The Battle for Brutal Legend, Chapter Three: In which Activision claims it still owns the rights to the game, and Electronic Arts compares them to a jealous ex-husband.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Activision Blizzard doesn't seem to think that Electronic Arts owns the publishing rights for Double Fine's Jack Black-starring heavy metal odyssey, Brutal Legend. In a presumably angry-worded letter to EA, Activision claims that it was still in negotiation for the rights to the game when the EA deal was made, thus rendering the arrangement unofficial, according to sources close to Variety's Cut Scene blog.
The implication of the letter, obviously, is that Activision's going to sue the pants off EA and Double Fine if they don't cease their partnership. EA's calling their bluff, though. "We doubt that Activision would try to sue," an EA representative said. "That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy."
But wait, weren't Activision Blizzard the ones who didn't want Brutal Legend in the first place? Brutal Legend was originally with Vivendi, which then got swallowed up in the merger with Activision, which became Activision Blizzard and dropped a healthy number of games, like Ghostbusters, the new Riddick game, and of course, Brutal Legend. After that, Double Fine went looking for a publisher and found one, to everyone's surprise, in EA, though apparently Activision was trying to block any deals at that point in time as well.
So, why does Activision want Brutal Legend now after all that? According to Variety's sources, it doesn't. Brutal Legend isn't the kind of mega-franchise like Guitar Hero or World of Warcraft that they're looking for. All they want is a little bit of compensation for giving up the rights to begin with, which was what Atari gave them when they bought up Ghostbusters and Riddick. Double Fine, however, holds that they own the rights to Brutal Legend, and after their agreement with Activision expired, were free to shop their product around to whoever they wanted.
So, Double Fine's got its side of story, Activision has its own, and EA just compared Activision to a jealous ex-husband. What will happen next? Tune in next time to The Battle for Brutal Legend to find out!