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DICE cancels current-generation versions of new title

PS2 and Xbox versions dumped.

Swedish developer Digital Illusions CE has announced that the Xbox and PS2 versions of a new untitled project, due for launch in 2007, have been cancelled - but the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Portable versions are still in the works.

No details about the content of the game have yet been announced, but it is believed to be a new original franchise created by DICE. It was originally scheduled for "2006/07", but with the cancellation of the current generation versions, is now scheduled for 2007 release.

The decision to drop the PS2 and Xbox versions, which were being developed at Electronic Arts' UK studio rather than in DICE's Stockholm studio, is as a result of the declining sales of software for both platforms, according to the company.

The move marks the first time that publisher EA, which owns a majority shareholding in DICE, has cancelled a project for current-gen platforms. Sources at the company had previously indicated that EA was committed to providing PS2 SKUs of all its software for several years to come, but the firm's attitude may have been changed by the low sales of PS2 software reported at the end of last year.

One product hit by those falling sales was Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, the PS2 and Xbox version of the popular PC title. The two versions which had shipped a combined total of a million units to retail by the end of 2005, which is by no means a poor figure, but is still far below the firm's hopes for sell-through.

DICE won't receive royalty revenues from Modern Combat until it sells 4 million units, due to the high development budget for the game - which may explain the firm's unwillingness to commit to further titles on the Xbox and PS2 platforms.

The PlayStation Portable version of the new game is still in the works at EA's UK Studio, while the Xbox 360 version is being worked on by Digital Illusions in Stockholm.