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Judge delays ruling on Brutal Legend release

Says verdict will be a "close call" but is leaning in Double Fine's favour

A ruling in the US legal battle between Activision and Double Fine has been suspended until August 6; however, the judge ruling the hearing has said his tentative decision was to deny Activision's motion to delay the October release of Brutal Legend.

Activision sued the developer in June, claiming that it owns the game's rights and has invested nearly USD 15 million in the project. Brutal Legend was due to be published by Vivendi Games before the company was merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard last year.

Double Fine subsequently countersued, insisting the new publishing entity had been uninterested in the title, and cancelled it - although Activision's suit contends that if new publisher Electronic Arts was to publish the heavy metal game, it would be seriously harmed by the competition.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Craig Karlan has pledged to deliver his verdict prior to the date Double Fine is scheduled to deliver the game to EA on August 8, according to an Associated Press report. But he has warned Activision attorneys he is leaning against ordering a delay to the release of the game, one of reasons being he wasn't sure the publisher could win.

"I can't say there's a likelihood of success here," he said, although he admitted neither side in the case had the upper hand, adding that it was going to be a close call.