Phil Spencer wants to bring back dormant Activision IP, plans to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation

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Phil Spencer recently sat down with The Washington Post for an interview following Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard a few days ago. He discussed his plans for the studios acquired under the Activision Blizzard banner, and plans to revive dormant IPs. “I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” Spencer said. “ ‘King’s Quest,’ ‘Guitar Hero,’ … I should know this but I think they got ‘HeXen.’ ” (Activision Blizzard does own Hexen.) Some other notable IP now owned by Microsoft include Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and Geometry Wars.

"We're hoping that we'll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood, and that the teams really want to get," Spencer said on the topic of developer Toys for Bob, who made the well-received Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time before being reassigned to work as a support studio on Call of Duty: Warzone last April. "I'm looking forward to these conversations. I really think it's about adding resources and increasing capability."

Meanwhile, Spencer has also addressed the subject of whether or not Activision Blizzard titles would continue to appear on PlayStation. "Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony," began a recent Tweet from him. "I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship."

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FAST6191

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I remember playing Heretic back in 1994, it was a nice game. Well, back then it was. Never played Hexen though. I didn't know those games still had a following.
Most of the Doom engine a likes (which I will also include Dark Forces and things in the Build world, build tending to be most noted for Duke 3d and Redneck Rampage) have something of a following these days, and depending upon the nature of their mod tools have had it for a long time. If they got any kind of source release or recreation ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/heretic/ ) then even more so. https://www.gamebrew.org/wiki/DsHeretic https://www.gamebrew.org/wiki/DualHexen_Mod https://www.gamebrew.org/wiki/Category:Homebrew_shooter_games_on_DS if we want a more GBAtemp themed twist. Also when I said most I did mean it -- https://forum.gbadev.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=18209 for a somewhat recent GBA port of Chex.

That leads me to noting that Blood: Fresh Supply is a thing made a couple of years back. Those looking for something that might slot into a session with Hexen and Heretic could do a lot worse. Ion Fury also gets to be mentioned but that is more sci fi then cultists and paranormal.
 

CoolMe

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Never played Prototype, but I always intended to - game looks dope, as does the sequel. I’m actually pretty sure I own the dang thing. Gotta love backlogs.
The gameplay might seem very familiar if you've played "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" on Xbox/PS2/GC. It makes sense since it was developed by the same studio, Radical Entertainment. Both the game and its sequel are mindless fun, if you into these kind of games anyways. :D
 

Foxi4

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The gameplay might seem very familiar if you've played "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" on Xbox/PS2/GC. It makes sense since it was developed by the same studio, Radical Entertainment. Both the game and its sequel are mindless fun, if you into these kind of games anyways. :D
Sounds like inFamous with less story, I can get into that. :D
 
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omgcat

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that could even be true but in 20+ years they havent hired anyone that could do anything with rare ips? heck battletoads was released in 2020 and that game was a mess, if your telling me that microsoft cant afford to hire new good developers in over 20 years something is off.

Even if the original devs left they had 20 years to rebuild the studio...

i don't think it would be worth MS time to actually rebuild RARE as a studio. there was a magic to the small team that started in England in the 80's. decades of working together from the ZX spectrum to the xbox og. sure you can just hire more devs but the spirit of the team just wouldn't be there (as we saw with battletoads). in the same way that after bungie shattered into 343 studios/bungie (on it's own) neither teams did good work because they lost the team cohesion. both destiny and halo 4 sucked because both teams lost most of their co-workers, their workplace spirit, and probably their motivation.
 

KenniesNewName

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I think the COD series much like any sports game gets frowned upon over the amount of releases per year it gets, people are frustrated that it's basically the same stuff with graphics a bit tweaked they want to reamp and get another $60. Personally I haven't bought a new cod in a minute but it still holds its weight within the gaming community and people still go out of their way to buy it.

