Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, more dropped by Activision

Earlier today, Activision Publishing announced a streamlining of its Vivendi Games operations, saying it would be bringing into the fold five of that company's franchises: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Ice Age, Prototype, and one unannounced game.

An Activision representative later confirmed for GameSpot that those would be the only Vivendi Games franchises coming out of the publisher. That leaves a number of high-profile projects in limbo, including Double Fine Productions' Brutal Legend, as well as Wet, Ghostbusters, Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World at Conflict: Soviet Assault, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Zombie Wranglers, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, as well as several Xbox Live Arcade titles.

"The only franchises that Activision Publishing will release are based on Crash Bandicoot, Ice Age and Spyro, as well as Prototype and one other game that has not yet been announced," the representative said. "We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing."

Activision Blizzard has other publishing arms like Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Value that were not covered by the press release and could be among the options being reviewed. As of press time, representatives from those companies did not return requests for comment.

A scheduled Comic Con International panel on the Ghostbusters game was abruptly cancelled last week, with no explanation given to attendees. However, the game was on the show floor in playable form.

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Why does everyone talk about the programmers?

The artists have JUST as hard a task and are also going to end up screwed. I worked on a Vivendi title a few years ago for 8 months til one day we got told to move onto a new game ... no explaination except that it was cancelled.

:( I HATE it ...

Wait wait wait wait. I think I understand (but I could be totally wrong): Maybe they're only saying that these 5 are the only games that will be directly published under the activision brand and that all those other games would be published by another one of its "publishing arms".

I mean it has to be that, they wouldn't cancel half done games that people were hyping about. Jack Black would not be pleased. Anyway, the developers of Ghostbuster, and some of those other "canceled" games said they were fine, so that either means they'd be published by another division of Activision or they'd be sold off.

Ya know, I don't quite understand, and am too lazy to further investigate.... but I thought that the gaming industry was the most profitable in the entertainment industry. ...even surpassing the lousy movie industry. Why then, does it seem like popular games are getting cancelled more and more lately.

Costs for big titles are spiralling out of control. We'll be seeing plenty of games that cost tens of millions to make, but end up being steaming piles of you-know-what.

Game programmers are abused in my opinion. I'm a consultant for applications and systems development, and I make a lot more than most game programmers, who have a much harder job. In my experience, game programming is the most difficult area of coding, and you really need to be extremely talented to do it well. I wish these guys the best, but I know that people with the most passion for their work are typically the ones that get shafted the most. The more you love your job, the less you're willing to do it for.

update :
[UPDATE]: A Sierra Games representative told GameSpot he couldn't speak about all the titles on the list in need of a publisher, but stressed that Ghostbusters is "absolutely not canceled."