Why Activision Ditched Riddick

Why Activision Ditched Riddick

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has revealed why the newly-merged company chose to drop many of the projects in production at Vivendi, and it doesn't have much to do with artistic integrity.

All but five games in development at Vivendi and its subsidiary, Sierra Entertainment, were dropped following a post-merger review of the properties acquired by Activision Blizzard in the Vivendi merger: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Ice Age, Prototype and one unannounced title. As a result, a number of relatively high-profile titles including Ghostbusters, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Brutal Legend and Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena found themselves without a home. Some of the cuts were a bit mystifying, but according to Kotick, the reason they didn't fit into Activision's master plan can be summed up in one simple word: Sequels.

"[The dropped games] don't have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises," he said in Activision Blizzard's earnings call yesterday. "I think, generally, our strategy has been to focus... on the products that have those attributes and characteristics, the products that we know [that] if we release them today, we'll be working on them 10 years from now."

Kotick noted that while original IP development still figures into Activision's plans, only a small percentage of successful game releases over the past several years have been original titles. "You still need to have production of new original property but you have to do it very selectively," he said. "The focus at retail and for the consumer is to continue to be on the big narrow and deep high profile release strategy... We've had enough experience that I think the strategy we employ is the most successful."

He added that Activision Blizzard has 15 titles set for release next year over "more than 70 SKUs," among which will be "three, maybe four exciting new intellectual properties."

via: MTV Multiplayer

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Whoa-Woah-Woah-WAAAAAAAAIT

So you're telling me the C-E-fricken-O of Activision Blizzard actually used the word "exploit"?

So then why in hell did they buy a producer responsible for publishing so many original IP's? Did they really need another shitty ice age or spyro game that badly? Couldn't they buy their own shitty sequel material? Goddamn.

Yikes. Activision is the new EA, it appears. I hope this strategy seriously bites them in the ass.

(Still bitter about Brutal Legend.)

Great, looks like we'll be awash with even more sequels with less and less original games. Less then a quarter of games coming out from them in the next year or so are 'new intellectual property'? Hur-frickin-ray.

Yeah, we'll see how many of your 'new' games become $100 million franchises with this attitude. 'Originality is for suckers' is what I'm hearing.

I also find it funny that they really DID use the word 'exploit', but not in the laugh out loud funny. More like, the 'I want to punch your grandmother' funny...which is some type of funny to someone, somewhere, I'm sure.

Fuck them tbh. I think that Sierra has picked up Chronicles of Riddick:Dark Athena. As long as it gets released and I can buy it i'm happy. If it turns out to be amazing (which is what I hope) I would like Activision to feel like they have bit themselves in the ass.

Well, I for one am glad to see that Prototype is still in production, seeing as how it's one of the games I'm really looking forward to, but why are they dropping all these other games in favor of a new Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and ICE AGE!? First of all, Crash and Spyro are effectively dead, as far as I was aware, and I doubt these games are going to sell well (look at what happened to Sonic when they tried to revive him). And ICE AGE!? A movie game!? Especially a movie game from a movie that came out years ago!? This is one of the dumbest choices they could have made. Also, who's to say that the unannounced title isn't Brutal Legend?

I hope this idea of dropping all the original IPs in favor of dead series will come back to bite them in the ass.

All I see in the list of kept projects are dead horses. Hope they have fun beating them for a bit at their own expense.

I'll use my trademarked catchphrase now, if I may...

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick can go, and I mean this in every possible sense, fuck himself with a switchblade.

Amen, PedroSteckecilo, amen. Most of the kept games are crap kiddie games, they dumped every game with the potential to be great. Ice Age? Damn, change the name to Romper Room publishing and get it the hell over with. If annual sequels are their only criteria any longer, they aren't going to be publishing anything worthwhile ever again. Running out of decent publishers here! Who's left?

shit. you're telling me that a new game based on washed up franchises and movies are more important than original titles? So in other words, the strategy is, "Fuck over customers with 'Crash Bandicoot: Acti-Blizzard Loves Money Edition' instead of awesome original titles that the industry is in dire need of".

