The most dangerous foe of James Bond may have at long last been defeated in a somewhat unexpected way. I’m not referring to longstanding 007 villains such as Blofeld or even new entities like Silva as I’m instead referring to Activision - the company which for the last six years has wasted the James Bond franchise.
While any kind of formal announcements have yet to be made, it appears as if Activision has either lost or relinquished the rights to develop and publish games based on the legendary 007. Even with the lack of a positively written PR announcement with minor shades of admission to failure hasn’t been released to the press, some events have occurred which point to Activision’s tenure with James Bond finally coming to an end.
What caught the eye of people in the last day is that all Activision released James Bond games (Blood Stone, 007 Legends, GoldenEye Reloaded), have been pulled off digital distribution platforms such as the Steam Store. Xbox Live. and even Activision's official store.
Usually games aren’t pulled from digital outlets unless it’s part of an exclusive arrangement (such as receiving a game for free on PlayStation Plus) or if the rights to a property have lapsed, as was the case with Ubisoft’s HD remake of TMNT: Turtles in Time.
The news of Activision pulling all Bond content from digital platforms is somewhat unexpected, but one could assume that not all was rosy when it came to the famous British spy considering that Eurocom, the developer of the last few Bond FPS games, ended up closing up shop due to the abysmal reception that 007 Legends received last November.
Having killed two different developers, both of whom had a solid reputation, Activision’s time with the 007 license has been an utter disappointment. After sending out games such as Blood Stone to die with little in the way of advertising or pulling development money from the project, it was clear that Activision simply didn’t care about Bond even though it has the immediate cache amongst gamers and those in the mainstream to become a megahit gaming franchise.
Those in the 007 camp, such as EON Productions or MGM, have yet to make an announcement concerning the fate of the 007 video game franchise so it’s unknown if another company has acquired the rights or if we can simply expect to see a moderately entertaining Bond iOS game to accompany the next Daniel Craig entry in the series.
Ideally it would be nice to see the video game exploits of James Bond continue, but given the climate of the games industry it may prove to be difficult in finding a home for good old 007 since some game companies may not want to put the effort in building a triple-A game or are more than aware of the stigma that surrounds licensed games.
It would be nice for James Bond to find a home with a publisher who knows how to properly expand the character in a video game setting, but to be honest I feel there are few up for such a task. Ubisoft may have the talent required for such a thing, but their version of James Cameron’s Avatar was lackluster to say the least. In a true dream scenario I would be pleased if United Front Games got their stab at doing a James Bond game since Sleeping Dogs has the groundwork for what makes the character so good through things such as melee combat, intense shoot-outs, and hectic driving with a bit of a stunt edge.
Based on the rather sudden development of Activision possibly bidding adieu to 007 it could be a while before an announcement is made concerning when, or if, we’ll see the character returning to the world of gaming.