Electronic Arts is set to co-publish highly anticipated PC title Hellgate: London, with a new deal to that effect being announced today between the giant firm and the game's existing publisher, Namco Bandai.
Under the terms of the agreement, EA will take charge of the marketing, sales and distribution of the game in North America and Europe - while Namco Bandai will continue to handle the development of the franchise, working with developer Flagship Studios on the title and the various other partnerships which are springing up to create toys, comics, novels and so on based on the property.
The deal is an acknowledgement of EA's muscle in retail and marketing, with Namco Bandai's senior vice president of development Makoto Iwai commenting that "our co-publisher EA brings expert knowledge and resources to our partnership that will ensure this AAA title will reach the largest market possible."
Although EA will be taking over key aspects of the publishing of Hellgate: London, Namco Bandai remains firmly at the helm of the franchise - with the new partnership having no direct effect on Flagship's deal with Namco Bandai to publish future Hellgate: London products. Both firms have repeatedly emphasised that they see Hellgate as the beginning of an ongoing franchise, rather thana standalone game.
The game is the first title from Flagship Studios, a developer which was founded by a number of former senior staff from Blizzard Entertainment. Flagship CEO Bill Roper - who at Blizzard was credited with helping to create some of the firm's biggest franchises - welcomed today's announcement, describing the collaboration between Namco Bandai and EA as the "best possible outcome".
"By working with both companies in their undisputable areas of strength and expertise, we can bring the game to as many people as possible while maintaining our development focus and schedule at Flagship Studios," he concluded.
No release date has yet been announced for the game.