I'd rather play a ton of other titles but if you got a friend living over seas or you just wanna throw on a basic shooter and play online with friends it'll always be a decent title to pick up and play pvp style just because everyone knows it already. So yeah if it went away from PlayStation sales would suffer and some would be pissed.

But still these series still hold a weight out there and would be a shame to loose them as exclusive only titles. Not every gamer goes out there and explores tons of libraries like we all do and know better not to just make our own focus cod.
 

cashboxz01

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I honestly don't see how MS would benefit from keeping COD being released on other systems anyway. Its not like they make money off selling consoles. Software is where the money is at for them anyway. Wouldn't make any sense to pay as much as they did, and then not try to sell as much software as they could, regardless of platform.

What will probably happen, though, in the future is that most newer titles will be better optimized for Xbox just like the modern warfare 2 days. Then again, that game was US military propaganda to recruit kids into joining the military for Iraq war.
 

FAST6191

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I honestly don't see how MS would benefit from keeping COD being released on other systems anyway. Its not like they make money off selling consoles. Software is where the money is at for them anyway. Wouldn't make any sense to pay as much as they did, and then not try to sell as much software as they could, regardless of platform.
While I dislike exclusives as a concept then they could still make financial sense still.

If COD, or best version of COD (nobody is playing the Wii version in preference to the PS360 version. Don't know what would go for PS5 with its non cross play p2p servers getting drip fed DLC months after the current xbox) would be a decider then they would presumably get a greater cut from peripherals, xbox live subscriptions, whatever they charge for hosting/providing the updates (some devs on the 360 noted it as $10K per update), whatever they charge for money handling (various prices noted and probably less than the indies that talk about it but 30% is not unheard of, see also Steam vs Epic and Epic vs Apple for similar pricing fun), a larger install base of their consoles for negotiating with other companies (if EA are being so magnanimous as to provide their latest wonder title I am sure they are getting better than 30%, however for the xbone while it was floundering I assume it was a better deal for EA than they would have got while the 360 was the leading light in that generation and the PS3 an also ran).
Whether that would be enough to offset the "Sony until the day I die" set or those that might instead opt to skip it like they might have skipped Halo (and the online console multiplayer shooting landscape of the time was between COD, Battlefield and Halo, with maybe the odd look in from something with Tom Clancy in the name, especially if it was an off year for any of those) I am sure MS have detailed calculations for, can't get to dismissing it entirely though.
 

Borgman2018

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I'm sure Sony will try to find an answer to this blow,
We'll see...
who knows ? Sega merger ,Capcom or even Konami,these 3 are the only ones who have something of value ...
How about making good, desirable games to compete with the ones lost?
Let's leave the acquisitions to those who can't.
 

Borgman2018

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It literally means that they are going to do nothing more than the existing contracts REQUIRE them to do. The statement makes it abundantly clear that they have no intention whatsoever of doing anything on Playstation that they are not already contractually obligated to do.

"I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard"

This part means that, but then he added:

"and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation."

Sure, we can debate about what "desire" actually entails, but I won't say that he literally said that they'll only honor the existing contracts.
 

mrjelly

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I would be very surprised if this means anything more than a lot of activision back catalogue put on to game pass. Not sure MS want to do anything else.
Perhaps a new COD and WOW onto the X1 and some remasters.
 
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Borgman2018

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I could see this go two ways, either they delay COD releases by a year or 2 between releases to offer more polish and to help generate more hype from fans who are not being assaulted by half baked yearly releases OR they stick to yearly releases but they share resources with their other studio acquisitions allowing these games to be released with far more polish and stability than Activision's current resources can on its own.

MS has plenty of cards to play here, it just depends what they see is a viable release pattern.
It really baffles me to see the amount of goodwill many commenters are giving to Microsoft.

It's Microsoft we're talking about: as mrjelly wrote above, it will be rich if they put old Activision games on the gamepass and do some remasters. These flights of imagination many of you are making are completely out of character when it comes to Microsoft's actual track record.
 
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