Nordic Games is reviving now-defunct company THQ's MX vs. ATV off-road racing series with a new entry set to launch early next year — MX vs. ATV Supercross.
Today Nordic announced that MX. vs. ATV Supercross, the first title from a new team assembled for the project, will launch during the first half of 2014 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows PC, Mac and Linux. It "has the scope of a downloadable game" and focuses on supercross motorcycle racing. It will also include multiplayer modes for the console versions and the series' Motoclub Depot feature. The developers will create Supercross using existing code from MX vs. ATV Alive and MX vs. ATV Reflex.
The title is being made by a team of former MX. vs. ATV developers assembled by Nordic that will work out of Phoenix, Ariz. — the location of original MX vs. ATV developer THQ Digital Phoenix, which was renamed from Rainbow Studios in Feb. 2010. Digital Phoenix was shuttered in 2011 and announced that production on the racing franchise would cease.
When contacted regarding development on Supercross, Nordic Games told Polygon that the company was in contact with former members of the MX vs. ATV team and hired them under George's lead. Nordic said that the developers were "keen" to work on the franchise again. The company is also beginning to tap into its other in-house development teams for other projects, although details on those projects are currently not being shared.
Former MX Staff on Supercross includes Brad Bowling (animator), Dave Dwire (environmental and track design), Scott Hofmann (QA on MX vs. ATV and engine developer for the Darksiders series), David Knudsen (associate producer), Mike Mamula (level designer) and Justin Walsh (software engineer). The project is led by executive producer Ken George, who previously served in the same position at THQ Digital Phoenix.
In a press statement, Nordic notes the team plans to take the franchise "to even greater heights while retaining the ingredients that made MX vs. ATV so successful."
"The hiatus is over, and the team is back to work on MX vs. ATV with great new things to come."
"We're absolutely thrilled to be working with Nordic Games because they appreciate the team's passion and dedication to bring the feel of real motocross racing to MX vs. ATV fans," George said in a press statement. "Not just the adrenaline rush, but the whole experience from top to bottom.
"A lot of the original team members have been aching to continue their passion: building the most authentic off-road racing games possible," he added. "The hiatus is over, and the team is back to work on MX vs. ATV with great new things to come."
"We're all devoted fans of the MX vs. ATV games, so being able to play a part in continuing this brilliant series is a dream come true," added Nordic Games business and product development director Reinhard Pollice. "We're absolutely committed to ensuring Ken and his team receive the best support and the freedom to create the games they love making — and we're confident that the series will continue to grow from strength to strength. Supercross is just the start of our MX vs. ATV plans. 2014 and beyond will prove to be a hell of a ride."
Vienna-based Nordic purchased the rights to the MX vs. ATV franchise, along with a large number of other IPs, from THQ during the publisher's bankruptcy auctions earlier this year. Since its founding in 2011, the firm has expanded its portfolio of games with a number of IPs bought from various companies. Deals with several development studios have also allowed Nordic to publish numerous other titles, including the Windows PC version of Alan Wake and The Farm 51's Deadfall Adventures.
In April, it was announced that Nordic Games had acquired all remaining THQ properties left unsold from February's auctions. The purchase included the Darksiders, Red Faction and MX franchises. Shortly after the purchase was made official, Pollice wrote in the company's official forums for its newly-acquired properties that Nordic would look into missing DLC and downed servers tied to MX vs. ATV.
During Gamesom this past August, Pollice told Polygon that while Nordic wasn't rushing ahead into projects based on the properties it purchased from THQ, it could announce at least one such project before the end of year.
Pollice told Polygon that Nordic has "quite a bit going on behind the scenes," but new information on any of its former-THQ IPs — such as Darksiders — is not being shared at this time. As for the company's plan moving into the next console generation, the representative said "time will tell."
"We don't think of Nordic as a 'first mover' when it comes to a new console or hardware generation," Pollice said. "We like to monitor the situation closely and see how the market develops, then see what options that offers us."