Beenox Studios is prepping to release their upcoming movie-based video game, The Amazing Spider-Man. The studio isn't just prepping for release but the studio head, Dee Brown, is running defense for Activision, who he believes is receiving unfair criticism.
In an interview with GameIndustry.biz International, Dee Brown mentioned that...
"I would certainly say from an internal perspective that the reputation Activision has acquired is probably unfair. Beenox was acquired in 2005, so it has been six years now that we've been with Activision. We had to work with Activision prior to our acquisition. There was a reason why I as the studio founder agreed to be acquired. It was because of their independent studio culture. I believed in that model, and I still believe in that model today."
Very interesting indeed. The "unfair" backlash Brown is talking about surrounds the recent allegations that came out in a deposition for the upcoming trial between Vince Zampella and Jason West. I don't want to go over all of it, but what I will say is that you can get an idea of how "evil" Activision and Bobby Kotick happen to be just by reading over the ridiculous scheme officially known as "Project Icebreaker".
Brown, who is still employed under the mammoth publisher, wanted to clear it up and let everyone know that Activision is a good company, and they know how to treat their IPs and LPs well, saying...
"Activision has always treated us as partners, rather than something to be controlled. They've been, from a creative standpoint, really, really great. When I look at Shattered Dimensions, what were asked for at the time was 'Please make a Spider-Man game.' That was the creative direction that Activision gave us."
Eh, I think Batman and Rocksteady would like to have a word with Brown.
Anyways, a lot of people see this attempt to soothsay the community as nothing more than a corporate pet brown-nosing their employer. Dr. Chee Ming Wong from Opus Artz made the astute observation that a non-Activision employee or former employee coming to the defense of the company would have been much more amicable for the situation and seen in a more positive light. Someone from Budcat Studios or Bizarre Creations chiming in on how great Activision is would be seen from an objective stance, since they have worked with them but are no longer under their employment.
The other factor is that a lot of people are siding with Zampella and West just because of how Activision operates and handles their own properties as well as licensed properties, especially with annual iterations and bi-monthly expansion packs that carry a fairly hefty price tag.
In fact, Activision has been receiving even less love thanks to exposed documents on Gamasutra detailing the contract between Activision and Bungie, where Activision basically gets the upper-hand in the deal and Bungie is contractually obligated to churn out a game every other year and each game is required to have up to four Call of Duty-style expansion packs.
After reading about the "Project Icebreaker" I have a very different outlook on Activision than I did before. Dee Brown's comments seem genuine but given the way both Activision and EA have handled employees and franchises in the past, they certainly don't seem like the kind of places I would want to work if I were in the creative field.
You can check out the rest of the interview with Brown over at GameIndustry.biz.