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Ex-Splatterhouse Dev BottleRocket Contests Namco's Performance Claims

Former Splatterhouse developer BottleRocket has responded pointedly to claims made by a Namco Bandai exec to Gamasutra that the studio's removal was for "performance" reasons.
BottleRocket Entertainment, former developer of the upcoming Splatterhouse, has responded pointedly to claims by a Namco Bandai executive that the studio's removal was for "performance" reasons.

Last month, in a widely reported action, publisher Namco Bandai ended BottleRocket's involvement in the production of the franchise followup, reclaiming development equipment and assets.

Speaking to Gamasutra in an interview published last week, Namco Bandai Games COO Makoto Iwai said the move was made due to a "performance issue" with BottleRocket.

"The only reason why publishers pull the project out from the developer is when the developer isn't really meeting the requirements," Iwai said. "I just want to be 100 percent clear. There was a performance issue."

Now, BottleRocket has issued a strong response contesting Iwai's characterization and suggesting potentially "inept" management on Namco's part.

"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," the statement reads.

"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."

Core founders of BottleRocket were responsible for well-received action/adventure game The Mark of Kri, and the studio developed the sequel Rise of the Kasai.

Development of Splatterhouse is reportedly continuing within Namco Bandai.

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