SAN FRANCISCO--Last year, Activision spent nearly $91 million to acquire indie publisher RedOctane and its popular rhythm game license, Guitar Hero. The investment has paid off: As of January 31, the PlayStation 2 Guitar Hero II has sold over 1.58 million copies in the US alone, generating upwards of $114 million. That haul will surely increase next month, when an expanded version of the game arrives on the Xbox 360.
While the RedOctane purchase was certainly a coup, its edge was blunted somewhat when MTV Networks bought Guitar Hero developer Harmonix for $175 million. (Guitar Hero development is now being done in-house at Activision-owned NeverSoft.) The situation was further complicated tonight, when Harmonix cofounder Alex Rigopoulos and vice president of EA Partners David DeMartini revealed that Activision's archrival Electronic Arts will distribute the forthcoming MTV-branded game.
Speaking with GameSpot at a 2007 Game Developers Conference-related event, Rigopoulos said his company had inked a deal with EA Partners, EA's independent developer liaison. Under deals brokered via the division, EA is copublishing Mercenaries 2 with Pandemic Studios, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 with Valve Software, Crysis with Crytek, and Hellgate: London with Flagship studios.
As for further details of the EA-published, MTV-branded game, Rigopoulos demurred. "The project we're working on is by far, by far our most ambitious undertaking ever," he said.