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Activision Going Houser Shopping?

Bobby Kotick gets coy.

Based on the company's other offerings, it would seem to me that EA's protracted, yet ultimately failed, courtship with Take-Two Interactive was largely so they could get at those Rockstar goodies, particularly Grand Theft Auto. Take-Two obviously isn't going to let go of the GTA brand any time soon, but its contracts with two of Rockstar's brightest stars, Dan and Sam Houser, are up for renegotiation come February. While they don't speak publicly as often as, say, Ken Levine or Denis Dyack, the Housers are a key part of the GTA franchise, so it's unsurprising that anyone who can afford to are doing a little courtship dance right now.

As reported by Silicon Alley Insider, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick basically said "no comment" when asked about Activision's interest in the Housers during a recent financial conference call, though he then went on to state that Activision had "definitely become the destination location for independently minded entrepreneurial talent." That kind of makes Kotick's "no comment" sound more like a "we're still trying to find a big enough novelty check."

I'm not trying to impugn the talents of the Housers here, but I have to wonder how much of Grand Theft Auto's success Activision Blizzard might actually get out of what would surely be a very high-priced bidding war. There's a firmly held belief 'round these parts that the vast majority of the game-buying public doesn't know or care who's making their games, but what about you guys? If the Housers leave Grand Theft Auto, do you think you'll follow in kind?

15 Comments
Posted by Ryan

Based on the company's other offerings, it would seem to me that EA's protracted, yet ultimately failed, courtship with Take-Two Interactive was largely so they could get at those Rockstar goodies, particularly Grand Theft Auto. Take-Two obviously isn't going to let go of the GTA brand any time soon, but its contracts with two of Rockstar's brightest stars, Dan and Sam Houser, are up for renegotiation come February. While they don't speak publicly as often as, say, Ken Levine or Denis Dyack, the Housers are a key part of the GTA franchise, so it's unsurprising that anyone who can afford to are doing a little courtship dance right now.

As reported by Silicon Alley Insider, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick basically said "no comment" when asked about Activision's interest in the Housers during a recent financial conference call, though he then went on to state that Activision had "definitely become the destination location for independently minded entrepreneurial talent." That kind of makes Kotick's "no comment" sound more like a "we're still trying to find a big enough novelty check."

I'm not trying to impugn the talents of the Housers here, but I have to wonder how much of Grand Theft Auto's success Activision Blizzard might actually get out of what would surely be a very high-priced bidding war. There's a firmly held belief 'round these parts that the vast majority of the game-buying public doesn't know or care who's making their games, but what about you guys? If the Housers leave Grand Theft Auto, do you think you'll follow in kind?

Staff
Posted by dexterslu

I really hope they don't, god..isn't activision the new EA? they'd be better of going with EA (who's hands off studio policies have been great as of late)

Posted by Milkman

I think it would be very interesting to see the Housers work on something other than Grand Theft Auto. Sure, why not?

Posted by MrMuise

People make my games?

Posted by Torb

No way man! We have to give them a chance to make a great GTA without them. Perhaps someone will fill their shoes...

Posted by albedos_shadow

Honestly, at this point, I don't really see a downside to Take-Two going back and asking EA to acquire them. They'd be better off there than with Activision.

Posted by MattBodega

Sam Houser was instrumental in creating the best parts of the GTA games: the characters, the writing, and the humor(he's co-credited for virtually every writting part of the game). Losing Sam, for sure, might mean a drop in writting quality that I'm not ready for! Not after GTA IV took such a brave step in establishing charecterization as the key part of that game's design.

Posted by DavidSnakes

MattBodega

Dan Houser actually did the writing for GTA, not Sam.

Posted by MrKlorox

The Housers won't leave GTA without long time producer Leslie Benzies and art director Arron Garbut (do we have information on their contracts?). However I do think that GTA4, while a great game, strayed a little far from what I would call a true current gen update of GTA. I am perfectly content in these gentlemen going in a more serious adult direction, but I don't know if GTA is the series to do that with. What game would they make if they could not make GTA? Would they leave the company they helped found?

A lot of people bought Crackdown because it was from David Jones... the dude that stopped making GTA half way through the second one.

EDIT: @MattBodega: You sure you're not meaning Dan?
EDIT2: @DavidSnakes: Jinx!

Posted by insanejedi

No, no no no no.
Dan and Sam Houser If you go to Activision instead of EA, instead of getting a possible annual game contract, you will have a DEFINITE annual game contract. Don't do it!

Posted by roofy

people that read this site are the ones who know who the lead is on the game.
we are the people that care who is making it.
i will follow the housers and their great studio

Posted by Brym

If they leave, it could end up like when the Medal of Honor team left EA to form Infinity Ward.  Take Two will keep pumping out GTA games, but they will start to suck and will eventually stop selling.  Meanwhile, the Housers' new franchise will become the next big thing.

Posted by Kinarion

For sure, especially if it meant their new game and/or franchise could follow a different release model.  Surely it isn't a crime to want to play a shooter on the PC.

Posted by xil3

I don't know about the legalities of their contract but I'm assuming Take2 owns the rights to GTA and if the Houser brothers leave, that would mean that GTA stays with Take2 which would be devisdating.

The whole time I was worried about the entire rockstar team being moved to EA and being wattered down by EA.
It never occured to me that the Housers could leave Take2 and GTA behind.

I DONT WANA LIVE IN THAT WORLD.

Posted by deadpoool

man, gta 4 sucked ass anyway. it was definitely the worst in the series. lack of humour or invention really hurt it in my eyes. the missions were all the same ... (go here /kill this guy/chase this guy...blah blah) i was sick of it within 2 hours. i am not alone in my opinion either, istruggle to find people who disagree with me. san andreas is in my top 5 of all time gta4 is in the bin. ea can have the housers.....i have no loyalty to the franchise any more.

*edit* i know i didnt ask the question posed....but has anyone noticed how ea are the only prominent publisher pushing up the price of games? if that stupid company ever gets an even bigger monopoly on the games market...it would be detrimental to fair competition and ultimately -  us as consumers.