Realtime Worlds is in "ongoing discussions" with Microsoft over plans for Crackdown 2, the company has confirmed, amid rumours that a splinter company - Ruffian - was poaching staff to work on the project.
David Jones, founder and CEO of Realtime Worlds, said that he would be "gutted" if the company didn't work on the project, and that he doubts Microsoft would risk its relationship with the Dundee-based developer by opting for a local competitor, according to VG247.
A statement from studio head Colin Macdonald read as follows:
"I just wanted to correct the rumours today surrounding Crackdown. Although to date we haven't had an offer from Microsoft for the Crackdown sequel rumoured, we continue to have ongoing discussions with them.
"In the unfortunate event that there isn’t an agreement with RTW reached, Dave said he would 'be gutted not to be involved, but if it had to be that way, I would want to see it done justice - by an established, renowned developer that had the track record of delivering the quality gaming experience Crackdown players would demand.'
"In any event, I also very much doubt that Microsoft would harm an otherwise fruitful existing development relationship by gambling on funding Crackdown 2 with a startup on RTW's doorstep, for obvious reasons.
Macdonald also addressed the speculation regarding Ruffian, and the impact that it would have on Realtime Worlds.
"Regarding the rumoured RTW departures, we believe that maybe five or six ex-Realtime Worlds staff have been employed by Ruffian in recent weeks," the statement continued.
"Whilst we're always sad to lose any member of the RTW family, fans should rest assured that the vast majority of the Crackdown team remain at RTW, and our 200 plus talented individuals are working hard towards APB being one of the biggest launches of 2009, as well as on an unannounced project that will cause quite a stir when unveiled."
The original Crackdown was released in February 2007 to critical acclaim, and won two BAFTA awards later that year on its way to selling around 1.5 million copies.