Double Fine Productions' Brutal Legend will tell the story of rock roadie Eddie Riggs' trip to hell, but ultimately the legend in the making may be the game's absolutely brutal path to release.
Coming off 2004's commercially disappointing Psychonauts, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer endured a "demoralizing" pitch process before finding a publisher for Brutal Legend--Vivendi Games--in 2007. However, when Vivendi Games merged with Activision, Brutal Legend was among a host of anticipated titles that the new megapublisher had declined to handle last July. That left Electronic Arts free to sign the game to its EA Partners program late last year, or so everyone thought.
According to a Variety report, Activision is threatening to file suit against EA over Brutal Legend. Sources familiar with the Call of Duty publisher's position on the matter told the Hollywood trade paper that Activision believes the EA deal is invalid. While Activision passed on Brutal Legend and had no plans to ever release the game, the company reportedly thinks it retained the publishing rights regardless.
As for EA's position on the matter, Variety quotes a source as saying, "We doubt that Activision would try to sue. That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy."
This mess aside, Brutal Legend is still expected on store shelves later this year.