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Acti: True Crime wouldn’t have hit “the top” of its genre

Wednesday, 22 June 2011 19:41 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg has said one of the reasons True Crime: Hong Kong was canceled, was due to the firm’s belief that the actioner would not reach “the top” of its genre.

Speaking in an interview with Joystiq, Hirshberg said the game’s development budget and delays were, in a sense, also a contributing factor in its cancellation.

“The game had been delayed twice; the budget had been increased twice; and it had ballooned to a size where it was going to have to be a pretty incredible success in order to be worth the investment that it was taking to get it done,” Hirshberg said of the United Front Games title.

Hirshberg goes on to say that when the game was greenlit by Activision, there was room in the marketplace for games with such a large scope as True Crime: Hong Kong. However, in the end, according to the CEO, the decision not to release the game came down to quality.

“Just a few years back, there was room for a lot more titles to find an audience of scale.” he said. “The finished product was not going to be at the top of that genre.

“The only reason I’m hesitating [on offering an opinion] isn’t due to lack of transparency, it’s due to respect for the people who were making it who I think are incredibly talented and really brought their all and I don’t want to say anything to disparage their efforts.

“That’s a super-competitive genre with some of the world’s best games in it.”

True Crime: Hong Kong was announced during the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, and was confirmed as canceled by Activision earlier this year during a financial call to investors.

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38 Comments

  1. DSB

    Related posts: Additional dev time for True Crime: Hong Kong has “paid off”, says Activision.

    L-o-l :P

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    that is the only title that i looked forward from Activision and i mean… REALLY looked forward.

    and sandbox is acompetitive genre, because not every year we see a new GTA or Saints Row.

    Horrible decision guys, just horrible. True Crime had gigantic potential with it’s city and combat system.

    If Ubisoft or EA owned True Crime rights we could see a game this generation 100%

    #2 4 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    @2: Absolutely agree with you. A stupid decision, especially because you’d be playing a cop, not a gangster. This is a huge difference, i enjoy playing a cop way more than playing a gangster. And the City is something we have not seen in other games before.

    Activision takes no risks, no matter what they say. No Balls, just business.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. DSB

    Neither of you have to sign off the money for it though. Two delays is always going to be two delays too many, and you’re talking about millions of dollars each time.

    Not that Activision doesn’t have them, but that doesn’t mean they want to throw them away.

    I personally didn’t see anything from the game that even came close to either GTA, Just Cause or Saints Row, so based on what’s actually out there, I definitely wouldn’t have kept throwing millions at the guys responsible.

    Look at Duke Nukem Forever. That’s what happens if you keep throwing money at a game :P

    #4 4 years ago
  5. NeoSquall

    I can hear mirror scratching from here.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. NightCrawler1970

    Activision are just a bunch of fuck-ups…., didn’t give that Game and the Devs a break and bring it on the market, who knows it should be a blockbuster game, but noooooo, just cancel it……

    #6 4 years ago
  7. YoungZer0

    @4: http://youtu.be/ZVfuLdHRYnI

    Looks way better than Saints Row if you ask me.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. NightCrawler1970

    Is there a way that True Crime can come on the market, like someone else buy it or sponsor it???

    #8 4 years ago
  9. DSB

    @7 I’ve seen that. It looks extremely similar to Saints Row, and the combat system doesn’t look good at all. The targeting looks awful and they’re all standing around waiting for the guy to compelete his animation.

    I really don’t see much to get excited about for a guy running through an asian street with a few cutscenes, jumping off a building and awkwardly fighting a few thugs. Beyond the asian street, we’ve done that already.

    @8 That’s another thing, if it had been close to finished, then Activision could either ship it themselves, or sell it off to recoup some of their losses. That, and the fact that the guy leading the studio seemed to understand why it got canned has me thinking that it wasn’t all that.

    EA managed to ship The Saboteur in a rough state when they were in a rush to close down Pandemic.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @DSB, “Not that Activision doesn’t have them, but that doesn’t mean they want to throw them away.”

    OHHHHH YEEAAAAAAAH…….. Tell me about throwing money…

    Activision in 2011:

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS, DS)
    Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS, PC)
    X-Men: Destiny (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS)
    Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS, DS)
    Untitled James Bond Video Game (TBA)

    C R A P

    and the biggest blockbuster title and the safest one that will bring them money is Call Of duty:MW3

    Prototype 2 in 2012 which looks like Prototype 1…

    #10 4 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    @9: Never saw any freerunning elements in Saints Row, and the city looks vivid unlike anything we’ve seen in Saints Row.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. polygem

    not a huge fan of these games in general. even gta after vice city left me extremely unimpressed. too much tough guy shit and senseless violence – that must not be a bad thing but in gta i find it disturbing in a way, don´t know why. these games put me in a bad mood. i managed to play through IV. technically it was great but i got bored really fast. liberty city on psp was fun but vice city psp was one of my few unfinished games. it´s always weak if a publisher cans a game. it´s superbad for devs as well.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. DSB

    @11 Really, you think so? I thought it looked pretty boring personally. It’s all black buildings with sporadic neon signs and people standing around doing nothing.

