Activision Sues Viacom Over Lack Of TrekBy Christian
July 1, 2003 - 4:28 PM
Video game publisher Activision announced today it is pulling out of its contract with Viacom to produce Star Trek games, and is suing the entertainment company for damages caused by the declining value of the Trek franchise.
In a complaint filed in Californian court yesterday, Activision accused Viacom of not exploiting the Star Trek franchise in the way it did in 1998, when Activision obtained a ten-year licence to develop Trek games. "Through its actions and inactions, Viacom has let the once proud Star Trek franchise stagnate and decay," the company said in a statement. "Viacom has released only one Star Trek movie since entering into agreement with Activision and has recently informed Activision it has no current plans for further Star Trek films."
The latter statement comes as the first official confirmation that the box office failure of Star Trek: Nemesis has put an end to the Trek movie franchise for the near future.
Other grievances from Activision include the fact the television branch of the audience has dwindled since 1998, when both Deep Space Nine and Voyager were still in production. "Viacom also has allowed two Star Trek television series to go off the air and the remaining series suffers from weak ratings. Viacom also frustrated Activision's efforts to coordinate the development and marketing of its games with Viacom's development and marketing of its new movies and television series."
After Activision obtained the Star Trek game licence in 1998, it embarked on a mission to develop several Trek games per year, quickly announcing titles such as Armada, Hidden Evil and Elite Force. However, most of the Trek games the company released for the PC failed to deliver large sales numbers. Only two games were even released for the consoles: Star Trek: Invasion and Voyager: Elite Force, for the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2, respectively.
The most recent Trek game released by Activision was Elite Force 2, and it seems this will be the last for a while. "As a result of the breaches by Viacom," the company's press release continued, "Activision has terminated the agreement and filed a complaint seeking to recover the damages it has suffered and will suffer as a result of Viacom's failure to abide by its agreement, and its stated intention to continue to breach its agreement."
Besides Elite Force 2, Activision was last reported to have at least one further Trek game in development, the action game Shattered Universe game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is not known how these latest events will affect the development of this game, which was to have featured the voice of George Takei (Hikaru Sulu).
The full press release from Activision can be found here on its official web site.