June 29, 2012
Game Over For Activision’s Radical
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
It's game over for Activision's Radical Entertainment, and unlike with the games the developer reproduced, there are no save points, and no ability to respawn.
Activision said it will shutter development in its Canadian-based development studio Radical Entertainment. The studio is behind the recently released Prototype 2. Some business operations will remain, for now.
While development in the studio is no longer going on, Activision is exploring options and there's a chance of a game-like twist that could at least save the developers' jobs. A report from The Verge includes a statement from Activision, which explains the lengths the videogame publisher has gone to before reaching the decision to cease development of any new titles.
"Although we made a substantial investment in the Prototype IP, it did not find a broad commercial audience," said a statement released by Activision. "Radical is a very talented team of developers, however, we have explored various options for the studio, including a potential sale of the business, and have made a difficult conclusion through the consultation process that the only remaining option is a significant reduction in staff. As such, some employees will remain working for Radical Entertainment supporting their existing Activision publishing projects, but the studio will cease development of its own games going forward."
Apparently not under any confidentiality agreements, some Radical staffers are making their opinions known. Rob Bridget, who was senior audio director and reportedly worked at Radical since 2007, tweeted his feelings. "RIP Radical Entertainment 1991-2012."
Radical Entertainment was formed in 1991 in Vancouver, Canada. It was acquired by Vivendi Universal Games in 2005, and was then brought into the Activision Blizzard family as a subsidiary in 2008. Games from Radical Entertainment include Prototype, Prototype 2, Scarface: The World is Yours, The Incredible Hulk, The Terminator, Brett Hull Hockey95, Wayne's World and a number of games in the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
Radical Entertainment's Facebook page contains a post with more information. "Hi everyone. Yes, there's some unfortunate news to share today. This morning Radical Entertainment went through a significant reduction in staff. We're very proud of what we achieved with the PROTOTYPE franchise, but unfortunately, the Blacklight virus didn't spread as far as it could. For PC gamers, rest assured that the PC version of PROTOTYPE 2 is still going to launch on July 25th as planned. And special "thanks" to the PROTOTYPE Army and all our extremely loyal and passionate fans for supporting Radical Entertainment. We couldn't have come this far without you."
Fans responded swiftly. By noon on Friday there were over 80 comments on the Facebook page in response to the Radical Entertainment post.
The video game industry is similar to the movie industry in some respects. In both industries franchises are crucial, and often studios will greenlight a sequel to continue - or in many cases breathe new life into - an existing franchise. In many cases the strategy wins out, even if each sequel brings in diminishing revenues. There is still a bottom line that movie studios and video game publishers must see in order to keep a franchise - and in some cases development studios - continuing.