    Take the Witcher 2 as an example. I’m amazed at how many people are actually walking around doing specific things, like threatening vendors to join their guild. I realize you can’t expect that from a true open world game, but vivid? How?

    @10 All of which will probably be finished on time. People aren’t going to throw money at you if you don’t deliver, Erth.

    We can all agree that Activision has a wide range of studios that are pretty crap, and producing games that are pretty crap, but they probably meet their deadlines.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Maximum Payne

    @7 OH MY GOD THAT FOOTAGE ! Why they canned Assassin Creed:Hong Kong :((
    How stupid someone can be to make a sequel to x man or that child game spider man shattered dimensions and canned this is just beyond me…..
    @13 But sandbox game are selling like Saint Row,Assasin Creed because they are not many on market and they are rare.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. DSB

    @14 I don’t know about that. Just Cause 2 was lacking a narrative, but it was easily as much fun as any open world game on the market. And apparently it didn’t do well enough to warrant a third.

    The Saboteur was rushed out the door by EA so they could close down Pandemic, and that didn’t sell well either.

    I don’t see it as a sure thing.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    @DSB, Delay and good game > turd

    True Crime was basically made by the studio who makes Modnation Racers and Modnation Racers is a solid title.
    These guys could create a game right on time. True Crime is a sandbox, so it’s probably a big game. Delays are inevitable.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    @13: Through the art-direction i suppose. Just look at the colours, the size of the crowds, the architecture, look at the walls, most of them have something on them or a different colour, with different patterns. A street market with people selling stuff, a butcher in some dirty alley chopping the meat on the table. It feels like a real city. But that’s something the developers from Saints Row never managed to do, especially in Red Faction.

    You should watch the video again and compare it to Saints Row. If you still don’t see the difference, then … well can’t help you with that.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Maximum Payne

    @15 Yea yea even Just Cause 2 sell well one more reason to release Hong Kong…But atention to detail in video that post YoungZero amazed me.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. DSB

    @17 Well I was mostly looking at the way it played. I guess it just doesn’t speak to me, the lighting is completely wrong, even if the buildings under it are incredibly beautiful, I just can’t appreciate it.

    It doesn’t strike me as more authentic than the opening level in Kane and Lynch 2.

    Crowds on their own isn’t enough, they have to be doing something. A game like State of Emergency was all about being in a huge crowd.

    @16 The Saboteur was delayed, and that was in a horrible state. Prototype was delayed, and that was in a terrible state. Brütal Legend took five years, and that sucked. LA Noire took five years, and they couldn’t even make a proper female model, or a driving model for the cars.

    And that’s obviously the sort of thing that Hirshberg fears they were in for.

    The fact that a lead developer can’t finish his game on time is more often an indication that he isn’t the best at his job, rather than an indication that he’s awesome at it.

    Sometimes abortion is just the right way to go.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    @19: Saboteur was also made by Pandemic and they are not known for finishing their products in a good way. Just look at Mercs 2 for example.

    What’s your point here? Every game that’s delayed sucks?

    #20 4 years ago
  21. DSB

    @20 The point is at the bottom. If you can’t finish your game on time, then that doesn’t speak well for your competence. It doesn’t mean that all delayed games suck, it just means that most often, it’s because people aren’t good enough at managing their projects.

    I’m not saying that Pandemic shouldn’t have been shut down, but The Saboteur could’ve been an outstanding open world game if it had had more time and money.

    Sometimes, enough is enough.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. YoungZer0

    @21: Well, Mass Effect 3 should’ve been done in a few months. Not only does it depend on the Developer but more likely on the Publisher. If they give you 3 years for a game which should take 5, then they shouldn’t be surprised that it needs more time. I think the game industry works a little bit different than others.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. DSB

    @22 Nu uh, it’s really not that simple.

    When you make a deal to develop a game, it includes two players. You and the publisher. The head of a studio has a direct responsibility to explain to the publisher how long a game should take, and why.

    If he can’t do that, then he shouldn’t be in that position. George Broussard of 3D Realms is perhaps the most gargantuan example of that in history.

    There are plenty of other developers who have no problem making amazing games in roughly 2 years – Why should the slow ones get special treatment?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. YoungZer0

    @23: Do you have some examples?

    #24 4 years ago
  25. DSB

    @24 Of amazing games? Well, amazing games is pretty subjective. Whatever your preference, the point is there’s no lack of people out there who can complete a game on time.

    Assasins Creed 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, CoD4, Company of Heroes, Freedom Fighters, GTA: Vice City etc. etc.

    It would take a while to dig out all the best ones.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. YoungZer0

    @25: No i mean amazing games that only took 2 years.

    Or in this case amazing open world sandbox games that took 2 years.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. DSB

    @26 I wouldn’t know. If you make a deal for a game, that you aren’t able to keep, then you only have yourself to blame for it.

    You can’t expect people to throw millions at you if you don’t honor your agreements.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. YoungZer0

    @27: I’m just saying most of those amazing games that only take 2 years are being done on an engine that’s done. Probably a sequel with little changes to gameplay and graphics.

