Close
Are you sure? Are you sure you want to report this comment? I understand, report it. Cancel

Activision studios deny "heavy-handed" corporate atmosphere

Mon 14 Mar 2011 8:44am GMT / 4:44am EDT / 1:44am PDT
Publishing

Raven, Vicarious Visions and High Moon support parent company's approach to developers

Activision Publishing

Activision, Inc. is a leading international publisher of interactive entertainment software products....

activision.com

High Moon Studios

Founded in 2002, High Moon Studios is an award-winning studio making action games for parent company...

highmoonstudios.com

Raven Software

Here at Raven, we’ve built our company on expectations. An expectation to always design the games that...

ravensoft.com

Vicarious Visions

Vicarious Visions is a creator of video and computer games with its home office in Albany, New York....

vvisions.com

Representatives from three of Activision's development studios have denied that their parent publisher is "heavy-handed" in its dealings with them, and supported its approach to the way the business is structured.

In a session at PAX East, entitled "Owned but Independent", host Dan Amrich - formerly a journalist but currently social media manager at Activision - quizzed senior figures from Raven Software, Vicarious Visions and High Moon Studios about the atmosphere, and their relationships with the publisher.

Jennifer O'Neal, executive producer at Vicarious Visions, noted that life as part of Activision was less risky "of a position than when we were independent," as reported by Gamasutra, adding that her company was free to spend budget as it saw fit - including some areas that an indie would find difficult to justify, such as motion capture.

Meanwhile Eric Biessman, senior project lead at Raven, noted that the studio's current owner was less controlling than previous publishing clients had been, recalling: "If we didn't turn in a milestone every month that wasn't exactly what was listed in our contract they wouldn't pay us."

And Peter Della Penna, head of High Moon, talked up the studio culture as "key" to the relationship, adding that the studio wasn't forced to work on projects it didn't feel were suitable - and that compared with external license-holders, Activision's approach was "structured, but not heavy-handed".

Amrich had prefaced the session by explaining his desire to overturn the prevailing notion that Activision's studios were stifled by corporate management - an impression he admitted to having before joining the firm.

Vicarious Visions has recently been responsible for the Wii version of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, while Raven Software released FPS title Singularity last year. High Moon's most recent title was Transformers: War for Cybertron.

9 Comments

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
So a guy from Activision questioned heads of Activision owned studio's in a public forum and they all said good things....

sounds legit!

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Gordon Rennie
writer

5 22 4.4
In other news today, people on the streets of Tripoli said - when interviewed by members of the security forces - that they were extremely happy with the Gaddafi government's record in office, and were delighted to give it their full and continued support.

More on this surprise story, as it comes in...

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Ian Monaghan
senior producer

1 0 0.0
Gordon, that made me laugh out loud.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Tommy Thompson
Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD)

110 0 0.0
Perhaps they should also sit down with the former heads of Shaba, Red Octane, Bizarre & Infinity Ward and ask them to compare notes?

Posted:3 years ago

#4




Very sad.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Tommy you missed a few.

Also Bizzare did not blame Activision for their downfall, they could have slated them after the news the studio was closing but they did not which speaks volumes.

Some of the publisher bashing that goes on here is shocking some days.
Activision employes a huge pool of tallent and while they have cut a large number of jobs in the last 14 months its not the first publisher to do so.

Its been said before that studios are given a level of freedom even while owned by Activision so why are you all doubting this is true?
Is it a little PR, sure but given the nature of past statements and other talk from between the lines there is truth to whats being said.
There is also truth to how ruthless Activision can be, you only have to look at the events of the last 14 months with the studios being closed and the lawsuits but still there is alot we dont know from either side in those cases.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Ken Rosman

3 0 0.0
Activision is a public business, that means they have bosses too. Shareholders and Wall Street, they demand growth and performance. The industry is in bad shape, yes studios were closed that isn't all activisions fault. I work at one of the owned studios, we do run mostly independent. Blame used games and consumers desire for free/low cost content

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Gregory Hommel
writer

91 53 0.6
Gordon you made me go pee-pee a little because that's just what I was thinking. Besides, these studios' games weren't exactly blockbusters. Despite Activision's reputation as being "heavy handed", they would find nothing but success if they were dedicated to quality, polish and advancing the technology of games. When the business model is all about dollars with no room for passion and pushing the current tech, you can't be as big as Activision thinks it is. They are watching the bottom line as a sign of success or failure, but I can tell you that their time is almost up.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Paul Cardy
Programmer

16 0 0.0
Ken: I think without the used games market the current price of boxed games would quickly become unsustainable.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Cardy on 15th March 2011 8:47am

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now