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Digital Anvil goes under the hammer

Microsoft buys out yet another big name developer

It's just four years since Digital Anvil was created as an escape from the corporate world of Origin in the wake of the company's buy-out by Electronic Arts, but things haven't exactly gone smoothly since then, and today it looks like the dream is over.

Publisher Microsoft recently cancelled Digital Anvil's real-time strategy game "Conquest", saying that it "did not progress as [Microsoft] had hoped it would". Digital Anvil insisted that the game was near completion and that they were looking for alternative publishers, but then everything went eerily quiet. Last week came the first rumours that Tony Zurovec and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts had been ousted from their own company, closely followed by reports of the apparent demise of free-form space sim "Freelancer".

Today the truth has emerged in a brief press release from Microsoft, who have announced that they have bought out the troubled developer. Chris Roberts will be leaving the company, but only after he has finished work on Freelancer, which is now expected to be released towards the end of 2001. No other games are mentioned in the press release, which merely lists "Freelancer .. and other yet-to-be-announced titles", suggesting that Tony Zurovec's drive-by shooter "Loose Cannon" has also been dropped, with the company now gearing up to produce games for Microsoft's Xbox console instead.

Details are still fairly thin on the ground, but no doubt we will know more soon as the build-up to the Xbox launch continues.

Source - press release

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