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Take-Two Acquires Firaxis 40

Posted by Zonk
from the ruh-roh-raggy dept.
eToyChest reports that Publisher Take-Two has acquired Firaxis studios, developers of the Civilization franchise. From the article: "At this point I'm not sure what to think. If Take-Two takes a hands-off approach, and lets Firaxis do their thing, then I'm all for this. I just don't want this to become a matter of "too many cooks in the kitchen", and somehow negatively impact future titles that spring from Sid Meier's genius. Your thoughts?"
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Take-Two Acquires Firaxis

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  • Big deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by CasulPoster (705596) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:57PM (#13982154)
    Take Two has already published two successful Sid Meier's games. This may simply be a way of ensuring that they have permanent control of those franchises.
  • This is crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZephyrXero (750822) <zephyrxero&yahoo,com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:58PM (#13982157) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's very good. If Take-two wants to regularly invest (and thus) profit off the games Firaxis makes, then that's fine. If they want to sign an agreement for them to do a certain number of games this way...that's fine. But, there's no reason for all these publishers to keep gobbling up all the developers. We're gonna get to a point where there are very few companies that autonomously create games, and thus less innovation I'm afraid.
    • Re:This is crap (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Serapth (643581) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#13982458)
      We there is a reason... survival. When you have a big predator gobbling up every successful independant developer available, if your a rival, you have to act to protect your prize divisions. EA, through their actions, are basically forcing Take2 and Ubi to follow suit to a certain degree. This is also why Pandemic + Bioware merged together with an investment firm. About the only way they could stay independant and successful.
      • As while I see your point, survival is very important, it's going to end up hurting future companies. The bigger these companies and their budgets swell, the harder it is going to be for any new companies to even have a shot against these juggernauts. Then again, it may be for the best in the long run as all these uber-developers start churning out more and more cookie cutter crap as the trends are already starting to show ;)
        • It isnt going to end up hurting future companies, it already has. What you are seeing now is a result of that hurt. More and more risk is being offloaded on the indy developers, while the ROI for that risk is going down and down. Thats why you saw a mass exodus to the "casual" webpublished games a few years back. Ironically, that mass exodus killed that industry aswell, where the major portals replace the major developers in the traditional sense. Where as real used to say take 20%, they take 50 or 60%
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:04PM (#13982214) Journal
    Take2 previously handled much of the marketing etc for Firaxis. Take2 doesn't deal so much with the development aspect of game publishing... that's done by the subsidiaries IIRC. Not to say that the parent co doesn't have input, but I imagine it's similar to the original Take2/Rockstar setup. Rockstar devlops games, Take2 publishes them.

    Where this worries me is that the Civ franchise will probably need to be dumbed down a bit in order to do well in a larger market -- especially the console market (and you can bet they'll be pushing it there).

    I'd like to see the top of the org chart for Take2's new acquisition -- will Sid continue in his current role?
  • One word: MicroProse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexwcovington (855979) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:23PM (#13982451) Journal
    Remember how Sid Meier's greatest games got sold off piecemeal, and how all the new Railroad Tycoons suck?

    That's what happens when Sid Meier isn't involved anymore. Pirates! and Civ IV were great games, but we won't be seeing the likes of them until Sid creates another firm 10 years from now.

    Granted, 2K has not been heavyhanded with Rockstar, but then Rockstar makes pretty much the #1 game franchise in the world. A smaller firm like Firaxis will be easy to meddle with and fuck up irreversibly.

    • by d3kk (644538) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:46PM (#13982730) Journal
      ... Or they'll understand that games like Civilization are quite successful for a reason and they won't mess with it. Not all publishers exist solely to ruin video games and everything you've ever loved.
    • Rockstar makes the top game of their type - whatever type you might want to call the GTA series. Firaxis makes the top game of their type - show me a TBS game with the fanbase and staying power of the Civilization series. I'm inclined to give this a cautious thumbs-up. Take2 seems to be in the habit of snapping up successful developers, letting them do their thing, and funding them. Rockstar wasn't meddled with... I don't think Firaxis will be, either.
  • Civ4 is amazingly good, a real resurrection of what was great about the first one. It makes no sense for them to be selling out now, unless Civ4 isn't doing well... is it not selling well?

    If PC gaming has bitten the dust to that degree, perhaps they're letting themselves be bought out just to survive?
  • they already published some of their games and as publisher were entitled to some input because they really didn't agree with an aspect of the game, they would just drop it unless the dev would fix it, but as it seems take two is as opposite of EA as you can get so perhaps this will just increase the amount of capital Sid Meier will have to work with in his future games. Off-topic slightly: And to one of the other people posting, take two won't move the civ franchise to console simply because it will suc
  • by Alpha27 (211269) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:51PM (#13983320)
    In this turn-based game, you will create brothels, build slaveships, create drug cartels, research ways to refine cocaine, harvest opium fields, and assasinate political leaders, and it'll have a story line.
    =)

  • I develop sports games for a company owned by Take Two under the 2K Sports label. I have worked here before, during, and after the aquisition. I will be the first to say that the acquisition has been nothing but positive for our company. Take Two has not pushed us to do anything we wouldn't have done otherwise and has only provided us with larger pockets from which to draw resources.

    I am confident that the acquisition will not negatively impact Firaxis' great line of games.

  • Sid must want to retire.

