Source - Achtung Wolfenstein!
One of the more impressive PC games on show at the recent E3 event in Los Angeles was apparently Return To Castle Wolfenstein, the sequel to id's classic first person shooter Wolfenstein 3D. Unfortunately it now looks as though those of us who couldn't make it to LA will never get to see the trailer which Grey Matter and publisher Activision put together, due to a copyright argument with Fox Interactive.
It seems that the E3 trailer used the track "Bishop's Countdown" from the Aliens soundtrack as its music. In fact "Activision had indeed paid a large sum of money for the rights and we were free and clear to make our trailer", according to executive producer Greg Goodrich. Just hours before E3 though, Fox Interactive watched the trailer and decided that they didn't want Activision to use the music after all. Apparently Fox had decided that "allowing us to [use the music] would cause confusion in the marketplace between Return To Castle Wolfenstein and Aliens vs. Predator 2", their own first person shooter under development at Monolith. And so, although the trailer was still used at E3, it won't ever be made available for download over the net "unless someone captured it via camcorder from one of the monitors and makes it available on their own accord".
Look a little closer though and the whole incident seems a little bizarre. What were Activision doing paying Fox a "large sum of money" to use music from a completely unrelated film in their trailer in the first place, especially one which every game geek worth their salt would recognise instantly as being from Aliens? Wouldn't it have been cheaper and more effective to get one of their musicians to write an original soundtrack for the short trailer? Failing that, couldn't they have used a piece of music from one of their own games? And if all that is wrong is the soundtrack, why can't Activision just strip the music from the trailer and release it that way? Even if they don't have the source video footage and sound from the trailer anymore for some reason, surely they could at least strip the entire audio track out and release the video mute or with a new musical soundtrack?
It looks like Activision are trying to win our bizarre excuse of the week award, which Lionhead seemed to have walked away with earlier this week when they tried to explain away the continued delay in the release of a much-needed patch for Black & White by saying that it was due to a problem with Dutch cable modems. Something tells us there's more to this story than meets the eye...