Titus bankrupt, Interplay's future uncertain
French court orders liquidation of French game company, but sources say its American subsidiary "continues to live."
After a disastrous 2004, the end may finally be nigh for the once-mighty Interplay. Today, the commercial court of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne) declared the developer-publisher's parent company, Titus Interactive, bankrupt. Titus had been in the French form of receivership--called redressement judiciaire--and was to have until February 7 to get its affairs in order.
However, according to ZDNet France, the judged decided to end the company's probationary period due to its dismal finances. "Titus was unable to finance any new games. There was no hope of financial rectification," the judge told the French newspaper La Tribune, referring to the company's EUR 33 million ($43.8 million) debt.
As a result of the bankruptcy, Titus' remaining employees, which number around 30, will be laid off. The assets of the company will be liquidated, and its French subsidiaries--Sofra Jeux, GIE Titus Interactive, and Avalon France--will be placed in redressement judiciaire.
However, since the bankruptcy was filed in the district court where Titus' headquarters is located, it does not affect Titus' international subsidiaries, which include Cat Software, DIGITAL Integration, Uco Games, and Avalon Interactive in Britain; Titus Japan; and Bluesky Software, Titus USA, and Interplay. In fact, the Agence-France Press news service quoted an unnamed source as saying that Interplay "continues to live for the moment."
How long that "moment" will last has yet to be determined. Although it sold the rights to its popular Fallout series to Bethesda Softworks last year, Interplay still has a number of licenses it could sell, including Kingpin, the Baldur's Gate-free Dark Alliance, and the rights to a Fallout massively multiplayer online role-playing game. However, the question remains as to who will assume control of the approximately 67 percent of Interplay stock Titus now owns. Attempts to contact Interplay spokespersons were unsuccessful as of press time.
GameSpot News will have more on this developing story as further details surface.
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