    There really is no need to sell to a big publisher, if anything, Sid should of pushed Firaxis into becoming more independent - using digital distribution direct to the players via the internet - instead of getting sucked into a big bloated publisher tied to the big bloated retail world.

    Guys like Sid, established guys like him should be leading the charge for the 'artists' of the game industry to become more independent. Instead, he just cashed out.

    Oh Sid, why oh why? Did they offer y
    • First off, Take Two isn't that bad. Its reputation as a publisher is fairly clean.

      Second, Sid did not sell himself into slavery. Sid sold his company. Sid could very well create ANOTHER startup, make another awesome game, then get bought up again, each time pocketing a pile of cash. So long as Sid kicks out some kick ass games, good for him. That guy deserves a big firgging pile of money. Sid just lined his pockets, lined the pockets of Fraxis, and can still merrily jump ship if he wants to. It seems
      • Take Two is clean just because they are flush with cash. They can afford to be okay to developers. Wait til things go bad. And yes, nothing lasts forever, as soon as GTA has runs its course, and they have blown all the GTA money on failed games... Firaxis and other acquired developers will be the first to feel the pain.

        And yes, Sid sold his company. He sold out everyone who works there. He should of remained independent and used his clout to show how you can remain independent.

        • Why should he have? To prove a point to the man for you? Maybe he's not interested in that. Maybe he doesn't want to deal with all of that stuff anymore.

          He didn't sell out his employees. He's not some outside CEO who wrecked a company and then snuck out with a boatload of cash. He's built firaxis through his own hard work, and if he thinks this is the best move for either the company or himself, he should rightfully feel free to do it. And if his employees don't like it, they're free to leave.

          Businesses be
          • >Why should he have?

            By remaining independent, he could of made better games, plus, made more money in the end.

            >Maybe he doesn't want to deal with all of that stuff anymore.

            If you want to make great games, you have to deal with that stuff.

            >He didn't sell out his employees.

            Yeah, he did. Instead of working for an independent company, they now work for a very large bloated publisher that will be in bad shape when GTA runs out of steam.

            >He's built firaxis through his own hard work, and if he thinks t
        • And yes, Sid sold his company. He sold out everyone who works there.

          What on earth makes you think that the people who worked there didn't have equity in the company? On the contrary, everyone might have just gotten a massive bonus and spent the day they learned the news drinking Champaign. I worked for a startup company at one time and can tell you that everyone there was dying to be bought out because a large fraction of our pay was in equity.

          More to the point, this hasn't slashed anyone's independence.
  • "and somehow negatively impact future titles that spring from Sid Meier's genius."

    Yea, making a run of the mill pirate game that didn't acually let you be a pirate was such a great idea. Wouldent a pirate dancing with a woman be the rough equivilant of an oil CEO paying his taxes?
  • Gah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @09:56PM (#13984646) Journal
    For people who've been watching the Civ IV release with interest (anyone who paid money for it probably is), this is clearly another bad thing.

    For people who don't know, Civ IV, while mechanically a great game, was rushed out of the door unfinished. I would suggest that the *majority* of people who bought it had technical difficulties with the game, from rendering, XML, ATI initialisation, crash to desktop, restarts, bluescreens and all manner of other problems (just take a look at the forums at Civfanatics to see).

    The reason for this is, presumably, that Take 2 forced Firaxis to release the game in an unfinished state.

    Take 2 aren't offering any support for the product apart from rumours that a support person once said there may be a patch released. They're not answering emails and the telephone support is quite bad as the call center staff don't have much information.

    Take 2 directly owning Firaxis now means that this kind of shoddiness is now something we should expect in future.
    • For people who don't know, Civ IV, while mechanically a great game, was rushed out of the door unfinished. I would suggest that the *majority* of people who bought it had technical difficulties with the game...

      Don't know about you, but the last three Meier-branded titles (Civ II - MicroProse, SMAC - Firaxis, Civ III - Firaxis) I owned all came out of the gate in a similar state: promising but buggy with an air of being rushed. I'm not so sure Take 2 really made things any worse in terms of game develo

    • by Maserati (8679)
      Oh, it'll be patched. Everything is. Take 2 can't afford to piss that many people off. They would like to sell another game or two someday.

      But it sounds like I may need the "wait for a couple patches, then demo a warez copy" (did pay for Civ III done that way) technique for this one.
  • Sid has left companies before, and I'm sure if things get too far out of control, he'll drop off, regroup, and start over. I wouldn't worry too much. The worst that will happen will be some crap games in the interim.
  • What if the folks at Take Two are huge fans of Sid Meier and merely want to pump enough cash into his company to help him make the game he really wants to make?

    Games are getting expensive to make these days, and a competitive, next-gen experience is even more expensive. Besides, some folks like to concentrate on creating things and leave business to the business folks.

    So while were all speculating on shit we know nothing about, I'll do a little speculation of my own: what if Take 2 will pay for the d

  • Look at it this way... Maxis sold out to EA and got The Sims greenlighted, which is a tremendous step up to everything they did while they were a publicly traded company.

    Downside of that was the 6 months release schedule of 7 Sims expansions, followed by a sequel and more expansions... in typical EA fashion.

    The nice thing about being acquired is that they are not pressured to produce and publish x number of titles per year (if you read anything about the times when Maxis was publicly traded, this was the c
  • Does this mean we can expect a turn-based sex minigame to be available if we make small adjustments to the game?

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