Codemasters delays games amid Ubisoft takeover rumors

UK publisher/developer pushes back Wartime Command, Operation Flashpoint 2 as UK trades report it may be bought out by the French game giant.

Over the weekend, British publisher and developer Codemasters pushed back several of its high-profile military games. Operation Flashpoint 2, the sequel to the popular Bohemia Interactive-developed shooter, has been delayed until "spring 2006," according to the game's official Web site. Further, Codemasters' release calendar now lists the release date for the Xbox version of the original Operation Flashpoint as summer 2005 (instead of fall 2004, as previously listed).

Codemasters has also delayed Wartime Command: Battle for Europe 1939-1945, its WWII real-time strategy game. Developed by Russian studio IC, the game had been set for a summer 2004 release. However, as of late last week, the game's home page was changed to reflect a new summer 2005 ship date.

Ironically, the delays come as Codemasters is reportedly on the verge of being bought out. British game-industry magazine MCV is reporting that Ubisoft is in "an advanced stage in negotiations" to purchase the Colin McRae publisher. The French publishing giant had been widely reported to be considering acquiring another leading UK game company, Eidos. However, Ubisoft's shares fell 5.2 percent on Monday due to worries that Eidos' estimated $300 million price tag would severely strain its finances.

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