Battalion 1944 developer Bulkhead reaches “formal end” of Square Enix partnership
Bulkhead Interactive, the developer of the WWII shooter Battalion 1944, announced on Twitter that its its years-long partnership with Square Enix is ending. “We have formally ended our partnership with Square Enix,” wrote Bulkhead.
Square Enix bought a 20 percent stake in the developer back in 2018, with the expectation that Bulkhead would create a new IP for the publisher. Those plans never came to fruition. Previously, Square Enix had published several of Bulkhead’s titles, including Battalion, under its “Collective” label for indies.
Bulkhead further announced it would bring its shooter, now rebranded as Battalion: Legacy, to Steam for free on August 16. “We appreciate the passionate support we received from the players of Battalion and old-school shooters.”
Battalion was launched as a Kickstarter game, and one of Bulkhead’s stretch goals was to eventually release a console version of the game on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In 2018, many players began asking for refunds when Bulkhead gave no updates on the console versions, but the developer said it would not offer refunds.
Bulkhead is now confirming that the console versions of Battalion have been cancelled, and it intends to refund all Kickstarter backers. “We are deeply disappointed that Battalion 1944 never made it console […] Thank you to everyone that backed the console version, and we’re sorry it has taken so long to rectify this.”
A spokesperson for Bulkhead told Eurogamer that following the release of Battalion: Legacy next week, Bulkhead will have other announcements throughout the year, including new projects.
Another notch on the Square Enix belt
Bulkhead’s eroded relationship with Square Enix comes following last week’s news that the publisher was planning to sell off the stakes it acquired in various western developers.
According to analyst David Gibson, who listened in to Square Enix’s conference call with investors, the publisher’s new company plan will involve determining if other companies can buy stakes in those western developers. By selling stakes, Gibson tweeted, Square hopes to refocus resources on its various Japanese titles.
— BATTALION: Legacy (@PlayBattalion) August 9, 2022
Gibson also stated that Square referred to its western games as “cannibalizing” resources from its Japanese titles. It’s believed to be the reason that the publisher sold off western studios Eidos and Crystal Dynamics to the Embracer Group in May 2022.