Here's a spooky tale: Phil Elliott over at gamesindustry.biz is reporting that Activision Blizzard has submitted a release schedule that contains some of the Vivendi/Sierra games that it picked up in its recent merger, like Prototype, but somewhat major entries in the Vivendi lineup are missing. Games like Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Ghostbusters, and Brutal Legend.
The rest of the story goes on to talk about "non-strategic business units" and the sort of restructuring you'd expect when two big companies merge. Sadly, the combined company probably doesn't need as many studios as it currently has, and some of them may cease to exist. The statement from Activision's CEO, Mike Griffith, says...
"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."
Others have speculated that the absence of these games must be oversights. Personally, I'm hoping that's the case. And I'm having a hard time believing that Activision--the same company that brought us the very first Ghostbusters game--doesn't see any potential in that product. I've heard nothing but nice things about it. Pack in an emulated version of the original game and the cycle would be complete.
And Brutal Legend? Can you possibly imagine any other publisher in a better spot to publish a rock-themed game than the company that brings you Guitar Hero? Hell, they should just call it "Guitar Hero Gaiden: Brutal Legend: Jack Black Is In This Game" and ship it.
As for Blood on the Sand? Well... yeah, I don't know. Whatevs, I guess. 50 Cent is past his prime and getting staler by the moment.
Of course, you shouldn't panic just yet. None of this seems to be officially official quite yet, and it's probable that at least some of these projects could get spun out to other publishers if Activision is, in fact, pulling out.