Activision's Properly On The Remaster Train Now

As popular as remastered franchises are, there's still a couple of publishers out there who have yet to give a lot of their back catalogue a proper touch of paint. One of those was Activision, who until recently stubbornly held onto a lot of IP from the '90s and early '00s. But with the recent success of Crash Team Racing and particularly Crash Bandicoot, the company has told investors that it's definitely on the remaster train now.

Activision held a quarterly earnings call Thursday Australian time. It's one of the most impactful quarters for the company, as a lot of investors, hedge funds and other brokers use the projections and expectations laid out in this quarter to gauge whether to buy, hold or sell stock into the busy Christmas season.

And there was plenty to talk about. Activision warned those on the call to expect a drop in year-on-year users and revenue, as Destiny isn't part of their portfolio anymore. But the latest Hearthstone expansion has done well for Blizzard, and the Candy Crush train and the associated mobile advertising business continues to print money for Activision.

But the biggest successes of the year so far have come from the revival of older titles, specifically Crash Team Racing and Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy. Crash and the N-Sane Trilogy combined have sold over 10 million copies combined, according to a transcript of the earnings call, and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said the company was definitely looking at bringing back more titles back.

"I'd say, for example, if you look at Crash and Sane Trilogy; that one sold through over 10 million copies," Kotick said. "So they are obviously having a big impact on our bottom line and a real impact there, but I'd say what's really important is that it's reaffirming the enduring nature of these franchises for us. And as you mentioned, when you look at our IP library, we think there's a lot of IP in there the fans are going to want to experience again. So now what I'd say stay tuned for some future announcements."

"As we think about it, there is a lot of growth opportunities for the business over time within Activision, based on our library of IP and frankly more broadly across the company, where the company did collectively have the ton of great IP."

As a small reminder, here's just some of the titles Activision could give a second lease of life to:

  • Prototype
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Star Trek: Armada
  • The Movies
  • TONY HAWK PRO SKATER
  • MechWarrior
  • Heavy Gear
  • Interstate '76
  • Zork Nemesis / Zork Series
  • Heretic
  • Hexen
  • King's Quest
  • Geometry Wars

Activision also bought out the Sierra brand, although some of the games Sierra was due to publish were passed onto other firms, like Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and WET, which was bought by Bethesda. Whether or not the actual Sierra name is something Activision would use going forward is doubtful — Activision sold the Sierra domain name to TJX this time last year — but that's unlikely to affect Activision's ownership of the old Sierra IP.

Another focus on the earnings call was the soft launch of Call of Duty on mobiles in Canada and Australia, which is available here (Android, iOS).


Comments

    I reinstalled Prototype, recently, filled with fond, nostalgic memories of playing the everloving hell out of it in my old favourite netcafe to escape from reality.
    It has not aged well. Like... at all.

    Now, if they were to go back to Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries and give that a remake... I'd damn near buy shares. Heavy Gear, Interstate 76, Heretic/Hexen and Soldier of Fortune are all really exciting remaster/remake possibilities.

    Two Activision articles in one day hyping them up, yet STILL you are deafly silent on the incredibly shady and predatory business practices that was introduced by them just last week (which has been masterfully outlined by Caddicarus just yesterday - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSv0pEraKw0).

    I'm wondering just how much you're getting paid by them, tbh.

      I'm wondering just how much you're getting paid by them, tbh.

      I'd love to see Kotaku just outright ban anyone making these comments at this stage. Jesus it's so boring, pathetic and annoying.

      They haven't covered it because it doesn't make enough monetary sense to do so at this stage. It's not new, it's happened plenty of times before and this sort of article makes more sense because people would like to see / play the franchises they remember return.
      Kotaku, much like most online journalism, relies on striking a balance between the big investigative pieces and the more profitable, easy to write short pieces. They can't spend a whole bunch of time on every article, so you'll get 50 listicles and the occasional personal opinion piece or investigative piece thrown in there - the listicles make more money per minute/hour spent writing them than the longer pieces do, while the longer pieces give Kotaku wider exposure and uphold their reputation in the industry.

      If Kotaku were just pumping out videos rambling about a topic the way YouTubers do that would both be more effort per dollar earned and fail to hold up their reputation or bring in a wider audience. It doesn't make sense for their business model, they aren't being paid off.

        If they banned all the idiotic conspiracy theorists, they'd have almost no traffic.

    Heavy Gear and Hexen would be good - Interstate '76 would be amazing, even the PS2 Spyro games would be good. But I would love to see a new Pitfall.

    Almost all of those are liecnsed properties that they dont hold anymore.

      Yeah. Bethesda has Wolfenstien and PGI have Mechwarrior for a start

    Zork??? aren't they text adventure games?

      I guess they could turn it into something like a telltale game or the Rusty Lake series or Life is Strange etc.

        Zork Nemesis and Grand Inquisitor were FMV games in the vein of Myst/Riven etc.

    None of those titles I'm interested in except for a MechWarrior remake.

      Except Piranha Games has the MechWarrior license and are making Mechwarrior 5 and MWO

    Heretic, Hexen, Wolfenstein, and MechWarrior seem unlikely.

    Activision clearly doesn't hold the rights to make new Wolfenstein games, given the new titles being released by Zenimax. Things are a bit more complicated for Heretic/Hexen, where Activision owns the developer (Raven) and Zenimax owns the old publisher (id): it sounds like both companies own some rights to the IP, so would need to come to some kind of agreement to make new games.

    Activision's MechWarrior were licensed titles, and everything after the first two have had other publishers. I doubt they could even release remasters of those first two games.

    Of course there IS the small matter that Activision are vile scum who would only remake these games for the opportunity to stuff them full of microtransactions...

    Interstate '76, yes, but not like the sequel which was terrible really.

    I don't mind remakes provided their not LAZY remakes!

    Looking forward to seeing how they can shoehorn micro transactions in to all these old games.

    Activision should purchase the rights to Croc and remake them.

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