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Disney May Accidentally Buy Ignition Entertainment

The mega media corporation has put in a bid for Ignition's parent company, UTV, which would make Disney its intimidating stepparent.

Things have not been going swimmingly at Ignition Entertainment of late. Since Indian entertainment conglomerate UTV's purchase of the UK publisher, Ignition has gone on to lay off hundreds of staffers and close down nearly all of its internal development teams, with the expressed purpose of solely focusing on publishing games developed by external studios.

We don't know if this will have any effect on El Shaddai, but it doesn't exactly inspire hope for a smooth release.

Now that whole plan may be tossed asunder, as news comes (courtesy of Develop) that Disney has put in a bid for UTV. Disney is already the largest shareholder in UTV's various media operations, with a 50.4% stake in the company. Now, it's looking to pony up the $454 million necessary to simply own the company outright.

Disney's primary interest in UTV is, well, pretty much everything except its gaming division. UTV is extremely successful in India's film and television market, and is clearly interested in breaking off a bigger piece of that Bollywood action.

This marriage of convenience between two major media powers seemingly leaves Ignition as the unfortunate stepchild of a new daddy that previously stood accused of killing its own video gaming children. Disney has been making its own moves to excise "core gaming" studios like Black Rock and Propaganda in recent months, shifting its focus toward social/casual games, which puts Ignition in a rather deadly position. So it really is pretty much just the plot of The Stepfather. Either the 1986 or 2009 version. Your pick.

Coming on the heels of the news regarding the delay of Ignition's sole upcoming major console release, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, into August, this all does seem to put a bit of a dark cloud over both Ignition's future, and any potential push El Shaddai may have been set to receive. Given that game's Biblical (albeit non-canonical) leanings, if possible, Ignition may want to just get that game out on store shelves as soon as humanly possible. Disney does not have a particularly great track record of releasing products under its various media labels that garner even a hint of controversy.

Alex Navarro on Google+
39 Comments
Posted by Alex

Things have not been going swimmingly at Ignition Entertainment of late. Since Indian entertainment conglomerate UTV's purchase of the UK publisher, Ignition has gone on to lay off hundreds of staffers and close down nearly all of its internal development teams, with the expressed purpose of solely focusing on publishing games developed by external studios.

We don't know if this will have any effect on El Shaddai, but it doesn't exactly inspire hope for a smooth release.

Now that whole plan may be tossed asunder, as news comes (courtesy of Develop) that Disney has put in a bid for UTV. Disney is already the largest shareholder in UTV's various media operations, with a 50.4% stake in the company. Now, it's looking to pony up the $454 million necessary to simply own the company outright.

Disney's primary interest in UTV is, well, pretty much everything except its gaming division. UTV is extremely successful in India's film and television market, and is clearly interested in breaking off a bigger piece of that Bollywood action.

This marriage of convenience between two major media powers seemingly leaves Ignition as the unfortunate stepchild of a new daddy that previously stood accused of killing its own video gaming children. Disney has been making its own moves to excise "core gaming" studios like Black Rock and Propaganda in recent months, shifting its focus toward social/casual games, which puts Ignition in a rather deadly position. So it really is pretty much just the plot of The Stepfather. Either the 1986 or 2009 version. Your pick.

Coming on the heels of the news regarding the delay of Ignition's sole upcoming major console release, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, into August, this all does seem to put a bit of a dark cloud over both Ignition's future, and any potential push El Shaddai may have been set to receive. Given that game's Biblical (albeit non-canonical) leanings, if possible, Ignition may want to just get that game out on store shelves as soon as humanly possible. Disney does not have a particularly great track record of releasing products under its various media labels that garner even a hint of controversy.

Posted by HolytheGoalie

Hmm, should be interesting to see how this plays out.

Posted by Coreymw

It's always a shame to hear about studios being shut down, or in danger of being shut down. Good luck to them. Here's hoping they don't end up making iOS'ware in the near future.

Posted by iAmJohn

To be fair, Alex, Disney was doing us a favor in trying to bury ICP.

Posted by ColinWright

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Posted by iAmJohn

@wh4tshisface said:

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Some dude asked him about it on Twitter an hour or so ago. His reply was "no comment. #gonefishing". Read that as you will.

Posted by ColinWright
@iAmJohn said:

@wh4tshisface said:

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Some dude asked him about it on Twitter an hour or so ago. His reply was "no comment. #gonefishing". Read that as you will.

I hope all ends well for him 
Posted by xombi242

No!

Posted by DonutFever
@wh4tshisface said:
@iAmJohn said:

@wh4tshisface said:

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Some dude asked him about it on Twitter an hour or so ago. His reply was "no comment. #gonefishing". Read that as you will.

I hope all ends well for him 
Me too.
Posted by RoyCampbell
@iAmJohn said:

@wh4tshisface said:

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Some dude asked him about it on Twitter an hour or so ago. His reply was "no comment. #gonefishing". Read that as you will.

