Less than one month ago we started hearing murmurs that a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game was in development. At the time, rumors suggested that Rocksteady Studios, known for adapting fan-favorite comic material into critically-lauded video game experiences (Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City), was supposedly heading-up development.
Now, we're getting word that, while a new TMNT title is en route, it may not feature the gritty and gothic-inspired tone Rocksteady would have likely created - instead, it looks as though a title will be developed by Activision, in conjunction with Nickelodeon, as a tie-in to a new animated cartoon.
The TMNT game news comes out of Toy Fair 2012 - where Toy Ark managed to dig-up an intriguing tidbit about the potential Activision/Nickelodeon team-up. While the "news," at this point, is pretty slim - there's no doubt that a media board for Nickelodeon's upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series definitely offers an intriguing possibility.
Check out the image below (again via Toy Ark):
In case you're lost in all of the exciting "Playmates Marketing" partner mentions (or confounded by the especially dark font), the line that's causing all the Activision TMNT game speculation reads:
Cross-promotion with key licensees, including IDW (the comic publisher) & Actvision.
At the very least, the line would indicate that Activision and Nickelodeon are working together to create some kind of digital tie-in to the upcoming TMNT animated series. However, it's unclear exactly what form this digital tie-in will take - as Acvitision doesn't only create hardcore console experiences. It's certainly possible that this TMNT tie-in could just be a Facebook or iOS game - not a full-fledged action-adventure title.
Obviously the news raises significantly more questions than answers. What is the Activision/Nickelodeon tie-in and does this mean that Rocksteady Studios is not working on an Arkham City-like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game? While two TMNT projects could be in development at the same time, especially if they were targeted at different demographics (Rocksteady: the mature and gritty TMNT and Activision: a light-hearted cartoon tie-in), Viacom (who owns Nickelodeon) has been pretty careful with the brand lately - since watching Warner Bros. bungle a CGI animated reboot film, TMNT, in 2007.
Would Viacom (who wants to reboot the Turtles on the big screen as well - through sister company Paramount Pictures) really authorize this many TMNT projects - not to mention one that would be distributed by a rival company (since Rocksteady is owned by Time Warner)? Time will tell.
That all said, the prospect of a Rocksteady Studios TMNT title is significantly more compelling (and one that could attract high-profile hardcore gamer sales).
We'll keep you updated with further TMNT video game news as more information is unveiled.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.