Vivendi studios and projects face uncertain future

Vivendi studios and projects face uncertain future
Michael French

By Michael French

July 29th 2008 at 8:41AM

Activision-Blizzard says studios will be â??realigned or divestedâ??; unwanted games like Ghostbusters sold off

After weeks of speculation, new publishing powerhouse Activision-Blizzard has confirmed it will sell off unwanted studios and projects it acquired following its merger with Vivendi games.

North American studios High Moon Studios (developer of the recent Bourne game) and Radical (developer of upcoming game Prototype) are to be ‘realigned’ the publisher confirmed in a statement – which presumably means merged into other Activision-Blizzard teams or downsized.

Meanwhile the publisher added it was “exploring options… including divestiture” for European studios Massive (based in Sweden, developer of World in Conflict) and Swordfish (based in Birmingham and Manchester, UK developer of the upcoming 50 Cent game).

The Sierra Online and Vivendi Mobile business are also possible up for sale.

At the same time, Activision-Blizzard confirmed what Vivendi-started projects it would and wouldn’t be keeping. Big kids franchises Crash and Spyro will be kept, as will the videogame rights to movie franchise Ice Age plus new IP Prototype.

However that leaves in the cold a number of other key, high-profile games Vivendi label Sierra was originally planning to publish. These include Ghostbusters, new rock music adventure IP Brutal Legend, plus rights to the Bourne/Robert Ludlum estate and the 50 Cent games.

Publishing rights for these games are also up for sale - Ghostbusters for one was presumed nearly finish given its upcoming October release date.

"We are focused on improving efficiency across the combined organisation and are concentrating on businesses where we have leadership positions that are aligned with Activision Publishing's long-term corporate objectives," said Activision publishing CEO Mike Griffith in a statement.

"We have conducted a thorough review of Vivendi Games' brand portfolio and are retaining those franchises and titles that are a strong fit with our long-term product strategy. We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing."