Last Friday, representatives from Namco Bandai showed up in a U-Haul truck to remove all of their assets from the offices of independent developer BottleRocket Entertainment, which had been working on a new Splatterhouse game for the publisher. BottleRocket management was informed that Namco Bandai had decided to transfer development of Splatterhouse to an in-house team.
Gamasutra reports confirmation of the story from a BottleRocket representative. A Namco Bandai spokesperson also confirmed the company and BottleRocket are no longer working together. On the same day Namco Bandai sent the U-Haul, BottleRocket employees were featured at a panel at the New York Comic Convention to discuss Splatterhouse’s development and show a new trailer.
Formed in 2002 by former members of the Sony team that developed The Mark of Kri, BottleRocket created a sequel, Rise of the Kasai, for Sony in 2005 and licensed game Xiaolin Showdown for Konami in 2006. President Jason Beard had worked on Sony games such as Twisted Metal III and IV and Blasto.
With no other projects in development, BottleRocket’s future is uncertain. The Carlsbad, California studio lost a game based on superhero Flash when publisher Brash Entertainment folded in late 2008.
The Namco Bandai spokesperson said the publisher is “committed” that Splatterhouse, a reboot of Namco’s franchise from the 1980s and 1990s, will still be published this year for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The original Splatterhouse is available for download on the Wii’s Virtual Console.
UPDATE: Gamasutra reported BottleRocket said they will be working on another soon-to-be-announced new title, contradicting speculation that the loss of Splatterhouse could shut down the independent developer.