Finishing off any resistance left in the CVG news team's bowels EA and BioWare Pandemic made the incredibly unexpected announcement late this year that the Mass Effect and Mercenaries developers would be acquired for a record $860 million.
The purchase gave EA access to two fantastically talented developers and all of their industry-leading tech. Microsoft published Mass Effect as planned and BioWare's Sonic the Hedgehog RPG is said to be going ahead unhampered.
EA says the studio is also in the early stages of developing a multiplayer online game, which may or may not be something to do with Star Wars. Sounds like a bit of a licensing nightmare, then.
Pandemic is still working on the free-roaming explosion-fest Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and WWII French stealth-em-up Saboteur. It's still unclear what will happen to the two planned Mass Effect sequels now (especially considering weak sales of the first), but it's certainly going to be interesting to see where EA fits the developers in...
Activision and Vivendi merge
When: December 2
Just when we thought nothing could possibly top the EA-Bioware announcement, Activision and Vivendi dropped their merger bombshell at the beginning of December. On a Sunday!
The shock power-shifting deal is worth $18.9 billion and sees the two form into Activision Blizzard, 'the world's largest pure-play online and console game publisher'.
This gives the two access to countless hit franchises such as cash bounty World of Warcraft, F.E.A.R., StarCraft , Guitar Hero and Call of Duty. The publisher also houses developer Bizarre Creations and film licenses such as Spider-Man and James Bond.
WoW developer Blizzard assured its fans that "there will be no changes to our games, our websites, our personnel, or our day-to-day operations as a result of the deal."
The news was a surprising finale to an especially off-the-wall year in games, and it's certainly going to guarantee that 2008 is an even more interesting one for gaming. See you on the other side.