So, we're down to just Call of Duty now? Activision has decided to put an end to its Guitar Hero line of music games, canceling the next entry in the franchise and dismantling the entire Guitar Hero business unit itself. As if that's not enough spilled blood for the day, it's also been announced that the upcoming True Crime is no longer upcoming, and has instead been put out to pasture despite some intriguing pre-release buzz. Like I was saying, I think that Activision is down to just Call of Duty titles now as the big products currently in development for game consoles. Well, maybe a Spider-Man game and James Bond title, too. Joystiq has the gory details summarized from a Eurogamer report:
"Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011," Activision said in its financial statement. The statement continues, confirming the cancellation of True Crime: Honk Kong. and explaining what happened ... sorta. "The company also will stop development on True Crime: Hong Kong. These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."
Also on the chopping block today are Vicarious Visions (who worked on some Guitar Hero titles) and Freestyle Games (DJ Hero). Activision apparently plans on turning more resources into building more Call of Duty content, according to an early Kotaku report. I know that video games are business first and foremost these days (particularly to companies such as Activision), but it really stings when these things happen. Rather than rehabilitate a struggling franchise that once offered proven hits, it's easier to just dismiss everyone involved and get back to focusing on Call of Duty. Instead of nurturing a reborn intellectual property and take a creative risk that could pay major dividends if handled correctly, it's easier to just dismiss everyone involved and get back to focusing on Call of Duty. Considering Activision's track record these days, it makes me wonder how long it will take for the company to irreparably harm that franchise, too, and then where will it be? Hey, at least there's always World of Warcraft from the Blizzard side of the company.