Brutal Legend still in the 8th underworld 14 Aug, 2008, 11:12 / 17 comments

Two weeks on from Activision Blizzard's surprising exile of Brutal Legend, you might be wondering what the state of the game's future is. In short: things are just as cloudy and uncertain as they were right after the news broke.

According to Variety, MTV are definitely not publishing the game as was rumoured. MTV's official statement after being asked directly is that they aren't publishing the game, and that:
"We are big fans of Tim Schafer. We hope the game finds a good home."
Meanwhile, rumours are thundering through the internet that Electronic Arts may be taking Brutal Legend on board. This doesn't match up with an insider source's earlier comment saying that the publisher would be an untraditional one, but it's very possible the aforementioned publisher was MTV and negotiations simply fell through.

Once known for dismal working practices and unoriginal release schedules, EA has been working very hard recently to change how they're perceived by generating new, original games. The upcoming Spore and Mirror's Edge are a testament to this, as are recent outputs such as Mass Effect and Crysis.

No other publisher could market Brutal Legend as aggressively as EA, so I'd be very much open to seeing the game join the 'new' EA and its line-up of quality games. It is by far the best chance Brutal Legend has of hitting the kind of widespread exposure it most probably deserves.


  • Kroms on 15 Aug, 2008, 10:31…
    *hates the shit out of EA*

    Clean image or not, they're the kind who stomp all over "uncommercial" games and would re-do them over. Here come our Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, Blade Runner. I don't care if they're "aggresively" changing their image, they're the same money-grubbing vampires that destroyed every single franchise worth exploring. They're worse than Lucas.

    Hope this isn't true and that the game's a hit anyways.
  • Thrik on 15 Aug, 2008, 12:49…
  • Kroms on 15 Aug, 2008, 14:37…
    The sad thing is, I don't have any. I'd like to say TimeShift, but TimeShift wasn't butchered by EA. EA, however, is run by a bunch of grubby money-lovers. Anything too risky will be re-done, I assure you.
  • Thrik on 15 Aug, 2008, 15:28…
    I think you're actually just basing your opinions on what you've read on websites/magazines, and have no real evidence or anecdotal experience of your own to back up what you're saying.

    EA has been supporting good games for a long time now, even going right back to The Sims which — weird as it seems now — was considered an extremely risky game, far too out of the ordinary, and the possibility of it failing catastrophically was very much expected.

    I've already named a bunch of recent/upcoming original games being published/developed by EA, with Spore quite possibly being the most ambitious and original game concept ever made. How anyone can say they don't support originality and quality is beyond me, considering the excellent games and developers they've been supporting.

    Honestly, I thought this ridiculous EA bashing died out a few years ago. It's amazing what kind of long-lasting impact the media can make. In comparison to other publishers there's nothing wrong with EA. All publishers are eager for money and rely on a few cash cows nowadays — the ones that don't die. Fortunately for us, EA takes the money they get from their cash cows (ie: sports games) and invests it in quality games.
  • Kroms on 15 Aug, 2008, 19:51…
    Yes, I'm an immature little 14 year old. I just can't remember everything anymore. To me, EA sucks. They have a lot to make-up for, and shelling out some original/risky titles doesn't cut the cake for me. Unless they pull our Citizen Kane, they have a LOT to fix.
  • The Tingler on 15 Aug, 2008, 16:46…
    Exhibit A.

    Spore is being made by the creators of The Sims, the best-selling game of all time. The Sims may have been slightly risky when it was released, but that was given a chance because that was off the back of another success story - SimCity, which EA did not originally publish.

    I guess I just remember the rise, consumption and excretion of developers like Bullfrog and Westwood still a little too clearly.

    However, you ARE correct Thrik, they DO publish a fair number of original and risky games. American McGee's Alice is a perfect example - could you find a quirkier, more original game, and from a developer whose biggest game thus far was an expansion pack? And they do seem to be making a lot more effort to get hold of decent, original games now.
  • Capn_Nacho on 14 Aug, 2008, 17:13…
    I was actually just reading yesterday some commments by Doug Lombardi from Valve in which he said EA had been a really good release partner for Valve's recent games, and keep in mind that iD just got on board with EA as well.

    EA, I think, would be a perfectly fine conclusion to this mess.
  • The Tingler on 14 Aug, 2008, 15:43…
    There is one snag with that idea - ALL of EA's new, original games are new, original FRANCHISES. They are built fully with sequels in mind. Brutal Legend is not.

