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Activision Accused Of Trying To Kill Off Indie Studio 29

Gamespot is reporting on a lawsuit pending between Call of Duty: Finest Hour developer Spark and Activision. Spark claims that Activision broke the contract they had signed with the publisher. From the article: "According to Spark, the agreement it signed with Activision called for it to make three games, the first of which was Call of Duty: Finest Hour. However, in its complaint, Spark alleges that over the next two years, 'Activision induced Spark into reducing and delaying certain of its rights under the contract by falsely promising that it would continue to partner with Spark to develop the second and third titles in the Finest Hour line, when in fact Activision had already decided to bring the development of the sequel in-house at Activision so it could realize an even higher level of profit on the sequels than it had on the original game.'"
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Activision Accused Of Trying To Kill Off Indie Studio

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  • by RM6f9 ( 825298 ) <rwmurker@yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @02:52PM (#13448311) Homepage Journal
    ...to support independent (or at least smaller) game makers.
  • Pretty damning... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by malchus6 ( 870609 )
    If this proves to be true, anywhere near the level of the complaint, i think it will really tarnish Activision's name in the industry when it comes to working with indie development houses (which has been pretty good so far.

    Of course we only have one side as we get the usual corporate response of "we dont comment on pending litigation", but this looks pretty calculating on Activision's side. Hire the developer, feed them BS after they develop a top selling game, make they sign reduced agreements, slowly b
    • by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @03:16PM (#13448527) Homepage
      And that's the problem with mainstream game development right now. I frequently hear of independant studios being required to sign away all rights to itellectual content as the accepted norm just to get work. If $studio['foo'] won't sell out then $studio['bar'] certainly will because mainstream game publishers want to minimize production/development costs in any way they can to maximize profit. "If you don't want to work for us, we can just make a sequel to another game until you change your mind" is the basic corporate attitude towards hiring video game developers right now, and in a lot of games, it's starting to show.
      </gripe></bitch></moan>

      That's just my opinion.
    • I don't think it'll have quite as much impact as you think.

      It doesn't really matter if their name is tarnished and developers feel that they're a bunch of bastards. It's not like the beginning of the graphically-oriented games, where there were only a few people that could code something that people would play.

      decent game programmers and artists are dime a dozen now. it's no longer an arcane art understood by few. hell, they have college courses for it now. instead of publishers scrambling to pick up de

  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2005 @03:00PM (#13448385) Homepage Journal
    I have a feeling that Spark's main goal in doing multiple expansion packs would be to get the consumers to buy into multiple games with similar content, with the next two expansion packs costing a lot less than the first... To which I would have to say... Ugh. Call of Duty fanboys must be even more nuts than Sonic or Transformers groupies.
  • I'm neither a grammar Nazi, nor is my grammar particularly good, but I wonder if the poor wording in both the /. headline and the article text is indicative of the direction that that Internet news is headed:

    Activision Accused Of

    Trying To Killing Off Indie Studio

    The headline error is obvious.

    Activision induced Spark into reducing and

    delaying certain of its rights under the contract

    I don't see any glaring errors there, but it just seems wordy. Why not "...Activision induced Spark into reducing an

  • I was reading an article way back (as in four-years-way-back) about the failure of the sega dreamcast. The author mentioned that one contributing factor was that Sega was notorious for stealing ideas from other game developers. They would meet with a game developer, which would pitch a game to them. There would be artwork, digital renderings of characters, and sometimes video. Sega would get interested, feign loyalty towards the game developer, and when they had enough info, they would cut ties with the
  • Slashdot accused of trying to killing the english language.
  • Yay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oman_ ( 147713 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @04:55AM (#13452604) Homepage
    Things like this really make me wonder why anyone but the big studios WANT to develop big budget titles anymore. It's a huge risk and if your game happens to be a hit you're still going to get f'd in the arse by your publisher and not see the majority of the profits. It just sounds like a horrible business idea to do this.

    It's painfully obvious that people want to play simpler, well done games... why don't the studios tell the big publishers to screw off and go make something that's not going to require huge amounts of funding?

    Unfortunately (to answer my own question here) I have a feeling that lack-of-creativity isn't just isolated to the big publishing houses... this is what I'd imagine if a modern game studio tried this.

    Boss: "Ok guys, we need to come up with a small game that's going to be fun to play and different!"

    Programmer 1: "I know.. how about an FPS with... grenade launchers!"

    Designer : "Pah... that's TOTALLY been done before!... we need something ORIGINAL like.. an fps with high tech microwave weapons."

    Programmer 2: "I had this weird idea once. How about a game where you roll stuff up into a little ball... and the ball gets bigger and bigger until you're rolling up stuff like buildings!"

    Boss, Designer, Programmer1: "GHEY!!! What's WRONG with you?!? Go back to kindergarten n00b"

    • I would be overjoyed to see more titles like Katamari.. fun to play with simple controls, doesn't require large chunks of time to play (its easy to pick up and put down), no extreme failure, and no attempts to be more than what it is. It's also sneakily educational.
  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @06:12AM (#13452806)
    Activision induced Spark into reducing and delaying certain of its rights under the contract by falsely promising...
    Assuming this is true:
    Shows what you get from relying on promises from managers. Never give something away without getting the promises in writing.

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