When Sierra dropped the innovative space combat sim "Babylon 5 : Into The Fire" it looked like the end for the project. As part of the deal under which Sierra had been footing the development bill, the work which Sector 14 had done on the game up to that point belonged to their former publisher. But despite this the developers struggled on for several months, with Sierra expected to sell the code, artwork and cinematics that had already been done back to the company. Then, earlier this week, came the shocking news that the game had been cancelled after Sierra apparently changed their minds...
"No one was more surprised than us when we were informed that they had decided not to sell the assets, especially as a sizable dollar figure was involved", Sector 14 CEO Rick Brewer told GameSpy in an interview. "We were going full bore under the assumption that all that remained was penning the last of the deals. Warner was 100% on board and behind us, and we had no fewer than three publishers showing serious interest in the game .. when we heard that Sierra was no longer interested in selling the materials. It had nothing but upside for them PR-wise and money wise; we were essentially buying source code for a dead product that they no longer had a license to use or distribute."
Bizarrely though Sierra chose not to sell "Into The Fire" back to its developers, and that marked the end of the road for the troubled game. "The difficulty with this is that we've lost some of the key assets, namely the video footage of the actors, and, of course, about a year and a half's worth of work on code, artwork, and story development. We would, essentially, have to start over from scratch with a new story and design. Additionally, because Babylonian Productions closed when TNT cancelled Crusade [a Babylon 5 spin-off TV series], we would have to resort to other methods to introduce the narrative elements of the game, such as virtual CGI-based characters."
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