When news of its $2 billion bid for Take-Two Interactive became public in February, no one thought Electronic Arts would take no for an answer. So it wasn't a big surprise when the takeover attempt turned hostile, with EA taking its $26-per-share offer directly to Take-Two stockholders.
Take-Two executives say the EA offer is the wrong price at the wrong time, particularly with Grand Theft Auto IV -- the inevitable blockbuster from Take-Two studio Rockstar Games -- arriving at the end of April. Shareholders have until April 11 to take up EA on its deal, and Take-Two has asked them to give it some time to review the offer.
EA chief executive John Riccitiello said Take-Two's studios -- including BioShock developer 2K Boston/2K Australia (formerly Irrational Games), Civilization developer Firaxis and the sports experts at Visual Concepts -- would benefit from a more stable environment at his company. But in an interview with the BBC, he made clear that his company's "primary interest" is in Rockstar.
ARMY OF TWO
Take-Two executives had a lot to say about EA's bid during the announcement of the company's first-quarter financial results, but they also took some time to talk games. The big revelation was that, as expected, Take-Two's new 2K Marin studio is working on BioShock 2 . Ken Levine, creator of the award-winning original, will be involved in the sequel, but his 2K Boston/2K Australia studios are focused mainly on developing a new property.
A less predictable announcement came from Take-Two's 2K Play subsidiary, creator of the surprise Wii hit Carnival Games . We'll be seeing two expansions of that franchise this year: a version for the Nintendo DS and a miniature golf spinoff for the Wii.
Too bad for Take-Two that it doesn't have a trademark on 2 ; it could make a lot of royalties from all the sequels that have been discussed recently.
BioWare has just released the first downloadable mission for its epic role-playing game Mass Effect , and we're not sure how much more additional content will be sold on Xbox Live. But you can rest assured that a full-blown sequel is in the works, since BioWare has always described Mass Effect as the first installment of a trilogy. General manager Greg Zeschuk, in an interview with MTV News, said Mass Effect 2 gives BioWare "the chance to actually make things a little bit richer" -- including side missions that are less repetitive and better integrated than those in the original.
And then there's Motorstorm 2 , the sequel to the PlayStation 3's best-selling game. Publisher Sony is promising a new setting for the off-road racer, switching from a Monument Valley desert to a lush Pacific island crowded with jungles, swamps and spewing volcanoes. It will add a four-player split-screen mode, and will introduce monster trucks to the competition.