BottleRocket bust as Namco pulls project?

Splatterhouse could be moved in-house.

Rumours have emerged over the weekend suggesting that Californian developer BottleRocket has gone bust.

The studio had been working on horror remake Splatterhouse, which was supposedly close to completion and due for release within months. However, Namco Bandai is said to have pulled support. Reports say work on Splatterhouse will be finished by the in-house Namco team that made Afro Samurai, just out in the US.

Word of BottleRocket's demise first appeared on VG247 and more detail later appeared on Kotaku.

With no confirmation yet from BottleRocket or Namco, this is still officially a rumour - but sources have told Eurogamer it's genuine.

BottleRocket was founded in 2002 by the Sony team that made excellent PS2 actioners Mark of Kri and Rise of the Kasai. Although an independent studio, Splatterhouse was its only project - it had been making a game based on DC superhero The Flash for Brash Entertainment, but that publisher closed down in November last year.

So when Namco took Splatterhouse out of BottleRocket's hands on Friday - repossessing all development kits and assets, according to reports - it effectively doomed the studio to closure.

If it's true that completion of the project has been made the responsibility of the Afro Samurai team, it probably comes as an unwelcome surprise to those developers, too, gifting them two crunch periods in quick succession.

The original Splatterhouse was a gory 1988 beat-em-up for the arcade, which saw a number of home conversions and sequels. The new game - seen just days ago at New York Comic Con by 1UP - is due for release on Xbox 360 and PS3, and is apparently influenced by modern horror movies as well as the likes of Dead Rising and God of War.

Expect confirmation of this news later today, when America wakes up.

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