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Activision confirms axe for Guitar Hero, True Crime

Sources indicate FreeStyleGames and other studios to be hit with redundancies as publisher initiates major entrenchment

Update

Activision Blizzard has confirmed that it has axed the Guitar Hero and True Crime franchises in a refocusing of its business.

In an earnings release the publisher released few details about the ramifications those change might have, but revealed that development on the planned releases of both games had discontinued.

"...due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011," read a statement. "The company also will stop development on True Crime: Hong Kong. These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."

Meanwhile the company detailed its Q4 and calendar 2010 fiscal performance, announced a new studio for Call of Duty plus plans to take the shooter franchise to China, and elaborated in more detail on the numbers and costs of the likely job losses.

Original Story

Activision is expected to announce a major entrenchment in its fourth quarter earnings call today, scaling back or shelving the long running Guitar Hero franchise and axing a number of jobs at UK developer FreeStyleGames.

The publisher will focus the majority of development and marketing on its two core businesses - the Call of Duty franchise and Blizzard's StarCraft and World of Warcraft brands, sources have told GamesIndustry.biz.

True Crime: Hong Kong, in development at United Front Games since at least 2009, is also expected to be axed.

Earlier this year Activision confirmed it was closing Blur studio Bizarre Creations. In the music market the Guitar Hero series has suffered diminishing returns while the Tony Hawk sports brand has all but collapsed at retail.

Late last year Activision's Eric Hirshberg admitted that the company needed to focus on its core strengths, and calling time on projects and staff was an uncomfortable necessity.

"You have to make some tough decisions sometimes," he said.

"Sometimes, really talented people get caught up in those, unfortunately. We have to manage our slate; we have to decide which genres and categories we want to try to compete in."

Further details on cost-cutting are expected to be announced during the companies fourth quarter earnings call in the next few hours.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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