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February 15, 2009

News Around the Watercooler, keeping you informed about all things gaming.

Activision is threatening to sue Electronic Arts over the publishing rights to Double Fine’s action game, Brutal Legend. It all started as last year when Vivendi Games merged with Activision, resulting in many games that Vivendi was going to publish, to suddenly be forgotten about or picked up by other publishers. In the crop to be picked up was Ghostbusters, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena and evidently Brutal Legend which was picked up by Electronic Arts.
Brutal Legend, starring Jack Black, is a story of a roadie who builds an army of rockers with his trusty axe and guitar, yes you heard correctly, a guitar and an axe.

Nothing was heard about the game by the developer who was responsible for creating the unique but still underperforming “Psychonauts”; until EA announced, among other things, that they’d be releasing the game.

Activision was obviously not impressed.

Although they weren’t going to publish the title as they didn’t see any potential for it, Activision claimed to still have the rights to publish the game, meaning that no other publisher can.
However Double Fine has stated that they own the IP and since Activision did and still doesn’t have any intention of publishing the game, they are inclined to find another publisher.
Activision has sent a letter to EA voicing their legal concerns, and though Double Fine is yet to comment on the situation, Electronic Arts has released a statement saying:

“We doubt that Activision would try to sue. That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy.”

Midway, known for games such as Mortal Kombat, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as of Friday Morning. CEO Matt Booty said, “This was a difficult but necessary decision”. Although owing over $256 million to creditors, Midway hasn’t liquidated, and plans to continue operating.
Scheduled to release Wheelman this month, a game featuring Vin Diesel, rumours are suggesting that Ubisoft will step in to publish the game, resulting in the release being pushed back to mid March.

Lead World of Warcraft Designer Jeff Kaplan is taking a step back from World of Warcraft in order to work on Blizzard’s “Upcoming Unannounced MMO”. Though not sharing much more on the game or his new role, he has mentioned his love for WoW and that it has inspired him to make this new Blizzard MMO even better.

Grand Theft Auto IV will see its first episode of Downloadable content exclusive to Xbox 360 be released worldwide on February 17th. The new content contains new missions and a storyline that interewaves with the original story; not to mention new weapons, vehicles, and multiplayer modes. Originally scheduled for last year, the DLC aptly named Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned is the first of two scheduled for release; with Microsoft paying $50 million for the exclusive rights. However figures from Amazon at the end of 2008 were pointing at the PS3 version of the game outselling the Xbox 360. The anticipation is that the release of The Lost and Damned will boost revenue for the Xbox 360. ACB have given the new content a MA15+ rating, though no surprise there. It is available for 1600 Microsoft Points off Xbox Live or you by it retail for around $35, however you’ll still need to download the content regardless as the retail pack doesn’t include a disc.

Street Fighter IV will be released on Friday February 20th after surviving Red Ant Enterprises receivership ordeal without any delays. Available on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 it shares a release date with Warhammer 40,000 : Dawn of War II on the PC.

And finally the next chapter in the R18+ debate, GameTraders is planning to storm Parliament next month in what they’re calling “Cosplay for a Cause“. On Wednesday 4th March at 1pm they’ll be presenting their petition demanding fairness to the classification system in regards to the R18+ games rating. If you’re interested in attending check out the details on the Cosplay for a Cause flyer.

I understand that everyone’s frustrated about the rating debate, however getting a hoard of adults dressed up as video game characters and attacking Parliament House in Adelaide doesn’t really spell out Maturity. When you think about it, that is the point you’d like to make, that as adults we’re mature enough to choose what we play and what we don’t, that we don’t need protecting because we can protect ourselves.