VU Games gets Radical

The purchase of the Scarface and The Simpsons: Hit and Run shop strengthens VUG's development hand.

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For a while, the level of commitment media giant Vivendi Universal had to its game business was as clear as the winter skies above the San Francisco Bay. That is, it wasn't.

Excluded from the NBC Universal merger, VU Games' fortunes have fallen over the past few years, as executives have come and gone. With recent layoffs predominating the news, the direction of the publisher could only be described as wavering.

Now, with Half-Life 2 and World of Warcraft topping the PC sales charts, the tide may be turning for VU Games. Today, it made its long-term motives clearer by acquiring long-standing development partner Radical Entertainment, the Vancouver-based studio behind The Simpsons: Hit & Run and the upcoming Scarface.

The two companies established more than the usual developer-publisher relationship in January of 2004, inking a deal that would see Radical develop six multiplatform titles "based on new and existing entertainment franchises." VUG also secured a royalty-free license to Radical's game development technologies. As part of that agreement, VUG had an exclusive option for VUG to purchase the company during the contract’s term, which it exercised today. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"We've had tremendous success working with VU Games over the past few years, and we believe our integration will be extremely positive for the future of Radical," Ian Wilkinson, Radical's president, said in a statement.

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