17th Jun 2004 | 11:35
Eidos, Britain's largest independent games publisher, has indicated it will make a smaller profit than expected this year and has also announced a delay of the release of its eagerly anticipated PS2, Xbox and PC shooter Shellshock: Nam '67 into the following financial year.
Following a similar pattern to last year's Angel of Darkness debacle, Eidos has allowed Shellshock: Nam '67 to slip to September, which places it outside of this financial year's results, a significant factor which has contributed to the profits warning.
"The expected contribution from this rescheduled title will fall into the financial year 30 June, 2005 and consequently the company now expects to report a break even to small loss for the financial year to 30 June, 2004." Eidos said in a statement.
This latest news has prompted Eidos into a dramatic strategic rethink of all its games, intellectual properties and development capabilities, which it expects to complete before its full-year results are published.
Shares in Eidos fell 5.7 percent today and it's certainly not the greatest news for the company, which is still trying to recover from last year's Angel of Darkness fiasco, where the game slipped and slipped again, received a critical mauling and resulted in developer Core being stripped of the licence.
Eidos can point to the fact that it has released all of its published titles on time over the last year, but this latest news is bound to fuel rumours of vultures starting to circle over Wimbledon.
Speaking to CVG earlier today, a spokesperson for Eidos attempted to explain this dramatic eleventh-hour rethink: "We decided it would be better to push the title back to the Autumn; it's a slow time for software at the moment and we feel a September release will be more appropriate for Shellshock."
Asked whether the slip had anything to do with Eidos being unhappy with the quality of the product, the spokesperson refuted this, saying: "The game has passed submission on all formats. I can't comment on any tweaks that may occur as a result of this delay." Indeed, CVG has learned that review copies of the game has been distributed to all lifestyle press in the UK.
If any extra time were to be spent on the game, this would undoubtedly come as a breath of fresh air in an industry where shareholder pressure seems increasingly to force titles out of the door early, when an extra month or two could make all the difference.
We'll keep you fully updated on the situation.