Rumor: Namco Yanks Splatterhouse From Bottlerocket

On the same day the Splatterhouse trailer debuted, Namco is rumored to have pulled the unfinished project from Bottlerocket, dooming the California-based developer.

Sources through the San Diego-area dev community - but not with Bottlerocket itself - say Namco showed up Friday and took back the dev kits and all assets for Splatterhouse. Word has it Namco intends to finish it in house with the Afro Samurai team.

That's a huge slap to Bottlerocket, says one person familiar with the situation. Afro Samurai animators were sent on site to help out with the workload and Bottlerocket staff were said to have found their presence unhelpful. Now, if true, they'd get a nearly completed project and final credit.

And the kicker: this team would also be based in Carlsbad, and may even lease Bottlerocket's building. Namco recruiters, naturally, were talking to BR employees about the possibility of coming aboard.

Of course it conjures up all sorts of speculation about why Namco would make a decision that would essentially destroy a developer under contract, in order to take back an nearly-completed game and attempt to finish it in house with a set of employees who didn't work well together earlier. Sources say the game was going gold in early March.

This was Bottlerocket's only project; its last work was on Flash with the now-kerplop Brash. One source told us all employees got their last paycheck yesterday; another says the office has about three months left before it closes for good.

A message left at Bottlerocket's office was not immediately returned. One Bottlerocket employee has declined comment; we're pursuing others, plus any word from Namco officially. More developments will be posted as they are known.