A2M on slipping Wet to Bethesda - Q&A

Studio head Denis Lacasse details his company's search for a publisher following split from Activision, staying true to risque IP.

Activision Publishing picked up a surprisingly few number of Vivendi Games and Sierra Entertainment's product portfolios when the two companies merged in July 2008. While much of Vivendi's casual lineup, such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Ice Age, were deemed safe bets, a ranging list of more adult-oriented games were dubbed a poor fit, including Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World in Conflict, and 50 Cent Blood on the Sand.

Rubi makes Lara Croft look tame.

Within a few months, nearly all of the high-profile Activision Blizzard castaways had been picked up by other publishers--that is, save for one outlier: Artificial Mind and Movement's Wet. A stylized, story-oriented third-person shooter, Wet quickly became known for its highly suggestive title, nubile heroine, and "Kill Bill meets Tomb Raider meets Prince of Persia" aesthetic.

Last week, Wet washed up on firmer ground, when A2M and Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda Softworks announced a publishing deal that would see the game's release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this fall. Speaking with GameSpot recently, A2M studio head Denis Lacasse offered some inside perspective on A2M's road to landing the deal.

"Activision informed us that they would not pursue the publishing of Wet during the summer of 2008," Lacasse said. "They took the decision to keep specific brands and games based on their publishing objectives. Our game and many others did not fit with their strategy."

However, even after Activision made the decision to step away from Wet, Lacasse noted that the publisher continued to support development on the project, meaning A2M was free to continue development on the game. He went on to say that while Activision initially took the lead in finding a new publisher for the project, A2M decided it would be better served to handle negotiations directly.

"Initially Activision Blizzard pitched our game to other publishers," he said, continuing, "but we felt strongly about our game so we quickly made a decision to buy back our IP." According to Lacasse, A2M picked up the rights to Wet in the fall of 2008 and from there began approaching publishers to secure a deal. Unfortunately, a self-destructing global economy meant many publishers were less than enthusiastic about taking chances on an unproven original property.

"The economy impacted everyone," Lacasse said. "Some games were canceled, some studios shut down. The publishing community became very cautious when it came to signing new games and they wanted to wait and see how the industry would perform during the holidays."

Bethesda, though, was different, according to Lacasse, as the publisher was "looking for an opportunity and new content to augment their portfolio. ... Bethesda manifested interest very quickly and we felt it was a beneficial partnership for both companies. We were looking for a partner that believed and shared the same vision for the game and they were looking for additional content to augment their existing portfolio of games."

"We see Bethesda as more than just a distributor; we see them as partners," he continued. "Their marketing and distribution teams are filled with highly talented and passionate people, and we know they'll do a great job. We also benefit from the great deal of experience and knowledge from their production team. It has been great to work with them."

Of note, Lacasse also affirmed that, despite Wet's provocative nature, no significant changes were made to appease publishers following its break from Activision Blizzard. According to the studio head, any feedback that the publishing community offered during this period was addressed in the game "where it made sense" and ultimately "improved the game."

"Our game is really about style and over-the-top action/universe," he said. "We are trying to bring to the game space a fresh style and unique genre, combined with innovative game mechanics, in a package that is daring and a lot of fun. We always tried to make Wet market-friendly, which in turn makes it publisher-friendly because it will sell. We've always believed that the gamers out there are ready for a fresh experience like Wet provides."

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Discussion

27 comments
Dualmask
Dualmask

@Malco_Vincenzo, maybe Bayonetta's better, maybe not. Haven't played either one, but they might both be great, both worth owning or at least renting. I've got my eye on both titles.

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

from the gameplay vids, i see an overuse of slo-mo. the game also looks extremely easy. It's got nothing on Bayonetta

Matthew_B
Matthew_B

I think this game looks really cool anyways. If I didn't i still have faith enough in Bathesda not to support a really apalling game.

luc11044
luc11044

I can't wait for this title to be released! Looks pretty cool!

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

I not sold on this game. Bethesda Softworks is a excellent developer, but Bethesda is using this game to broaden it's portfolio. I'm not trying to diss it before it gets out of the gate, but from what I've seen, Wet looks like a derivative of several superior action games and IP's. Hope I'm wrong cause it's my favorite genre. For now my money is on Bayoneta.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

Ah, "Artificial Mind and Movement". Shoulda just put the other "M" in there.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

Yeah unless they were going for that, A2M is probably the worst name ever for a company. Is it short for something?

never-named
never-named

Activision is really starting to gather dust as a relevant publisher these days...I mean c'mon, Ice Age, Spyro, Crash? Pfft...

Unlimitedbigdad
Unlimitedbigdad

Seems like a good game. It seems it has some potential.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

I just think it's funny that the overall Previews and/or reviews of the list of games that "didn't fit" have been pretty good. The 50 cent game was better than expected, and the Chronicles of Riddick game is just a great bargain. This is beginning to look like the outcome of Disney not wanting to do the Lord of the Ring films.

nightshade869
nightshade869

Hmmm well I guess we will see how Bethesda does with actually supporting all the platforms they release a game for....

green_dominator
green_dominator

I'm not too interested in the game but I give them a nod of respect the same, the ability to own your own property and develop it is an asset, I wish them the best....

cid_007
cid_007

Not to "rub" you the wrong way, but it's a (Wet) dream come true!

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I've seen a video preview of this on X-PLAY. The gunplay looks interesting with its one arm manual aiming combined with one arm auto-aim. Throw in the wall running, the swordplay and the acrobats it looks interesting.

I don't know why none of those Publishers would not want what essentially is The Matrix (the movie) meets Max Payne. The action/gameplay looks interesting and gunplay + swords is like chocolate + Peanut butter...more please:D

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

I want to play wet but the wait is unreasonably long and the interest is waning

Carpe_Noctum
Carpe_Noctum

Ya, I read it as AM2 at first also, but there is no chance they make a game like this. lol I hope the game turns out to be fun. I am a sucker for a chick with guns but that alone does not make a game worth playing.

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

A2M - funny abbreviation for a developer.

vajer
vajer

The name of this game turnz me on so goodz lololol

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope it all works out well

Doolz2024
Doolz2024

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ronin893
Ronin893

That was cheesy Kungfool.

TheKungFool
TheKungFool

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Smoov_B
Smoov_B

m4ntan, Bethesda isn't making it. They've agreed to publish it. Did you even read the article?

M4Ntan
M4Ntan

Lol me to... but in the opposite way, im bleeding inside since i see so much fail in this game, even though bethesda is making it, theyve made some crap games in the past so dont give me like 10 thumbs down, i just dont like the graphics and idea.