These are tough days for developers and publishers. If a game flops or underperforms there aren’t any second chances and publishers have no problems letting huge chunks of staff go or getting rid of development studios.
The latest company to join the sad and too large list of game developers to get the boot is Shaba Games whose last game was Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Activision’s supposed reason for closing Shaba was due to a corporate restricting attributed to poor sales of Guitar Hero 5. The main reason for Shaba’s closure is because Activision CEO Bobby Kotick plans for each development studio to be responsible for one key franchise. Supposedly the head of Shaba was offered to become the new studio responsible for Spider-Man but turned the offer down so Shaba was left with no key franchise or specialty game to develop thus they became redundant in the eyes of Activision.
It’s sad to see how Activision plans to have all their development studios merely push out yearly titles of key franchises with no room for creative freedom with new IPs. It may be hard to launch new IPs in this day and age since games are so costly but sooner or later people are going to get tired of Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and subpar Marvel action games. At this pace Activision is going to become nothing more than an assembly line when it comes to game development.
Shaba Games will forever hold a place in my gaming heart for developing the awesome and underappreciated Grind Session.