Activision Conf. Call: Quake Wars Release Estimate, Metallica in Guitar Hero 3 (Updated)

In a conference call discussing the results of Activision's Q1 results, which saw the company post a net income of nearly $28 million, company executives dropped several interesting tidbits pertaining upcoming titles.

While an exact date for Splash Damage's shooter Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC, PS3, X360) was not provided, the company did note that the game is expected arrive in either the last week of its fiscal second quarter, which concludes at the end of September, or at the beginning of its third quarter in October.

It was also specified that Neversoft's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PS3, PS2, X360, Wii) and Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS2, PS3, X360, Wii, NDS), along with Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC, PS3, X360) will hit store shelves before Thanksgiving. A downloadable demo of the latest Tony Hawk is planned for release on PS3's PlayStation Network and Xbox 360's Live Marketplace prior to the game's retail release.

"Demos on some of our franchises in particular are a very important tool. We've seen Xbox Live be an important contributor to that," explained a company rep. Mentioned as an example of this was the upcoming US-only Xbox 360 beta test for Call of Duty 4, which select individuals will be able to download from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Activision labeled Guitar Hero as the number one franchise in the US market, despite it only being available on PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. The company expects this popularity to grow thanks to the multiplatform Guitar Hero III, which marks the first time the series has hit PS3 and Wii. Combined, the four platforms for the title represent an install base of over 50 million in the US and 90 million worldwide. This figure was compared to the 7 million install base of a competitor product set to arrive only on PS3 and X360--obviously Guitar Hero creator Harmonix's EA-published Rock Band (PS3, X360)--to demonstrate the brand's strength against similar titles.

Other quickly-mentioned Guitar Hero nuggets include the inclusion of a Metallica song in Guitar Hero III and plans to bring songs from the first two games to Guitar Hero III owners, presumably through downloadable content. The company also revealed that the recently released standalone Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s (PS2), which drew criticism from some for its $49.99 pricepoint, had the highest first day sell-through of any Guitar Hero title.

Looking ahead to the next two years, Activision anticipates strong results from a new James Bond title, two unannounced superhero games and efforts based on DreamWorks' upcoming Kung-Fu Panda and Madagascar 2 films, along with the expected further iterations of its Tony Hawk, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero brands.

Update: Metallica's contribution to Guitar Hero III is "One" from ...And Justice For All, reports GameDaily BIZ. As one of the game's many master track recordings, the song heard in-game is performed by the original artist--in this case, Metallica.