If you were ever unclear on the sheer commercial power of the Fast And The Furious franchise, then get this: news that the latest film's premiere will be delayed until next year has seen the share price of game developer Codemasters drop by six per cent, all because the video game companion to that film will have its debut delayed as well.
Fast & Furious 9 - otherwise known simply as F9 - was originally slated to enter cinemas on May 24, but the global pandemic and the consequent shutdown of businesses like movie theatres prompted movie studio Universal to hit the pause button on the F9.
That's a bit of a problem for Codemasters, which was also set to release Fast and Furious: Crossroads (above) on May 24 as a side-by-side virtual adventure to complement the movie.
Developed by Codemasters subsidiary Slightly Mad Games (also responsible for the hardcore racing sim Project Cars 2), Crossroads was billed as a “team-based, vehicular-heist action game” and featured extensive voice acting by cast members Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson.
After Universal Pictures announced an 11-month delay in Fast & Furious 9’s premiere, Codemasters Group Holdings PLC is now describing the release of their Fast & Furious game as “uncertain”.
In a statement released on March 13, Codemasters PLC reassured investors that “provided The Company [Codemasters] releases the game in Q1 of FY21, the Board anticipates that the later release of the F9 film will have no material impact on its financial expectations for FY21”.
Codemasters distributors, Bandai Namco, are said to be working closely with Universal Pictures to re-finalise a release date, but the damage is done. Codemasters shares slipped six per cent following news of the F9 delay.
The total reduction in the company's market capitalisation amounts to a whopping GBP146.03 million, or $286.33M. Ouch.
With massive increases in hardware capability on those consoles, Crossroads is going to look pretty wrinkly around the eyes right from the get-go, which may crimp sales of the game. To be truthful, the graphical quality we've seen of Crossroads thus far is already well below par (below).
There may be some solace for Codemasters, given their game F1 2019 is now the only form of Formula 1 motorsport that punters will be able to watch for the foreseeable future.
The first official 'Virtual Grand Prix' held using the game took place just days ago on a virtual Bahrain circuit, but time will tell whether fans will respond favourably to an entirely electronic substitute for their favourite form of motor racing.
Time will also tell whether it will help Codemasters bounce back from the gargantuan delay to what was supposed to be a massive money-spinner.