Namco Bandai fires BottleRocket

Publisher abruptly removes San Diego-based studio from Splatterhouse project, passing development duties to Afro Samurai team.

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A messy situation is brewing for Namco Bandai and BottleRocket Entertainment's Splatterhouse. Following online reports over the weekend, Namco Bandai has confirmed that BottleRocket has been removed from the project, though the publisher still plans to release the game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this year.

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"We have decided to part ways with BottleRocket Entertainment, but we are committed to bringing Splatterhouse to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year," a Namco Bandai spokesperson told gaming blog Kotaku. "At this time, we are not ready to discuss specific development details about the game and wish BottleRocket the best of luck in their future endeavors."

Splatterhouse is a reenvisioning of Namco's gory TurboGrafx-16 beat-'em-up of the same name. It features an original storyline by comic-book scribe Gordon Rennie (Judge Dredd, Necronauts), wherein a college student in search of his kidnapped girlfriend happens upon a mask that confers great power--and an insatiable bloodlust.

Development on the game was reportedly on track to wrap by early March, making Namco Bandai's move all the more unexpected. Kotaku's sources indicate that the publisher has handed over Splatterhouse's reins to the same team behind Afro Samurai, which received a decent critical reaction upon release for the Xbox 360 and PS3 last month.

Neither Namco Bandai nor BottleRocket had responded to GameSpot's own requests for comment as of press time.

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