It’s that time of the year where we get the big news from all of the major publishers. That’s correct, the writer’s worst enemy and the businessman’s best friend: The end of the fiscal year.
Activision, while they dropped sad news today of discontinuation of Guitar Hero for 2011 and layoffs at DJ Hero developer Freestyle Games, along with the outright cancellation of the upcoming True Crime: Hong Kong, did announce a new free-to-play game in the Call of Duty franchise. No news on who the developer is, but we do know that this microtransaction-based game is being designed for the Chinese market.
This falls in line with Activision’s plans on a push into the Chinese market with a later release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
[Update] Activision also plans to reveal a major new game/toy/online franchise at the upcoming Toy Fair in New York in just a couple of days.
[Update 2] Activision will face a 7% headcount reduction globally in 2011, which equates to roughly 500 staff. The Blizzard arm of the company will see growth of staff, to work on Starcraft 2‘s second chapter and the “Untitled New Blizzard MMO”. Activision also announced the formation of Beachhead Studios, which will focus on digital content for the Call of Duty franchise.
[Update 3] Dan Amrich of Activision has stated on his company blog that no decision has been made to cancel the Guitar Hero franchise, just that it will not be created for 2011 release and not by a separate business Guitar Hero group. Consider it a “…much-needed break,” he also states. We can’t agree more.
Check back for more news, as we will update as soon as possible.