In February 2008, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison resigned to become president of Atari parent company Infogrames. Since then the gaming world has been eager to find out what he's been up to. Today, Harrison, alongside Infogrames CEO David Gardner, used the Matter nightclub at London's O2 Arena to reveal all.
One of Atari's first announcements from the event was for Aki Corporation's Ready 2 Rumble Revolution. Originally teased as a multiplatform venture between Aki and 10tacle, the cartoon-styled boxing game is now a Wii exclusive and is expected to arrive in March 2009.
Next, Atari announced a partnership with famed rhythm-game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Q! Entertainment on a new music-based game for the Wii. Details on the game are slim, and it's operating under the working title "QJ." Atari will also be packaging three of Q's previous Xbox Live hits--RezHD, Lumines Live, and Every Extend Extra Extreme--into one package, titled Q3 (pronounced "cubed"). In addition to the three games, Q3 will include some extra content and has been priced at €30 in Europe.
Atari also outlined its partnership with Namco Bandai, whose games it distributes in Europe. The Japanese publisher used the occasion to reveal a new trailer for Tekken 6, saying the game will hit the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in fall 2009. Namco Bandai also has three other games lined up for spring 2009: Family Ski on the Wii, Afro Samurai on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and Eternal Sonata on the PS3, which includes new music, quests, and playable characters.
Atari then moved on to its own internal brands, such as the Dungeons & Dragons franchise Neverwinter Nights and the long-dormant Baldur's Gate. Developed by BioWare and published by then-D&D rights holder Interplay, the 1998 original Baldur's Gate is considered one of the best role-playing games of all time. Former Interplay staffers at Obsidian Entertainment developed Neverwinter Nights 2 using technology created by BioWare, which made the original Neverwinter Nights. It is unclear who might develop the new Baldur's Gate; reps for Obsidian, which just released the latest NWN2 expansion, declined to comment.
The game maker acknowledged that developments were under way for new entries in some of these franchises and hinted at new installments in the Test Drive Unlimited, Backyard Sports, and V-Rally series.
Atari also officially confirmed the console adaptation of CD Projekt Red's fantasy PC role-playing game, The Witcher. Subtitled Rise of the White Wolf, the game will use the original's story and is set to ship for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in fall 2009. Another PC game, the racing sim RACE Pro, will arrive on the Xbox 360 in January, with 12-player Xbox Live support and the complete FIA license.
Atari was bullish about its movie-studio support, talking up deals in place with Universal and Columbia for The Chronicles of Riddick and Ghostbusters, respectively. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena will hit the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC next year and will combine a new story and multiplayer mode with an HD remake of the 2004/2005 Xbox/360 hit Escape From Butcher Bay. Ghostbusters, meanwhile, will arrive in June 2009 to coincide with the first movie's 25th anniversary. It will hit six platforms: the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, DS, and PC.
Paulina Bozek, who joined Atari in September after heading up the SingStar brand at Sony Computer Entertainment, appeared at the event but didn't reveal anything she was working on. However, she did note in an open Q&A session that her upcoming game would be "social [and] multiplatform."
GameSpot will be holding interviews with Atari executives and game developers over the coming days, so stay tuned for more news and previews.