Kotick defends Brutal Legend fallout

Activision Blizzard CEO says Tim Schafer's company simply owed publisher money, prompting lawsuit over metal-infused action RTS.

Double Fine's Brutal Legend was among the handful of games that Activision decided not to publish following its merger with Vivendi in 2008. However, the game received a new set of legs when EA Partners picked it up, at least until Activision sued Double Fine, claiming it still had rights to the project. By 2009, the suit was settled and the game saw release, but that didn't stop Double Fine head Tim Schafer from calling Activision boss Bobby Kotick "a dick."

Eddie Riggs' debut wasn't without drama.

For his part, Activision's oft-maligned executive has remained largely silent on the issue, save for defending the publisher's position on why Brutal Legend was dropped. In a recent interview with Joystiq, Kotick further defended Activision's actions, saying that the lawsuit came about by the publisher simply attempting to recuperate the money it fronted to Double Fine to create the game.

"I don't know him. I never met him," Kotick said of Schafer. "I had no involvement in Vivendi's decision to go into business with him. I had very limited knowledge of what we were even doing with him. The guy went off and signed a deal with Electronic Arts for millions of dollars and owed Vivendi money."

"Vivendi had advanced him like $15 or $20 million dollars," he said. "He missed all the milestones, missed all the deadlines, as Tim has a reputation of doing. I don't know if it was a decision not to publish it. I don't even really know where we were in the negotiation and discussions about what was going to happen to the product. Unbeknownst to everybody, they didn't have the rights to sell."

"So all we'd said is, 'Look: If you go and do a deal with somebody else, pay back the money that was advanced to you.' That was all we were looking for. We ultimately got a fraction of the money that had been advanced to him, and as far as I know, that was the end of it. But I don't even know if there was a lawsuit from my recollection," he continued.

Kotick went on to note that he bears no personal grudge against Schafer, saying only that Activision did not feel Brutal Legend would be a commercial success.

"So I think that maybe nobody was able to clearly articulate that this is not a judgment about Tim Schafer," he said. "There's no personal animosity between Bobby Kotick and…I don't know the guy. Never met him. I could honestly tell you, sitting here, I never saw Brutal Legend and so the judgment of the people who I trust and respect about the quality of the game, and whether or not audiences would be excited and enthusiastic about this game, was 'No.'"

Though Brutal Legend did go on to become a critical success, its commercial fortunes were dubious. In announcing Double Fine's transition to small game development in July, Schafer confirmed that work on a sequel had been canceled.

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Discussion

275 comments
Amnesiac23
Amnesiac23 moderator

I wish someone in the company would get the balls to tell this guy not to speak anymore. It's not the facts that are the problem, it's the way he words things. And why bring this up again? Was there really a need to open up a really old scarred over wound?

MichaelChainsaw
MichaelChainsaw

Loved Brutal Legend.... up until all that C&C style battle crap. Why mess up a good thing with boring and annoying real time strategy elements?

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

By the way, for all of you who missed Brutal Legends, I just found a few copies at my local Target in the clearance section for $4.98. That is too cheap not to pick up people!

albatrossdrums
albatrossdrums

What is really disappointing is how shameless Activision is in declaring their only interest is making as much money as possible. We all understand a business is a business, but there are some businesses that can afford to simply contribute to the medium by doing (for lack of a better term) prestige projects, projects that are bound to appeal to a certain subset of gamers but not to the mass, full stop. There is room for profit and potential beyond seeking Hollywood blockbuster returns every time. They know Tim is one of the few consistently creative visionaries in gaming, and he's not necessarily going to create the next COD franchise. So what? Is there no room for modest success, or simply good will from the companies that continue to drag gaming into the Hollywood assembly line model? This is what is so horrendous about gaming behemoths that make their decisions for stock holders. Do you want a Wall Street mentality dictating what games you play, because it will only fund what is deemed most popular?

EtherUnion
EtherUnion

"Yo... bobby how are u today?" "oh sorry.... im talking with my dick...." Im still shock!!! Activision Blizzard?!?!?!?! OMGWTFBBQ!!! Sincerely Bobby KoDICK

jadefury27
jadefury27

There are 3 sides in every story; the 2 points of view and the truth. i can believe that bobby never met tim, unless the game sold 10 million there would be no reason for them to. but i dont think for a second he didn't know about the lawsuit.

fredwv
fredwv

He might be a dick, but he's a rich dick

dc337
dc337

I couldn't take an entire game of Jack Black.

FF7AdventGuy
FF7AdventGuy

Brutal Legend is an RTS.....WHERE?!?! I WANNA SEE!!!!

Darien
Darien

Krotick's penchant for turning away talented developers continues. Sounds like a pretty dickish quality to me. Well played Schafer, couldn't have said it better myself!

ScionofEntropy
ScionofEntropy

This seems late. Come on, Bobby, give it a rest.

StickToYerGuns
StickToYerGuns

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Ares360
Ares360

Tim Schafer is just saying what everyone already thinks

MrOrmond
MrOrmond

"I could honestly tell you, sitting here, I never saw Brutal Legend and so the judgment of the people who I trust and respect about the quality of the game, and whether or not audiences would be excited and enthusiastic about this game, was 'No.'" - Well, aren't you just the best boss ever.

anthonycg
anthonycg

Does Kotick really think his opinion matters to anyone? They better get someone to do some damage control and fast.

