Best-selling Butcher Bay PC-bound

VU (finally) confirms that its Xbox hit is being ported as <i>Variety</i> reveals that it is also likely to become a franchise.

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The Chronicles of Riddick may have faded quickly from movie theaters, but Escape From Butcher Bay has become one of the most popular Xbox releases of the year. High sales numbers and sparkling reviews of the shooter have fueled speculation that its publisher, VU Games, may be planning to release a PC version.

Such theories got a boost earlier this week, when EB Games posted a product listing for a PC version of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay on its Web site. Marked at $39.99, the listing had an in-depth description of the game and a release date of November 15, 2004. However, by mid-afternoon Tuesday, the listing had vanished from EB.

"Funny how that happens," said a spokesperson for VU Games, commenting on the sudden disappearance of the Riddick listing. But VU reps would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the game itself. "It's not on the calendar," said one rep, "but that doesn't mean it isn't coming." When contacted by GameSpot, representatives of Tigon Studios, Vin Diesel's game company, deferred comment on the existence of a PC version of Riddick. "You'll have to ask VU," said one staffer.

However, today, the cat was let out of the bag by Variety, which published a story comparing the success of the Riddick game with the failure of the movie. Director David Twohy's would-be summer blockbuster has taken in only $51.2 million so far--a major disappointment, given the film's $100 million-plus budget and massive marketing campaign.

On the flip side, Riddick has sold 110,000 units in its first three weeks of release and is, according to Variety, set to top 250,000 units and generate $15 million in revenue. While small in comparison to a multiplatform, multiplatinum title, the sales numbers are considered a major success for an Xbox-only game. Variety also cited unnamed sources as saying Riddick's success has prompted VU to prep a PC version for a Q4 2004 release. The article also said the publisher is actively considering a sequel to Butcher Bay--something that definitively can't be said about its film cousin.

Indeed, the Variety article finally prompted VU to admit that a PC Riddick is on the way. This morning, the company issued this statement: "We can confirm that there will be a PC version of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. At this time we are not revealing any further details, including its release date. We'll have more information soon."

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