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Warner Bros re-opens Avalanche Software to develop new Cars game

Partners with Disney on new project

Avalanche Software has re-opened after Warner Bros acquired the studio and its technology.

The Utah-based studio was closed down by previous parent Disney in May last year. It followed the decision to cancel the toys-to-life franchise Disney Infinity, which Avalanche led development on. Warner Bros has managed to re-hire many of the team, including former head John Blackburn, along with the rights to the Octane engine, which was previous created by Avalanche Software.

The reason for the move follows a licensing agreement between Disney and Warner Bros over the upcoming Pixar film Cars 3. The game will launch in 2018, and follows the commercial popularity of 2011's Cars 2: The Video Game. That title was also created by Avalanche Software.

Despite being fierce competitors in the movie world, Warner Bros and Disney have partnered several times in the video games space. This includes on last year's LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens and LEGO Marvel Avengers. Warner Bros is also publishing the boxed version of TellTale's Guardians of the Galaxy game.

Disney and Warner Bros had polar opposite experiences following their efforts in the video games space. Disney's last big video games project, the toys-to-life series Infinity, started strongly but faded away after its third release. Infinity followed a series of high profile studio and IP acquisitions, which also struggled to generate significant returns for the movie giant - games included the likes of Turok, Epic Mickey and Split/Second.

Warner Bros, meanwhile, has found itself amongst the publishing elite following the success of big licences including the LEGO series, Mortal Combat, Lord of the Rings and Batman. "It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome Avalanche Software into our development stable, and we look forward to working with our new team, Pixar Animation Studios, and DCPI [Disney Consumer Products] to create Cars 3 based on the upcoming film and hugely popular franchise," said David Haddad, President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "The Avalanche talent and technology are a great addition to our group of outstanding developers, and we are excited for this Cars 3 game as well as all of the future games the team will create under John's leadership."

Kyle Laughlin, Senior Vice President of Games at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, added: "Disney Pixar's Cars is one of the world's most beloved and recognized franchises, and we're thrilled to be taking the story further and faster than ever before through a new console experience based on the upcoming, action-packed Cars 3," said . "We are excited to once again be working with the Avalanche team, who have a deep understanding of the Disney Pixar DNA, and a history of translating our stories into great gaming experiences."

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Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
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