Activision has a reputation amongst gamers for being an unscrupulous, creativity-stifling, money hungry ultra-corporation that cares nothing for the games they make or the gamers they serve.
Beenox, the developer of Activision’s Spider-Man games believes this criticism to be unfounded – saying the chaps at Activision are really nice guys. No, really!
“I would certainly say from an internal perspective that the reputation Activision has acquired is probably unfair,” Beenox head Dee Brown told GI.biz “Beenox was acquired in 2005, so it has been six years now that we’ve been with Activision. We had to work with Activision prior to our acquisition. There was a reason why I as the studio founder agreed to be acquired. It was because of their independent studio culture. I believed in that model, and I still believe in that model today.”
“Activision has always treated us as partners,” he continued, “rather than something to be controlled. They’ve been, from a creative standpoint, really, really great. When I look at Shattered Dimensions, what were asked for at the time was ‘Please make a Spider-Man game.’ That was the creative direction that Activision gave us.”
“This time around [for The Amazing Spider-Man], it was pretty much the same thing. They said ‘Hey, we have a movie coming; we would like to make a game out of it so go ahead and make it.’ That is pretty much the creative involvement that Activision had. As a game developer, it is just really great to have that level of freedom, and it is really great to feel empowered and make the game we really want to make.”
As an Activision employee, you’d expect Brown to say this sort of stuff – but he could be right. Everything we’ve seen of the Amazing Spider-Man to date seems to paint it as not being your usual cash-in licenced film. Evidence from the drawn-out Infinity Ward/Activision Saga paints a different picture, however…
Still, I don’t think that Activision is the money grubbing corporation it’s painted to be. For one, I like Bobby Kotick, and if they really were that bent on extorting money from consumers then they’d be doing something to monetise the hell out of their most popular franchise, Call of Duty. Oh, wait…