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Scratch delayed until 2010, new dev on board

Bedlam Games takes over litigation-plagued rhythm title following Activision's acquisition of original developer; due out early next year.


When it was first announced in October 2008, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ looked set to be the first turntable-peripheral-based rhythm game on the market when it shipped out in September 2009. Today, though, the game's publishers, DVD distributor Genius Products and audio-equipment manufacturer Numark Industries, announced it would not launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 until "early 2010."

Scratch's Numark-made turntable controller.
Scratch's Numark-made turntable controller.

The delay should come as no surprise to anyone following the game, which is at the center of a nasty legal dispute. On one side, Genius and Numark, who filed suit in April after Scratch developer 7 Studios was bought outright by the publisher of a competing product. That publisher is the multibillion-dollar giant Activision, and the product is DJ Hero, a rival turntable simulator, which will now beat Scratch to the 360 and PS3 when it goes on sale this fall. (Developed by FreeStyle Games, it will also be released on the Wii and PlayStation 2.)

In their suit, Numark and Genius accused Activision of deliberately buying 7 Studios with the intention that the move would delay Scratch and allow DJ Hero to overtake it. That certainly appears to be the end result of the two sides' litigious wrangling, which saw a judge decline to slap a restraining order on Activision to prevent DJ Hero's release. However, the same judge also expressed frustration with Activision and 7 Studios' attempts to retain the Scratch source code, and ordered them to hand it over immediately.

Luckily for Genius and Numark, the $6 million and 18 months of work they have invested in Scratch will not go to waste. They have now hired a new developer, Bedlam Games, to finish development of the project under its music and party game label, Commotion Interactive. It is the first publicly announced project for Bedlam, which was formed in 2006 by former employees of Rockstar, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, and Electronic Arts.

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