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Report: Ubisoft Picks Up Midway's  Wheelman

Report: Ubisoft Picks Up Midway's Wheelman

February 13, 2009 | By Eric Caoili

February 13, 2009 | By Eric Caoili
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Reports suggest Ubisoft has purchased open-world action/driving game The Wheelman from beleaguered developer and publisher Midway Games.

The title was rumored to have exchanged publisher hands over the past week, and retail sources now list Ubisoft as the publisher, not Midway, according to a report from game weblog Kotaku.

Originally announced in 2006 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, Wheelman features a digitized version of actor Vin Diesel as its protagonist, as he's pulled into a gang war in Barcelona, Spain. Midway's Newcastle, England studio was developing the title with Diesel's Tigon Studios.

Midway initially planned to release Wheelman in 2008, but delayed the game to March 2009 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.

Representatives from Midway declined to comment on the possible sale, but a recent updated product page for Wheelman on game rental service GameFly now lists the game's publisher as Ubisoft and its release date as "TBD."

The report of Wheelman's sale to Ubisoft follows just a day after Midway filed for Chapter 11. The publisher currently owes $150 million to its bond owners because of a buyback obligation triggered when media mogul Sumner Redstone sold his controlling stake in the company on December 1st.

Midway's president, CEO, and newly-appointed Board chairman Matt Booty said in regards to the filing, "This was a difficult but necessary decision. This filing will relieve the immediate pressure from our creditors and provide us time for an orderly exploration of our strategic alternatives."

Midway has not replied to requests for comment on the title.


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