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Argonaut suffers heavy losses

But UK dev has four titles shipping before Christmas, and two more in Q1 2004.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

UK developer Argonaut has announced pre-tax losses of £10.9m, which it blames on the cancellation of two key titles; Malice (which Vivendi pulled the plug on back in May) and Orchid (which was subsequently canned by mutual agreement with Namco). Last year the developer enjoyed pre-tax profits of £2.8m.

Losses and May's redundancies notwithstanding though, Argo seems to be on the mend. Despite the commercial failure of satellite JustAddMonsters' criminally underrated Kung Fu Chaos, this year Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the PSone became the sixth million-selling title in the company's history, and as many as four titles are expected to make it out before the end of the year, with more due in Q1 2004.

SWAT: Global Strike Team (PS2/Xbox) is apparently now finished, while Bionicle (PS2/Xbox/Cube/PC) is just waiting on PC testing. Meanwhile I-Ninja is very close to completion, having been bumped up to multi-platform status after its positive showing at E3. Although a PS2 exclusive in Europe according to SCEE, the game will also be released on Xbox, Cube and PC in the US.

Argonaut's financials also reveal that long-finished Xbox Live-enabled watercraft racing title Carve has been signed to Take-Two subsidiary Global Star Software on a zero advance royalty-based distribution deal, and should also be out before Christmas.

Moving into 2004, Argo anticipates a Q1 release on PS2/Xbox for both Powerdrome and Malice, the latter of which is virtually complete despite setbacks earlier this year. The developer is also said to be in preliminary discussions regarding sequels or replacement projects for the various teams freed up by all these releases.

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