Monday 22 December 2014

Irish Game Developer Spotlight

Ahead of this year's State of Play conference, we take a look at some of Ireland's indie game design companies.

Published 26/11/2013 | 14:48

Screenshot from Honourbound
The Little Acre from Pewter Games Studios
ShipAntics from Studio PowWow

Home grown games have been a weak spot in the Irish games industry, but a surge in new game development companies is aiming to remedy the situation.

Pewter Games Studios - Formed in January 2013 from a masters in DIT, Pewter Games Studios has made a name for itself by repeatedly winning game design jams. Most notably, they won the recent Windows Games Jam with their game Galactic Tactics, which went on to win them the Windows App Hero Contest 2013 with over 4,500 downloads in a month. Currently taking part in NDRC's GamePad accelerator, the company is developing their first major release: The Little Acre, a genre-blending puzzle adventure game set in rural Ireland. Website

SixMinute Studios - With a strong PopCap Games pedigree running through their veins, SixMinute are a recently formed company who already have their first game, Monster Mini-Games, available to play free on Facebook. Featuring addictive mini-games and the ability to challenge your Facebook friends, Monster Mini-Games is a promising first move. The company are currently busy bringing Monster Mini-Games to mobile devices.   Website

StudioPowWow - A production studio founded by three colleagues with hugely impressive backgrounds in animation, Studio PowWow makes the leap to games with their upcoming release The World Of ShipAntics, a cartoon puzzle adventure game aimed at 8-10 year olds. The World of ShipAntics will arrive on iOS and Android devices in February 2014, with a web series and TV series to follow. The studio came through NDRC's launchpad accelerator program, achieved support from Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Start Fund and were one of the key initial companies in Games Ireland's GameSpace initiative. Website

Bitsmith Games - Another company originating from DIT's masters in Digital Games, BitSmith released the action-adventure Ku:Shroud of the Morrigan on iPad at the start of 2013. Ku is now ported on to a number of devices and the company are developing FranknJohn, a 3D twin-stick action game where a young boy escapes a dungeon using his head on a chain as a weapon. Bitsmith are yet another company on the list who have been through NDRC's launchPad accelerator and have secured Enterprise Ireland backing. Website

BatCat Games - Dublin-based development studio who made a splash in 2012 with their first release, frantic arcade shooter P-3 Biotic. Under the name Digital Furnace, the 6-person studio are currently developing Honourbound, a 2D side-scrolling beat'em up focused on dynamic and visceral God of War-style combat in a feudal Japanese setting. Another company benefiting from Enterprise Ireland support, BatCat Games, like many of the companies on this list, are actively involved in building the Irish games community. Website

Screenshot from Everlasts by Dark Oasis Studios

Bright Head Games - A three-man team, BrightHead have 2-D puzzler The Adventures of King Kroc out on the market place and are currently developing Epic Quest. As with a number of the companies featured, Bright Head Games Studio also develop branded games for businesses, a route often taken to secure development capital. Yet another participant in the NDRC's GamePad program.

ExGamer Studios - Source Control is this studio's latest offering to the market, a fast-pace puzzle game based around hacking. The 3-man team ranked highly in the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup with their eco-friendly Zero Carbon game.

Dark Oasis Studios - A new games studio, one of five chosen to take part in the NDRC's GamePad accelerator program. The seven-member team are currently working on 2D-platormer The Everlasts

Digit Game Studios - The biggest company on this list, Digit was founded by a veteran team and established their base in Dublin city centre. Having just released the the beta of their debut game Kings of The Realm, the company are gearing up for the full release of their cross-platform MMO. One of the key selling points of Kings of the Realm will be the ability to play against your friends, regardless of what devices you are playing on. Digit have played their part as the big brothers of the Irish indie scene by housing a number of game start-ups over the last year. Website

 

This is only a small sample of the active companies out there, a testament to the strength of the Irish game development upsurge.

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