Financially troubled publisher and developer Midway Games announced a "strategic relationship" with Ubisoft to publish Wheelman
in several major territories, confirming reports
suggesting Ubisoft had purchased the publishing rights.
Under the agreement, Ubisoft will handle sales, marketing, and distribution of the title in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Midway's Newcastle, England studio will continue to direct Wheelman
's development with the help of Tigon Studios, which was founded by action film actor Vin Diesel -- also the game's star. Midway will also retain all future franchise rights and sell the game in the European territories not included in the above list.
Originally announced in 2006 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, Wheelman
features a digitized version of Diesel as its protagonist, as he's pulled into a gang war in Barcelona, Spain. The game is scheduled to ship for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on March 24th in North America, and on March 27th in Europe. A pre-launch demo is planned for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
Midway initially planned to release Wheelman
in 2008, but delayed the game
several months ago with the belief that the title, along with Surreal Software's This is Vegas
, would help the company "approach profitability" this year.
Midway filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection last week to manage insurmountable debt, although it's since received court permission
to use its remaining cash to continue operating, paying employees, retailers and suppliers.
"Ubisoft's decision to join Midway in a co-publishing agreement is a gratifying validation of Wheelman
's potential," says Midway CEO and president Matt Booty. "Ubisoft has a proven expertise at bringing new IP to market, which will allow us to reach a broader consumer segment with Wheelman
, while helping Midway to balance the risk profile of our product portfolio."
"We are pleased to be partnering with Midway to bring Wheelman
to stores worldwide," adds Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. "Midway is known for launching intense, fast-paced action games, and the cutting edge open-world driving technology in Wheelman
should make for a game that gamers will love."