Activision approaches transition year with solid games lineup

15, 2008

Activision approaches “transition year” with solid games lineup



Publisher disdains conventional E3 appearance but puts on a press conference

Activision did not attend
E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but that didn’t stop the third-party
developer and publisher from taking advantage of the collected media to host a
press conference.

Five titles were on
display at the event, which did not include any hands-on opportunities. Three
titles had recently been shown at an event in Los Angeles in last June –

Call of Duty: World at War

Quantum of Solace

Guitar Hero: World Tour
. Additionally, the company gave looks at Spider-man:
Web of Shadows and Wolfenstein.

Nelson Diaz (actor,
comedian and video-game enthusiast) hosted the event. His energy was at a high
level, but he quickly surrendered the stage to Activision president and CEO,
Mike Griffiths, who stated that “this is a transformation year for both the
gaming industry and Activision.”

“Activision Blizzard
creates the world’s most profitable world-wide publisher,” he said. “We have
games that appeal to hard-core games and games that appeal to mass market
audiences.” He noted that with the merger with Blizzard, Activision is three
times larger than it was a year ago.

Griffiths talked about new
games on the horizon including Singularity, a new IP that pits shooter and
sci-fi fans against the concept of time, and is being developed by Raven
Software. The game will be published on all major platforms. Marvel Ultimate
Alliance 2: Fusion features 24 major superheroes with Vicarious Visions
developing it. Players can use fusion powers to create new and customized
superhero powers.

Movie tie-ins continue to
be a driving force with Raven, in association with Fox and Marvel, also working
on Marvel Origins: Wolverine. There is a Hugh Jackman film in production
featuring Wolverine as the lead character. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
is the sequel to Transformers: The Game.

Mark Lamia, head of
Treyarch, was on hand to talk about Call of Duty: World at War and announced
that Keifer Sutherland will voice one of the main characters in the game.
Trailers were the order of the evening, with some of the segments featuring
captured in-game video, but nothing was live, with the exception of the
Neversoft guys performing with the new GH: World Tour equipment. It was slipped
that the new James Bond game, Quantum of Solace, will have multiplayer, and
musical celebrities joined Diaz on stage to talk about the new Guitar Hero

Plus 44 drummer (former
drummer for Blink-182) Travis Barker, tested the drum kit in the new World Tour
title and said the drums were really realistic to playing the drums. Paramore’s
lead singer Hayley Williams, another GH fan, has a song in the game and talked
about how weird and cool it was to see her likeness featured in the Neversoft

Chris Sholz, from Shaba
Games, the development studio working on Spider-man: Web of Shadows, told the
assembled media that they were working with a new IP in which New York is
overwhelmed with alien symbiotes.

According to the
Activision press release: Set in an apocalyptic New York City, Spider-Man: Web
of Shadows gives players an unprecedented level of gameplay choices, including,
for the first time, control over the game’s direction and outcome.  The all new
combat system allows for truly three dimensional battles that start in the
streets, continue up sides of buildings and finish on rooftops.  Gamers can
instantly switch between the agile red suit and formidable black suit, choose to
ally with Marvel’s honored heroes or ferocious villains, pick which of
Spider-Man’s abilities to upgrade, and decide which missions to undertake in
order to protect Manhattan from certain destruction.

“We feel we’ve really
captured for the player what they expect how Spider-man would fight.” Scholz

“Another essential tenet
we have is allowing the player to control how they want to fight,”
he said. “We have a robust upgrade system that allows the player to become the
hero they want to be.”

“There are decisions that
have to be made in the game that have consequences,” he also noted.

Wolfenstein makes its

Todd Hollenshead, of id
Software, gave the barest of trailer snippets for Wolfenstein, which is making
its return. In the new title, Nazis working to open up a portal to a thing
called the Shroud. BJ has to learn about and understand the Shroud. Id is
working with Raven on the project and the action will center on a mysterious
cult trying to open up a portal to The Shroud. The game will have a multiplayer
component that is team based and objective driven.

While a lot of what
Activision showed was not necessarily new, it was still an entertaining night
with solid games. And the company showed that it did not really need E3 as a
venue to have a successful event.

For All E3
2008 News and Announcements