Legends at E3 this year. This year's E3 has been arguably one of the best E3 displays for a long time, especially with all sorts of new innovations such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 no controller Project Natal motion sensing technology.

EA and Activision both had an impressive line up of games they would be offering, but Activion Blizzard has decided to take some decisive action against the EA and Double Fine deal of publishing Brutal Legends, a game that was had a $15 million investment from Activision Blizzard.

How did this happen? Well you may already know this, but Vivendi Games merged with Activision awhile ago but apparently Activision did not include Brutal Legend in their list of projects they would inherit. Double Fine thought this meant Activision no longer wanted Brutal Games, so they went looking for another developer, namely EA. Activision has previously threatened to sue if Double Fine didn't stop the publishing of Brutal Legends, and now that threat has become a reality.

The lawsuit claims that Double Fine missed a key deadline last year, and asked for another $7 million infusion. Then it claims that Activision was not compensated for their initial $15 million investment when Double Fine went to EA. Activision says that they never gave up their rights to the game, and was still in negotiations with Double Fine, but failed to reach an agreement.
In response, Double Fine President Tim Schafer stated,

"Hey, if Activision liked it, then they should have put a ring on it," "Oh great, now Beyonce is going to sue me too."

Later, EA also commented by comparing Activision to

"a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy."

Should Activision be able to keep their "rights"? It only seems natural that if Activision doesn't include the game in the projects they would inherit, that they mean to give up the game. On the other hand, if they really were negotiating, then perhaps Double Fine is at fault. However, I doubt this is the case, and it's more likely that Activision didn't care much about it until Double Fine was forced to find another publisher.

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