The press department at Warner Bros has been busy for the past few days. They yesterday announced the promotion of Jeff Junge, the man behind the Midway takeover (more on that in a minute), has been promoted to senior Vice President in the friendlily named ‘Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group’. In the same flurry of news yesterday they also announced they’d made an investment in the controversial OnLive service and then moved on to releasing information on the future of a number of Midway IPs.
As we, sadly, saw from Steven Pick today Warner Bros was unwilling or unable to save Midway Newcastle, but we all know that they managed to save Midway Chicago, now WB Games Chicago, and Surreal Software. Over the course of yesterday and today they announced three of the properties that survived the buyout. In the biggest ‘duh’ announcement of the year so far they’ve confirmed that they now own the rights to Mortal Kombat along with SpyHunter. SpyHunter isn’t something I would exactly consider a ‘hot’ property, but Mortal Kombat is an entirely different story. It was always going to be the property at the centre of any Midway buy out, and its confirmed survival essentially proves that Warner Bros aren’t idiots. It must be noted that with these two properties Midway haven’t confirmed development of any new games based on the IPs right now but rather that the properties can be “developed and re-released on new games and digital platforms, adapted for film or TV, leveraged for consumer products, or licensed to third parties.” When you unwrap that from the business speak it simply means that they have the ability to make new media based on the IPs. So a promise of exactly… nothing, for now at least.
However in an announcement that came today they confirmed the first Midway property that is still in development, the seemingly troubled This Is Vegas. While it’s been heavily rumoured that the plug had been pulled on the game’s development, Warner have now confirmed that the project is still very much in development by Surreal Software.
While the majority of these announcements aren’t overly shocking, although is nice to see This Is Vegas still in development, perhaps the most interesting news coming out of this is their investment in OnLive. This can only lend credibility to the service, and may well see it getting some timed exclusives of Warner Bros games which would be very compelling to see. In a final note Warner Bros also said that the service was still scheduled to launch in the autumn. Given that it wasn’t at E3 it seems bizarre that they’re still sticking to this line.