Ra-Qin
Ra-Qin

Bobby Kotick needs to get out of this industry. Activision needs to return to it's roots; ones where creativity prospers.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Brutal legend was an awesome game, especially with the fact that Jack Black voice acted.

grungeman91
grungeman91

Don't you miss the days when everyone was lawsuit-happy and that little prick Bobby Kotick didn't exist in the gaming industry.

grungeman91
grungeman91

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grungeman91
grungeman91

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

S001-PRIMAL
S001-PRIMAL

to be honest about brutal legend, its story could make an OK movie

S001-PRIMAL
S001-PRIMAL

@shaun_ofda_dead one step ahead of ya

S001-PRIMAL
S001-PRIMAL

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shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@SOO1-PRIMAL You know you can always report someone for trolling on a thread. It's against gamespots rules.

S001-PRIMAL
S001-PRIMAL

really man got pissed off cause we told u that ur a messed up troll and u reported us for that wow

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

Man, the same thing happened to psychonauts. God great reviews, but sold like crap. It's a real shame that neither of those games will see a sequel. I'd much rather see a psychonauts one myself, but something other than costume quest would be nice.

M3ran
M3ran

brutal legend was a great game,100% worth playing:P

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@jcbullen I hear your criticism (and agree with them), and it is tough when games try to do too many things in one setting. The game definitely has some flaws, but it is a funny and creative game no doubt. Thats what the industry needs more of is companies willing to take a chance with titles like this, to release games with more creative ideas than to release the same game (that is dumbed down from its genre defining predecessors) over and over and over again. If there were to ever be a sequel for this game, maybe those issues would have been addressed.

jcbullen
jcbullen

@shaun_ofda_dead I personally fell out of love with Brutal Legend rather quickly once the RTS set in heavily. I liked the idea, but the targeting and controls kind of killed it for me. Maybe I wasn't too good at it, but many times when I wanted X troops to do Y objective, it didn't work as smoothly as I wanted. Funny and creative game though.

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@jcbullen Believe me I am calm like a monk. I wouldn't waste my time getting angry at this guy, just as I wouldn't waste my time getting angry at a video game or driving in traffic. I just can't stand everytime I click on this site for the last few days (been helping a friend on some new vegas stuff/scott pilgrim walkthrough) that I get some message from this dude is acting like he is king of gaming. So I will go with my gut, and walk away. We all know he is a troll and a fanboy, and he still can act like what he has to say matters, but you and I and everyone else on here who uses this site responsibly knows the truth about these types of people, that they only diminish the value of a community like gamespot. It's nice to think he'll get the hammer, as I am sure it's only a matter of time. By the way have you played the scott pilgrim game? And did anybody bother to mention how cool brutal legends is as a game? what a great soundtrack. I am friends with one of the bands on it (skeleton witch), and they are really nice guys. go listen to them now!

Chizaqui
Chizaqui

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jcbullen
jcbullen

Ok well whether or not KotickIsGenius is a troll, don't you both think (kotick and shaun) that this "argument/debate has lost all original meaning and it's now just a stupid back and forth between two people who probably don't even give a crap about what they are talking about anymore? Kotick, if you really aren't a troll, you have completely lost what you were trying to convey in the beginning and should probably realize it. Only a troll would keep responding, if you aren't then just let it go man. And Shaun,calm down buddy.

Chizaqui
Chizaqui

this guy below me may be an idiot, beware

KotickIsGenius
KotickIsGenius

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

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

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

night-dreamers
night-dreamers

KotickIsGenius "and made you look like a Monkey's @s$ and now your reduce to dishing out lies and insults", "so keep flapping your gums" okay how about looking in the dictionary for more "insults"? now that you have all of your "facts" crushed down to the ground, i guess Resorting to insults is your way of defending your past trolling posts here, but i gotta say keep trying with a thousand arrows of shots, one is bound to make a hit.

KotickIsGenius
KotickIsGenius

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jcbullen
jcbullen

@KotickIsGenius I cannot believe how much time you've spent trolling.... several days of checking back to see if anyone took the bait? Saying that the thread is dead and then coming back right away to see if anyone responded? Sorry to say, but this is getting pathetic. Although I did get a small amount of entertainment reading through some of the posts. I think that you should probably find something better to do.... I really hope you have something better to do, otherwise I feel very sad for you.

KotickIsGenius
KotickIsGenius

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

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

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

night-dreamers
night-dreamers

@KotickIsGenius "and that's supposed to prove how long I've been here, all that proves is how long I've been using this profile" so you've been banned frequently for your trolling achievements in a few threads? i hope you get your ban real quick this time.

KotickIsGenius
KotickIsGenius

@night-dreamers Hate to burst you're bubble, but I've never been banned ( anywhere ). maybe I decided to change my profile because I was tired of my old one, wanted a new name...whatever the reasons, they're my own

okassar
okassar

Doesn't seem like many people could see the troll under the bridge...

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

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

night-dreamers
night-dreamers

@KotickIsGenius Yeah right, whatever keep trolling.

KotickIsGenius
KotickIsGenius

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

night-dreamers
night-dreamers

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