As part of Activision's earnings call today, CEO and president Ronald Doornink answered the customary questions from game industry analysts. And in so doing so, he revealed Activison's lineup for the 2005 holiday season, a roster that will make the company a formidable adversary to its rival publishers.
Speaking to analysts, Doornink outlined Activision's plans for its third fiscal quarter, which will run from October to December 2005. "In the [fiscal] third quarter, we plan to release our strongest and most diverse lineup ever--specifically, brand-new games for Tony Hawk, Call of Duty, X-Men [Legends], True Crime, Quake, and Shrek. Each of these franchises is targeted at a different consumer."
With that statement, the CEO put a release window on the next installments in Activison's premier franchises. Though Call of Duty 2 has been slated for fall for some time, previously, X-Men Legends II, True Crime 2, and Tony Hawk's Underground 3 were expected only sometime during Activision's fiscal year 2006 (April 2005 to March 2006). The games' existences were first revealed last summer and fall.
For PC gamers, the biggest news was that the long-awaited next installment in the Quake franchise will indeed arrive in 2005. Given the time frame, the Raven-developed, Doom 3-engine-based shooter will arrive almost exactly one year after Half-Life 2, the current top-selling shooter for the PC.
For younger gamers, the big news is that Activision is readying a new game based on the popular Shrek films. Doornink also mentioned that The Movies, the long-delayed entertainment-mogul-simulation game from Peter Molyneux, would be released for the holidays, as it was supposed to be last year. "During the [holiday] quarter, we plan to release games based on two new intellectual properties: The Movies and the new Neversoft title."
Ever since its existence was first revealed, the unnamed game from Activision-owned-studio Neversoft has been talked up, primarily by Doornink. Last July, the CEO boasted that the game will be "the biggest game of next year," even though the company still refuses to reveal its title. A June 2004 job listing for "Xbox 2 Console Engine Programmer" on Neversoft's Web site also implied the mystery game would be for next-generation consoles, since it mentioned there were "some other ideas" that the Tony Hawk developer "want[s] to bring to life."
Speaking of next generation, Doornink did address Activision's next-generation plans, albeit in very vague terms. "Excitement is building around the introduction of the next-generation consoles, the first of which could launch as early as this year-end," he said. Presumably, the executive was obliquely referring to the next-gen Xbox, which Microsoft chairman Bill Gates accidentally confirmed is coming in 2005. Continued Doornink, "We can't publicly announce our [next-gen] titles, but we are excited at what we see that the technology offers."
However, not even the most ironclad nondisclosure agreement could dampen Doornink's characteristic corporate bravado. "Our lineup for the next generation will easily be the biggest, strongest, and most exciting one in Activision's history," he told analysts.