Activision announces Gun voice cast, stock split

Solid roster of veteran character actors will ride along with the free-roaming Western; four-for-three share dividend coming October 10.

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One of the games that is stirring the most interest this fall is Gun, the first non-Tony Hawk game from Activision-owned developer Neversoft Entertainment since 2002's Spider-Man. Long the subject of mystery, the game was first revealed this summer as a third-person action game that took the free-roaming gameplay of the Grand Theft Auto series and trasnported it to the Old West. Throw in a bunch of real-life experimental firearms and an intricate storyline, and the game is prompting more 21st-century interest in the 19th-century frontier than any filmed Western in years.

Today Activision revealed that some veterans of many a movie Western are saddling up with Gun's voice cast. Brad Dourif, who currently stars in HBO's popular series Deadwood, will play as "evil preacher" Josiah Reed, while Tom Skerritt (Texas Rangers, the remake of High Noon) will portray the frontier rebel Clay Allison. Into the West and The Quick and the Dead star Lance Henriksen will appear as an evil cattle baron and will be joined by Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid's Kris Kristofferson.

Kristofferson will play the mountain-man father of Gun's hero, Colton White, who will be voiced by Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights). It will mark Jane's second appearance in a game this year--he also voiced the titular vigilante in THQ's The Punisher, released in January. (He also starred in the Punisher movie and is currently prepping for the sequel.) Jane will be joined by one of the most seasoned vocal-talent actors in games, Ron Perlman. Perlman's resume includes work on Halo 2, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, the new NARC, Lords of EverQuest, True Crime: Streets of LA, and the Fallout and Icewind Dale series.

Gun's cast won't be its only connection to the film industry. Its story was written by Randall Jahnson, a co-screenwriter of Mask of Zorro and The Doors.

The Gun casting announcement also reconfirmed that the game will indeed be an Xbox 360 launch title. "The 360 Gun will be out this year, when the 360 comes out," a rep told GameSpot, dispelling doubts raised by Activision CEO and chairman Robert A. Kotick, who recently said Gun would be one of four Activision 360 titles available in "2006." It turns out the executive meant the publisher's 2006 fiscal year, which began April 1, 2005, and ends March 31, 2006.

Besides coming to the Xbox 360 this fall, Gun will ship for the PC, Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. However, confusion remains about a PSP version of the game. Online retailers such as Wal-Mart and some print publications have indicated that the game will come to Sony's handheld. However, when asked by GameSpot News about whether a PSP Gun has even been formally announced yet, an Activision spokesperson would only say, "Details to be announced." When asked if that was a "yes" or a "no," the rep responded, "Details to be announced, dude..."

In other Activision news, the world's second-largest third-party publisher today announced that its board of directors has approved a four-for-three split of its outstanding shares of common stock. This will be achieved via a "33 1/3 percent common stock dividend" to every three-share stockholder at the end of the trading day on October 10, 2005. In layman's terms, that means each holder of three shares of Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI) will receive one additional share of stock.

In a statement, Kotick outlined the reason for the four-for-three payout. "The stock split was motivated by a strong desire on our part to obtain a broader range of investors and improve the market liquidity in our stock and by our confidence that the value of our stock will continue to increase over time," he said.

Following the announcement, which was made at the beginning of the trading day, Activison's stock closed down $0.18 (0.90 percent) at $19.82.

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