"RIP Radical Entertainment 1991-2012," tweeted audio designer Rob Bridgett earlier today. Moments later, the Internet was abuzz with reports that Activision had used its maniacal death tendrils to choke the life right out of Prototype 2 developer Radical Entertainment. That, however, isn't entirely true. But, while not a full-on closure, Activision explained in an official statement that "some employees will remain working for Radical Entertainment supporting other existing Activision Publishing projects, but the studio will cease development of its own games going forward." Which is, of course, horrendously depressing. There is one infinitesimally small bright spot to all this, though: Prototype 2's PC version is escaping unscathed.
"The PC version of P2 will launch on July 24th as planned," an Activision rep told RPS. A somber yet appreciative note on Radical's Facebook page drives the point home. So that's the upside. As for the fate of Prototype as a franchise, well, that's not looking so hot. Here's Activision's statement on the matter, which may as well have come taped to a nail, hammer, and picture of a coffin.
"Although we made a substantial investment in the Prototype IP, it did not find a broad commercial audience. Radical is a very talented team of developers, however, we have explored various options for the studio, including a potential sale of the business, and have made a difficult conclusion through the consultation process that the only remaining option is a significant reduction in staff."
So then, enjoy karate kicking helicopters while you can, because this looks like the last hurrah for Heller and Mercer (and any other characters with names ending in "-er" that I may not know about). And now, a rather chilling thought, brought to you by BioWare's Manveer Heir: "With Activision closing down Radical today they have 12 internally owned studios. Six of those are working on Call of Duty products."
But that's sad. In more optimistic news, if you're among the fine men and women who are out of jobs as of today, Insomniac Games, Microsoft Vancouver, Ubisoft Toronto, Sony Santa Monica, and many, many others are hiring. Best of luck to you all.