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Interview: Scratch: The Ultimate DJ Gets New Developer, 2010 Release

Scratch: The Ultimate DJ now has a new developer in Commotion Interactive, even without all the source code from 7 Studios -- moving the game's launch into early 2010. Gamasutra gets details from Numark.
Scratch: The Ultimate DJ now has a new developer. Turntable maker Numark and publisher Genius Products announced they've tapped Commotion Interactive, the music and party game division of Toronto-based Bedlam Games, to finish developing the embattled music title. Scratch has been almost from the start at the core of a complex and contentious legal battle with publisher Activision and its rival product, DJ Hero. Activision acquired the game's original developer, 7 Studios, amid accusations that it was motivated to delay the competing title's release, and 7 Studios returned fire with claims of "unsavory business practices." A court has since ordered 7 Studios to return the game's source code to Genius and Numark, but speaking to Gamasutra, Numark gaming product manager Fred Galpern says that order remains unfulfilled. "To date, we still have not received everything the court ordered to be returned," Galpern told us. He declined to comment on how much, if any, of the original assets and code Commotion will have to work with, stating only: "We are moving forward aggressively to complete the game." Scratch is now slated for an "early 2010" release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; although it looked like the game, when announced, was set to beat DJ Hero to market, it's clear this won't be the case, as DJ Hero is part of Activision's Fall 2009 release portfolio. But Galpern's still confident in the game's prospects, and in its new developer. "I cannot comment on anything related to our lawsuit against Activision; however we are confident Scratch will be a superior DJ gaming experience," he says. All of the company's previously-announced music partnerships still stand, Galpern adds, most notably the involvement of renowned musician-producer Quincy "QD3" Jones. "It is all moving forward nicely and we will have more music announcements in the future," he says. So why was Commotion, established as part of venture-funded Bedlam in 2006, chosen to pick up where 7 Studios left off? "We chose Commotion from among several leading development teams, because they bring an excellent mix of experienced game development professionals and young, passionate talent," says Galpern. "Their experience includes developing games at Rockstar, Ubisoft and EA. The Commotion team includes game development pros who also DJ and produce hip hop music when they aren’t making games." Bedlam CEO Trevor Fencott also commented, in a statement alongside today's announcement. "The combination of the game and the proprietary Scratch Deck controller will bring the art of DJing to the masses," he said. Fencott highlighted the authenticity of the peripherals involved, and Scratch's intended realism, as a primary competitive advantage. "The Scratch Deck combines a touch sensitive turntable from Numark with the drumpads from the iconic Akai Professional MPC," he notes. "This combination delivers an authentic music gaming experience unlike any other. We are thrilled to embark on this venture with Scratch, and can’t wait for this exciting title to hit store shelves."

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