Thursday, February 10, 2011
Activision Closes Studios, Guitar Hero, True Crime
According to reports, Activision had seen a great decline in its music properties, and in preparation to focus more on Call of Duty and Blizzard franchises, the company has laid off a large group of employees. President Bobby Kotick confirmed that no Hero games would be seeing a release this year, and it is understood that the Guitar Hero brand is on ice indefinitely.
In light of those factors, great layoffs have hit DJ Hero developer Freestyle Games and Guitar Hero developer Vicarious Visions. The worst hit was 7 Studios, which was purchased by Activision to bring mobile music games out into the market and help design additional content on DJ Hero 2; the developer is now closed.
True Crime: Hong Kong has also been canceled, even though the game was near completion. Its developer, United Front, is known for its recent development of Sony-published ModNation Racers. As the company seems to have been working solely on this project, the cancellation could lead to layoffs at the independent studio.
Along with the cancellations, Activision stated that it would not be releasing a Tony Hawk game this year, as well, which could be a bad thing for current-Tony-Hawk developer Robomodo, but time will tell whether worries are warranted.
This is not unexpected for Activision, sadly. Last year, the company had decided to close Bizarre Creations (who developed Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone), Luxoflux (known for making True Crime and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Underground Development (which was making a new Call of Duty), RedOctane (originator of the Guitar Hero franchise), and BudCat Creations (known for Wii and PS2 editions of Guitar Hero games before Vicarious Visions). Layoffs also hit other in-house developers including Robomodo (the newest Tony Hawk franchise holder), Radical Entertainment (which caused the cancellation of a new Crash Bandicoot title), and NeverSoft (canceling its work on Guitar Hero).
Best of luck to those involved.