Settled: Activision’s War on Brütal Legend

By  |  Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Cooler heads prevailed today, as mega game publisher Activision and settled a lawsuit that could’ve halted one of this year’s most promising games, the AP reports.

In June, Activision sued game developer Double Fine to stop the release of Brütal Legend, a metal-inspired action-adventure game starring the voice of Jack Black and directed by Tim Schafer, designer of The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. Activision filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles on June 4, just as Brütal Legend was receiving accolades down the road at E3.

At issue was the $15 million Activision claims it invested in the game before merging with World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment and subsequently dropping the project. After the merger, Electronic Arts took over as publisher, but Activision said that it still held rights to the game and that Double Fine didn’t deliver it on time.

Before the lawsuit, EA expressed doubt that there’d be a court battle. “That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy,” the company told Variety in a statement.

Activision did sue, but when it came time for the publisher to argue today why the game shouldn’t be released, Activision instead told the court that the lawsuit was settled. Attorneys didn’t return the AP’s calls, so I don’t think we’ll ever learn the settlement details.

This is great news. I’m no metal fan, but I still appreciated Brütal Legend’s wry humor during the lengthy playable demo at E3. Combine that with its 3D/cartoon art style, puzzle-solving, driving and button-mashing, and Brütal Legend at least looks like a break from the usual generic shooters and beat-em-ups. I’m looking forward to playing it in October.

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