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Rovio opens London studio to create new online franchises

Mobile juggernaut Rovio has opened a new in-house studio in London that will focus on creating massively multiplayer online games.  …


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D4 director Swery goes indie with his new studio White Owls

More than a year after taking a break from game development, former Access Games director Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro is back, and he has a new indie studio: White Owls Inc. …


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Swery 65 Returns To Game Development, Opens New Studio

Last October SWERY 65, most famous for leading the development of cult classic games like Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, revealed that he was retiring from his studio Access Games after a prolonged bout of illness.

Today, the developer revealed that he was returning to game development by opening a studio called White Owls Inc in Osaka, Japan.

He tweeted out the news:

The developer has not revealed any details about whether or not White Owls Inc is currently working on a project.

If you want to see Deadly Premonition in action, you can check out our Chronicles of the game here.

 

Our Take
Love or hate his weird games, you can't deny that the world of video games is more interesting with SWERY 65 doing his thing. 

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Ex-Crytek Studio Becomes Independent Developer

Crytek recently downsized, shedding five studios. One of them, Crytek Black Sea in Bulgaria, has been reborn as an independent studio now named Black Sea Games. That's the studio's original name, before it was purchased by Crytek in 2008. 

The studio has inaugurated a website, which states that the team is aiming to create hardcore games revolving around large worlds, player choice, and content sharing.

Black Sea Games is currently working on a project, and the artwork above is from the company's Facebook page, but nothing has been formally announced.

[Source: Black Sea Games via GameSpot]

 

Our Take
Black Sea sounds like it has ambitious aims, so it'll be interesting to see what an independent studio can do given that player/story-driven open world games usually aren't cheap to make.

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At GDC 2017 you’ll see how an FPS studio came to make Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerrilla Games’ Dan Sumaili and Sander Van der Steen will be presenting a talk that deconstructs how the studio transitioned from linear tactical first person shooters to a vibrant open world RPG …


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Recently shuttered Crytek studio reborn as Black Sea Games

Crytek’s recently shuttered Sofia studio has been re-established as Black Sea Games by a group of former Crytek devs. …


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Blog: The importance of grassroots marketing as small studio

As a small team making our first console title and with no budget, we had to get creative and realistic with our goals. Here’s how we did it. …


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Five Ubisoft Studio Executives Collectively Fined More Than One Million Dollars For Insider Trading

Today Autorité des marchés financiers, which regulates the French stock market, announced €1.27 million (~$ 1.33 million) fines for five Ubisoft studio executives regarding insider trading. The charges accuse the executives of selling stock right before prominent Ubisoft games, like Watch Dogs, were to be delayed. Those being fined include:

  • Yannis Mallat, Ubisoft Montreal CEO (€700,000)
  • Francis Baillet, VP of corporate affairs (€200,000)
  • Christine Burgess, worldwide studios executive director (€200,000)
  • Olivier Paris, Ubisoft Montreal VP of executive operations (€100,000)
  • Damien Moret, brand development director (€15,000)

If you can read French, you can check out the sanction document for yourself here. We asked Ubisoft for comment and they issued this statement:

Today, the AMF announced a decision against five of our team members in Canada and France, whom the AMF charges with having sold Ubisoft shares while in possession of privileged information related to the probability of postponing one of Ubisoft’s games.

Ubisoft acknowledges the AMF’s decision, but continues to assert that the people involved acted in good faith. We are convinced that these team members did not intentionally commit any acts contrary to market regulations.

Similarly, given the processes and timetables involved in the production of major games at our company and within our industry in general, we believe that at the time they carried out their transactions these employees could not have been aware of or anticipate the subsequent decision to postpone the game that would be taken by Yves Guillemot on October 11, 2013.

Regrettably, the AMF’s decision represents a serious misunderstanding of the game development and production process at our company and common to our industry. Each major game requires the involvement of multiple teams across the company, but ultimately only the company’s CEO can make an exceptional decision such as changing a game’s release date.

Ubisoft also sent along a statement from Mallat himself:

We remain convinced that the whole process is unjustified, unfounded
and illegal. Moreover, the Commission notes that the hearings conducted in
Quebec are null and void. We will therefore continue to defend our good faith
and our rights before the Court of Appeal in France, and also via the lawsuit
in Quebec brought against the AMF France and the AMF Quebec.
    


Our Take
Yikes. There might be more going on here than meets the eye but still but Ubisoft's statement doesn't do a great job of defending the company. It'll be interesting to see how Mallat and company's attempts to appeal the AMF's decision play out.

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343 Studio Head Josh Holmes Departs Company

Josh Holmes has been the Studio Head for 343 Industries for a number of years, overseeing Halo 5 and working as the Creative Director for Halo 4. Now, however, Holmes is departing the studio in order to pursue independent game development.

Announced on the Halo Waypoint blog, the news comes with some recollections about Holmes' work on the series. "Josh has been an instrumental leader for the Halo franchise," says 343 Founder Bonnie Ross. "I wanted to thank him for everything he has done for us and the Halo franchise, and I wish him the best of luck on his next adventure."

Holmes will be replaced by Chris Lee, previously the Lead Producer on Halo 4 and 5. "He is a tremendous leader and Halo is in great hands with him," said Holmes of Lee.

You can watch us interview Holmes during his tenure at 343 on the development of Halo 4, below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

[Source: Halo Waypoint Blog via GameSpot]

 

Our Take
I wish Holmes the best on his future endeavors. 

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Ubisoft opens fourth Eastern European studio in Belgrade, Serbia

Ubisoft Belgrade’s staff of fifteen is currently collaborating with studios in Kiev and Paris on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, and the company plans to employ up to 40 people in the coming year. …


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