    I would love to be proved wrong on this, but I think this is the reason it was dropped by Activision in the first place.
  • Icebox on 14 Aug, 2008, 16:13…
    You forget, Tim never actually objected to making a sequel. Seeing as how the heavy metal motif suits him better than Psychonauts ever did, I would think he wouldn't object to it at this stage, considering the situation he's in. If all else fails, maybe he can come back to making Adventure Games? =)
  • Thrik on 14 Aug, 2008, 19:16…
    Yes, this is right. It's perfectly possible that Brutal Legend could have a sequel, just like Tim said he wouldn't have minded doing a second Psychonauts. Just because Schafer hasn't historically done sequels means nothing in this respect — Double Fine is a new, modern games company. If leaving games open to sequels like Psychonauts was is necessary, that's what'll happen.

    As for your franchise point, that's not true at all. While franchises are obviously good for publishers, I don't believe EA would refuse to publish it on that basis alone. They've published and developed plenty of games that aren't particularly franchise-orientated. EA also recently said they are intentionally staying away from relying on churned-out sequels and whatnot, and instead focusing on fresh/original IP. You know, like the games I mentioned in the news post.

    I also think the fact that Activision Blizzard dropped it because of that is misguided speculation on your part, because they dropped a number of big franchise games too.
  • The Tingler on 14 Aug, 2008, 19:34…
    Ghostbusters will not get a sequel - at least not a good one, I doubt they could get all the talent together again. Apart from that, all the games they dropped were new and not obvious sellers - although that's academic, Activision just didn't want to take a risk. The ones they kept were all obvious sellable franchises - Crash Bandicoot, Ice Age, Spyro, and Prototype.

    EA may say they don't want just to rely on churned out sequels, but original IP is exactly that - possibilities for fresher churned-out sequels. That's an incredibly cynical viewpoint, I know, but this isn't a brand new EA we're talking about. Name me one game EA have published in the last couple of years that hasn't been a license or the first game in a series.

    Brutal Legend may get sequels I suppose.
  • Thrik on 14 Aug, 2008, 21:15…
    You describe sequels as if they're implicitly a bad thing. Any game can potentially be the first in a series, with very few exceptions. Just because a game is developed with a route left open to a sequel (such as Psychonauts, Beyond Good and Evil, and Monkey Island) doesn't mean it's going to compromise the original game in any way.

    Again, the games I mentioned in my original post — Spore and Mirror's Edge — aren't games with any planned sequels. But could some appear if they do really well? Of course they could!

    I have to wonder how many of EA's games you've actually played. I'm guessing it hovers around the 'none at all' end of the scale, because EA don't just churn out rubbish sequels — they've been putting out very good games for a while now, and partnering with solid studios.

    As for Activision Blizzard's games, you're wrong. They weren't all new and there were some very obvious sellers amongst them, one of them being a new 50 Cent game. I'm guessing it's your general unfamiliarity with the games that leads to you saying they weren't obvious sellers. Some of them were far bigger sellers than the ones they kept.
  • The Tingler on 14 Aug, 2008, 23:19…
    Dropping that 50 Cent game was the only good thing to come out of this merger.

    You're right, EA don't just churn out rubbish sequels. They once made Clive Barker's Undying. Maybe I deserve to give them some slack for that. But then they never made that sequel I wanted. That's irony for you.

    And I bet you Mirror's Edge 2 is already in the pipeline, as is Spore: Ikea Genetic Manipulation Stuff.

    Sequels aren't a bad thing in any way - all I'm saying is that it's very unlikely EA will pick up Brutal Legend because it's not as likely to become a marketable franchise.

    I will be the first to celebrate being wrong here and if it happens I will accept that EA has changed from the license-regurgitating, talented developer-devouring, three-FIFA-games-in-one-year making, 10-billion-crappy-rip-off Sims-packs producing publisher it once was.
  • The Tingler on 15 Aug, 2008, 09:20…
    Okay, fair enough, I'm being far too cynical here. I hope with all my being that EA picks up the game and we get to play it early 2009.
  • Kolzig on 14 Aug, 2008, 14:54…
    It feels crazy to say it, but I also think EA would at this point be the perfect choice for Brutal Legend.
  • InsoFox on 14 Aug, 2008, 11:56…
    Hmm, yes. EA do seem to be a lot better, of late. Wow.
  • monkeyboobs on 14 Aug, 2008, 11:28…
    EA would be the best for the game!
    ...shocked to realise what I'm typing here 8-o