Activision's dipping its toe into indie gaming with 'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions'

Activision creates and publishes a small group of blockbuster video games aimed at mainstream consumers. The world's largest game publishing company handles some of gaming's most culturally impactful titles: the Call of Duty franchise, this year's Destiny, and the entire Blizzard catalog. This week at Gamescom 2014, Activision announced its first smaller effort in many years with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. As the name implies, Dimensions is the third entry in the Geometry Wars franchise -- a beloved series that debuted as a minigame within the first Xbox console's Project Gotham Racing 2. People like it so much in that completely unrelated game that it spawned into its own series.

Sadly, the studio behind the originals (Bizarre Creations) was shuttered after a commercial flop with the critically-lauded racer Blur. Some of the folks from Bizarre are back on Dimensions, now part of a new studio named Lucid. But this isn't the return of Activision's expanded portfolio, says Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg.

"I wouldn't read too much into it in terms of a sea change in our business strategy," Hirshberg told us in an interview. "It's a passion project, a skunkworks project that we're excited about, but it doesn't signal an overall shift in our approach to the business."

So, no, the move to re-launch Sierra as a label within Activision -- while neato -- is not part of a bigger push into the burgeoning indie game movement. Hirshberg also pointed out that some of his company's tentpole franchises, such as the mega-popular kid's series Skylanders, started out as "small, scrappy" projects rather than intended from the jump as the monsters they've become.

Activision's taking a cautious approach with the new initiative, even. Hirshberg stressed that his company isn't "taking our eye off the ball" of the prize: blockbuster games aimed at mainstream folks. For now, Hirshberg said Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is "a cool passion project to hopefully make some gamers happy and do something we think is cool." As far as we're concerned, as long as there's more Geometry Wars to play, everyone wins.