Ah geez.
Posted by Silver-Streak

I really enjoyed the demo of this. I hope this doesn't stop the release.

Posted by Getz

I know I'm not going to buy El Shaddai, and hearing that they might get shut down saddens me.

Posted by RobotHamster

Since Ignition published Deadly Premonition, does this mean theres a chance Agent York will be in the next Kingdom Hearts?

Posted by lordofultima

This is some of the most bummer news in quite a while. A bunch of great people lost their jobs for sure, and I really thought Ignition was starting to go places and stand on their own as a development house!

Posted by mosdl

@RobotHamster: no, more likely the next Kingdom Hearts has Mickey perform a 20 minute Bollywood routine (Kinect optional).

Posted by GalacticPunt

I definitely agree with the last paragraph. Get out El Shaddai while you can. The Disney brass do not want to be associated with apocryphal religious combat.

Posted by FateOfNever

Goodbye Ignition Entertainment. 

Edited by craves

I'm a tester at Disney Interactive and here's my response:

*ahem*

"OH GOD PLEASE DON'T SHUT THEM DOWN WE NEED BETTER GAMES TO WORK ON"

... that is all.

Posted by buzz_killington

The Sweet Life of York and Zach coming to Disney Channel this Fall!!

Posted by FreakAche

My coffee tells me that Ignition will be closed down by the end of the year.

Posted by theanticitizen

If Ignition is shut down then Giant Bomb should hire Shane

Posted by Devil240Z

@theanticitizen said:

If Ignition is shut down then Giant Bomb should hire Shane

This.

Also man it would suck if Disney bought UTV. Ignition is a really cool company. Shane has been doing alot of good work there. I mean they brought Deadly Premonition to the US!

Posted by Xeiphyer
@RoyCampbell said:
@iAmJohn said:

@wh4tshisface said:

I wonder what Shane thinks of this.

Some dude asked him about it on Twitter an hour or so ago. His reply was "no comment. #gonefishing". Read that as you will.

Ah geez.
Fuck, that sucks.
Posted by JetForceGemini

Not good. Disney will probably just shut them down :/

Posted by NoelVeiga

My educated guess is that El Shaddai will come out. They already have a business plan in place for the release, all the funds allocated and a bunch of other stuff. Whatever Disney's plans are for UTV or Ignition, it'd be pretty pointless to immediately send everybody packing right away halfway through a fiscal year, which would only make their deal less profitable. More likely they'll finish the game, publish it as expected THEN decide what to do with Ignition.

Posted by Whizbang

Whiskey should hire Jeff Green and Shane Bettenhausen on as part of its continuing series of integrating the best parts of old 1UP into Giant Bomb.

Posted by vinsanityv22

Hopefully Disney will let them buy themselves out and go independent. Or sell Ignition to someone else - Warner Bros. or something. El Shaddai looks really cool, and the demo was actually  really fun. I've been watching it ever since Shane Bettenhausen came to GiantBomb for the Quick Look EX of that game. It would be a shame if that was pretty much Ignition's only game. Maybe that Japanese Ignition studio could find a home with Konami or Sega or something. 
 
Either way, I'm sure Disney won't do the right thing here since they're intent on destroying their once-promising video game division. If Black Rock and Propaganda got shut down, and Junction Point suffered major layoffs, there's no way Disney will hold onto the El Shaddai studio. *sigh*

Posted by Demoskinos

Great, so Disney can acquire yet another studio and then misuse them then dissolve the studio like they did with the Split/Second guys.  Good job Disney!

Posted by craves

It's a sad time to work in Disney's core games division :(

Edited by PenguinDust

I can't see why everyone is getting all flummoxed over this Disney deal.  As Alex pointed out in the first paragraph, UTV has already neutered Ignition when they turned it into a publishing-only company.  That's what Disney Interactive does these days already, so it wouldn't surprise me if they did dump Ignition.  Will they sell them off to another company or exploit their Japanese contacts for more Disney licensing remains to be seen.  Chances are someone like Atlus will have to pick up the slack when they leave.

Posted by Radar
@craves said:

It's a sad time to work in Disney's core games division :(

It's sad to work in the games industry in general. It seems everyone is getting the boot and nothing is profitable.
Edited by Ragdrazi

It was nice knowing you, Ignition.

Posted by buft
@RobotHamster said:
Since Ignition published Deadly Premonition, does this mean theres a chance Agent York will be in the next Kingdom Hearts?
no but the coffee cup is making its return
Edited by Vonocourt

So this guarantees me picking up a copy of Deadly Premonition and El Shaddei for the sole fear of the print runs coming to an end.

Posted by Duffy

It's not nice to hear a studio go under

Posted by Brodehouse

I blame John Vignocchi.

Posted by Corvak

Sad that Disney needs to shut these guys down, instead of sell them off.  I really dont care about facebook advertising scheme games.

Posted by MeatSim

Doesn't sound good for Ignition but I hope no one loses their job.