Friday, July 9, 2010

Opinion: Has Activision had a change of heart?

In the past, mega-publisher, Activision, has been accused of driving teams too hard and stifling creativity, but that seems to be changing.

According to a report at, Activision is requiring its development teams to concentrate on just one new title at a time.

Activision worldwide studios executive vice president, Dave Stohl, is quoted as saying "people want the freedom to put all their resources against the big opportunity, and that's what we're trying to do."

Stohl goes on to admit that certain genres, such as the music (which Activision published Guitar Hero to) have become oversaturated, suggesting the publisher is looking at more sustainable ways to service that market going forwards.

Is all this a reaction to the famed falling out between Activision and its premium developer, Infinity Ward? Perhaps. It has always been interesting to watch how Activision treats its franchises – essentially production-milking them while they’re viable in the market. It’s a stark difference to, say, a Square Enix. Although the latter publisher is also famous for making liberal use of its IP, it also makes a conscious effort to constantly reinvent its properties.

Take Final Fantasy, for instance. It’s a title that is arguably overused, but each new game bearing the title is very different to the last, and the spin-offs, such as the Crystal Chronicle or Chocobo games, are even moreso. Relative to Guitar Hero, the Final Fantasy series seems fresh, and in terms of brand loyalty, I believe Square Enix, thus far, has done a far better job than Activision.

Hopefully this new direction can freshen up some of Activision’s properties.

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