And this is why Yahtzee feels like he's mining for gold in a septic tank.

It's a business decision. A revolting, King Dick-league business decision, but a business decision none the less. Activision-Blizzard isn't in the business of making games, its in the business of making money. As long as people are willing to buy those boring, repetitive, and sub-par sequels, said sequels will continue to make money and Activision-Blizzard will continue to make them.

Look at all the crap thats out there for the DS and the Wii. You think Ubisoft or Majesco care that their shovelware is vapid and gimmicky? The fact that the pet hospital, baby daycare, and carnival sim games make loads of money off of gullible kids means that companies will continue to pass on interesting and unique IPs. When you answer to shareholders, you have to take the path that offers the greatest potential rewards with the least risk. In this market, that means more sequels and shovelware crowding store shelves.

also, correct me if i'm a bit wrong here. i don't really know if I'm using the term correctly, but isn't this sort of like McDonaldization? Instead of giving people great games and quality products with the best consumer satisfaction, they seem to be shoving as much shit down our throats as possible and making us like it, like when our parents used to force feed us vegetables when we were small.

People might justify this by saying it's a business but last time i checked, businesses prided themselves on customer satisfaction, which is the reason why EA is getting a lot of hate. If anything, most of the titles like Brutal Legend would be arriving in 2009, it could be that a lot of the projects that Activision Blizzard has seems to be taking up holiday 08, and possibly 3 quarters of 09.

I'm taking a guess and saying that Blood on the Sand will see the light of day most likely in spring, Ghostbusters in summer, Brutal Legend in winter, and Chronicles of Riddick maybe in winter or 1st quarter of 2010. These are just guesses after all, so don't take em too seriously.

Someone wrote some funny in Kotick's Wikipedia entry (last sentence)... wonder how long it will last:

"Robert A. Kotick (born 1963)[1] is the CEO, president, and board member for Activision Blizzard, a video game developer and publisher, and was previously the CEO for Activision from February 1991 until the merge in July 2008.[2][3] He was approved on 9 July, 2008 by stockholders of Activision Blizzard for this role.[3] Prior to Activision, Robert Kotick served as CEO to 4Kids Entertainment, and served as a founder of International Consumer Technologies and president from 1986 to January 1995.[2]

He was also a Yahoo! board member from March 2003 to August 2008,[4][5][1] and is currently a board member for the Center for Early Education, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tony Hawk Foundation.[1] Also, a cocky greedy prick, above all else."

Oh my God! EA's corruption is spreading...

And that's got to be one of the worst strategies ever. I mean I can understand wanting to maxamise profit, but releasing the same game each year with slight modifications surely won't garner as much cash as one super awesome release.

It's unfortunate that there is such a huge amount of people willing to ditch out money to buy these games (or should I say, stand-alone expansion).

You guys still think Activision is better than EA? I knerw they were pricks when they dropped Brutal Legend - this is not news to me.

Oh, and this kinda leavesa bitter taste in your mouth about Prototype, doesn't it?

They dropped Brutal Legend and Riddick? I haven't seen this kind of selling out since Nintendo stopped caring about real gamers.

Well, at least he's being honest about his marketing techniques.

Riddick has been picked up by Atari at least.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6200311.html

Atari is really picking up after Activision. I still say EA is worse although Activison is closing the gap.

Damn. I was waiting on the new Riddick game. And I was going to buy Ghostbusters too, if it ever comes out.

shatnershaman:
Riddick has been picked up by Atari at least.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6200311.html

Atari is really picking up after Activision. I still say EA is worse although Activison is closing the gap.

Is that any better, though? This is Atari, they have made more worst games of all time than anyone else.

