Activision Blizzard 'streamlining' Vivendi

Prototype, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and Ice Age survive the big merger; Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios under the microscope.


You can't make the world's largest third-party omelette without breaking a few eggs. In the wake of the merger with Vivendi Games, Activision Publishing today announced that it is streamlining the subsumed company's operations.

As part of the drive for increased efficiency, Activision will "realign" staff at Radical Entertainment (Prototype, Crash of the Titans) and High Moon Studios (The Bourne Conspiracy, Darkwatch). As for their sister subsidiaries Massive Entertainment (World in Conflict, Ground Control) and Swordfish Studios (50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Cold Winter), Activision is "exploring options," including the sale or closing of the outfits.

The future is similarly uncertain for Sierra Online (Assault Heroes 2) and Vivendi Games Mobile (Prison Break, Cake Mania 2). The publisher deemed them "non-strategic business units" and said it is exploring the possibility of closing or selling them as well.

"We are focused on improving efficiency across the combined organization and are concentrating on businesses where we have leadership positions that are aligned with Activision Publishing's long-term corporate objectives," Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith said in a statement.

As for the Vivendi properties that are definitely sticking around, Activision said it is adding Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, and Ice Age to its stable of popular brands. It will also bring in two new intellectual properties Vivendi had been working on: Radical Games' Prototype, and one as yet unannounced title.

"We have conducted a thorough review of Vivendi Games' brand portfolio and are retaining those franchises and titles that are a strong fit with our long-term product strategy," Griffith said. "We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing."

The press release makes no mention of other anticipated Vivendi titles like Double Fine Productions' Brutal Legend or Terminal Reality's Ghostbusters. Activision representatives did not immediately respond to GameSpot's requests for comment on the status of these and other Vivendi projects.

Back in March, Variety reported that Vivendi developers were having to repitch their games to the incoming Activision management. At the time, Double Fine head Tim Schafer said he hadn't been asked to go anywhere or pitch anything special.

[UPDATE]: An Activision Publishing representative confirmed for GameSpot that it will not be publishing Vivendi titles beyond the scope of the five announced franchises. That leaves a number of high-profile projects in limbo, including Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, Wet, Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World at Conflict: Soviet Assault, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Zombie Wranglers, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, as well as several Xbox Live Arcade titles.

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