    Open World Sandbox Games take more time. Sure the guys from whatever-their-name-is-something-about-front should have picked a better release-date, but i don’t think Activision would have allowed that. They want the quick buck, always. They wouldn’t even have the deal if they haven’t signed on such a short releasedate. The result would be another rushed True Crime game. Something the series is known for: Bugs and broken gameplay.

    This one looked very promising.

    Activision just doesn’t seem to comprehend what it takes to make a good Sandbox Open World Game.

    My initial opinion stands: Activision has no balls.

    Look at L.A. Noire for example. How much time that shitty game took, but Rockstar still pulled it through.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. DSB

    @28 The point isn’t how long it takes, or what technology you use, the point is that if you’re signing a contract to deliver a game within a certain timeframe, then you have to deliver within a certain timeframe, or face the consequences.

    If you know you can’t deliver, and the publisher still demands you to, then you have two choices: Being fired now, or being fired later. Being fired later, with a failed project, and millions of dollars wasted doesn’t look good on a resumé, and ultimately that doesn’t speak for the competence of a project lead.

    You’re entitled to your own theories on what Activision is and does, but ultimately, no matter which publisher you sign with, they expect results for their millions of dollars (most people who invest millions of dollars want something for them) and the fact that they scrap a project, and wave goodbye to all that money, probably means that it wasn’t worth it.

    Why would a greedy, evil corporation throw money away? Because they’re concerned about quality? Not bloody likely. This is the company that made Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions.

    I’m pretty sure even Take Two have cancelled projects that weren’t worth their money.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. YoungZer0

    “Why would a greedy, evil corporation throw money away? Because they’re concerned about quality? Not bloody likely. This is the company that made Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions.”

    So … erm what are you saying? If it’s not about quality, when what was the reason to cancel it? The game obviously looks good.

    I think the game was looking good but not finished, and Activision just pulled the plug. Like they did on many other projects around the same time btw.

    But anyway, this isn’t going anywhere.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. DSB

    @30 You think the game looks good in a blurry E3 demo video lasting 3:49 seconds.

    Don’t you think it’s slightly inadequate to base a multi-million dollar decision on so little? There was also some footage in an interview with the developers, but it really didn’t show very much.

    Obviously Activision didn’t believe they’d get their money back, and based on the performance of Prototype, The Saboteur (both equally mismanaged projects) and Just Cause 2, I don’t see how that’s completely outside the realm of possibility.

    Certainly not based on 3 minutes of game footage, that at least for me was pretty bland.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. YoungZer0

    Watching those 3 minutes of gameplay was more fun than playing Saints Row 2 or L.A. Noire, that much i can tell.

    It’s not the quality or the time, but the fact that Activision feared it would not make enough money. If it ever got released and actually wouldn’t make enough money i’d also blame Activision. Seeing how they work on games that are not Call of Duty. Great example for their work is the campaign on Singularity.

    And why are you bringing up Just Cause 2 and Saboteur?

    Just Cause 2: Eidos/Square Enix and sold 1.4 Mil. which seems to be enough for the developer to expend and open a new studio. The Saboteur was published by EA.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. OrbitMonkey

    Just out of curiosity, those games that Acti churn out, like Spiderman, James bond etc, how did they actually perform. I’m guessing they must make a good return for the money invested to get sequals right?

    And what was that open world game about the cop & his dog? Dead to Rights? That sank without a trace didn’t it? Maybe Activision judged this one right?

    #33 4 years ago
  34. DSB

    @32 That’s a lot of assumptions. You just know that 3 minutes and 49 seconds of that game was more fun than Saints Row 2 and LA Noire.

    Well, that’s impressive. I have no idea, I only saw 3 minutes and 49 seconds of an E3 demo that looked a lot like everything else.

    Just Cause 2 sales were hardly impressive considering the rest of the field, and that’s also a game that was delayed, which is more than likely why you aren’t seeing a third one right around the corner. I have no idea how Avalanche make their business decisions, or on what basis, though.

    The Saboteur is a case of exactly the same happening. Pandemic couldn’t meet their deadlines, their game was rushed out the door in a less than finished state, and EA killed the studio immediately after. It’s common practice. The only difference is that The Saboteur was deemed worthy to ship.

    Personally I get nervous as soon as I have 10 dollars riding on a game of poker. Betting your money generally shouldn’t be a casual activity, at least not for someone who cares to make some. I’d rather invest in a business that gets nervous when their money’s at risk, than a business that says “Fuck it, cover ‘em in gold” when someone fails to meet their contractual obligations.

    Balls generally don’t put food on the table. Unless you cut ‘em off and fry ‘em up.

    @33 Good question.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. neon6

    If the game has been cancelled, then why is the site for it still up?

    #35 4 years ago
  36. Moonwalker1982

    It sucks that they canned it, but let’s not act like we all have been waiting for it. The previous games weren’t that good at all. And i doubt this one would be amazing.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. BulletBoy504

    Thats bullshit,they cancelled True Crime because all that they care about is CALL OF DUTY!

    #37 4 years ago
  38. NightCrawler1970

    @37, you got that right, they’re a bunch of morons that focus only on 1 lousy best seller game, and the hell with other games….

    #38 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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