What they kept:
Crash Bandicoot series (been dead since Naughty Dog left it)
Spyro the Dragon series (been dead since Insomniac left it)
Ice Age (really?)
Prototype (at least they're not total idiots)
Unannounced title (*shrug*)

What they tossed:
Ghostbusters (could have gone either way)
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (see Prototype)
Brutal Legend (disregard Prototype)
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (I honestly don't care)

It's official Activision is worse than EA. Who's up for forming an angry mob?

Everything is sequels now a days. Also, parents will buy anything for the kids just to shut them up. Think back to when you were a kid. If you saw something you really wanted and cried for it for a while, wouldn't your parents eventually buy it for you (even if that eventually was Christmas?) Well, thats how it is now. Since more and more kids and gaming (even if it is DS), aren't they gonna release more and more crappy kids games and sequels, just so the parents will buy them? But still, who cares. They are still making good games... even if they are sequels.

My God...what if it infects Blizzard? What if...Starcraft 2 is really lame? And Diablo 3...

YOU BLEW IT UP!!! YOU GODDAMN MANIACS!!! YOU BLEW IT UP!!!

What's wrong with releasing one hit wonders? Churn out decent games and people will buy them. Not everything has to become some sequel (or more) IP. Take the sales and call it a day, focus on another one hit wonder..

While I appreciate the honesty, I'm not liking the 'big plan' if you will. It smells an aweful lot like EA. We don't need more of the same, we need more innovation. What's a better place to go loose and let it rip then on a new IP, where you are not limited to anything?

lol L.B.

I really wanted the riddick game, but the longer until the 50 cent game comes out the better.

Also, spyro is what I grew up on, it's going to suck having them incarnate it like this and screw it up.

Well, I for one am glad to see that Prototype is still in production, seeing as how it's one of the games I'm really looking forward to,

Yea, that game is so sweet looking, especially when you see the trailer the gamestop website has. Mainly because of the spec ops guy and their opinion on him. he sounds so awesome.

What's wrong with releasing one hit wonders? Churn out decent games and people will buy them. Not everything has to become some sequel (or more) IP. Take the sales and call it a day, focus on another one hit wonder..

Not necisarily. It's not always best to come up with another one hit wonder, and it's not always best to make a sequal.

mike1921:
Not necisarily. It's not always best to come up with another one hit wonder, and it's not always best to make a sequal.

Which was the point I tried to make. You can do both, especially when you're 40% of the entire market.

You serious? Activision is 40% of the entire market. Oh why do the idiots always win?

I don't have exact numbers (if anyone does, please post!), but the market is pretty much EA + Activision nowadays. Not nessecarily owned, but published anyway. And I think we've all seen how much power a publisher can wield over a game in development.

pisses me off about ghostbusters and brutal legend, but prototype is still being released so I'm happy, didn't really care for the riddick game since it was just going to be butcher bay with a graphics upgrade and a bonus spaceship level.

L.B. Jeffries:
My God...what if it infects Blizzard? What if...Starcraft 2 is really lame? And Diablo 3...

YOU BLEW IT UP!!! YOU GODDAMN MANIACS!!! YOU BLEW IT UP!!!

Oh no.....

WHY!!!!???? Why must the good always suffer? Why does everything always lose out to greed?

So they ditched the long awaited Riddick sequel but they kept Crash, Spyro, and, my god, ICE AGE!? He comes across as even more of idiot after saying that they only kept the projects that have the potential of $100 million franchises. Ice Age? $100 million? I don't think so. How long has it been since that movie came out anyway?

Activision is apparently at least holding on to Brutal Legend:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/87098-Activision-Blocking-Br-tal-Legend-Deal

But I'm wondering how big of an audience a hypothetical One-Off Game Studio needs to attract to stay viable.

Given that nobody is going to buy every single game that One-Off Games is going toproduce, that means they're probably going to have to ship more than one a year. That means that each individual game is going to be smaller and more casual. The upside to that is crossplatform portability, which helps sustainability. There's an added benefit in that, while One-Off Games might not ever make a sequel to one of their titles, in spite of their name they just might upsize it, like n to n+.

 

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