Splatterhouse developer BottleRocket Entertainment was taken off the project by publisher Namco Bandai for “performance” reasons, according to the latter, but now the studio alleges that Namco was “inept” in its handling of the project.
BottleRocket has shot back, defending its performance record while accusing Namco of mismanagement.
"We too have to be careful of what we say since publishers have to worry about their ‘image’ and will sue small, independent studios who bark back at them too loudly," begins a BottleRocket statement issued to Gamasutra. It continues below:
Game development contracts are put in place to protect the publisher and their interests. Within these contracts are a series of defined game development objectives and goals called milestones. If a developer is under performing they tend to fail these milestones and have varying degrees of accountability placed upon them. Splatterhouse had been in development for over eighteen months and up to having the title taken away from us we had not missed any contractually defined milestones. So either there were no performance issues during that timeframe or Namco’s management of the title was inept.
Publisher Namco Bandai defended its decision to remove original developer BottleRocket Entertainment from Splatterhouse, saying it was done over a “performance issue” with the studio.
"The only reason why publishers pull the project out from the developer is when the developer isn’t really meeting the requirements," said Namco vice president Makoto Iwai. "So, unfortunately, this was the case."
He continued: "I have to be very careful so we don’t make any direct comment on it because whatever we say, people will try to be on the developer side. You know, ‘The developer is an independent developer trying hard, and evil publishers are trying to get rid of the business by doing whatever they feel like.’ That’s not the case. I just want to be 100 percent clear. There was a performance issue."
Splatterhouse is due out later this year on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Following rumors that Namco had shafted BottleRocket Entertainment – developers of the upcoming Splatterhouse game – and given the project over to an internal team, the publisher confirmed the news, stating that the aforementioned developer is no longer involved with the game.
"We have decided to part ways with BottleRocket Entertainment but we are committed to bringing Splatterhouse to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year," Namco told Kotaku. "At this time, we are not ready to discuss specific development details about the game and wish BottleRocket the best of luck in their future endeavors."
The company did not offer any reason for the sudden shift. However, Kotaku tipsters say that the studio failed to meet deadlines and that its content did not meet Namco’s expectations.