What makes this generation of consoles special isn't graphics or brute processing power; no, it's the ability for games to be electronically distributed through built-in networks that opens new frontiers - ones that Kuju's Doublesix is ready for...
Don’t be in any doubt that Kuju’s latest studio is one of the most attractive to work at in the UK. If it were listed in a holiday brochure you can guarantee it would have a five star rating.
With new offices in the heart of Guildford, a focus on speedily developed fun and addictive games plus an inclusive philosophy that involves taking the entire team to the local Wagamama for brainstorming meetings, it’s hard not to see this as one of the most progressive and forward-looking studios in the UK.
“We’re recruiting like crazy,” says James Brooksby, Doublesix’s studio head (pictured above). “We need to find innovative ways to attract people because there’s definitely a sense that this sector is going to take off.”
The sector he’s talking about is digital distribution and Doublesix’s mission is to forge a unique identity in this nascent market by creating addictive have-another-go titles for channels such as Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo’s Virtual Console, PlayStation Network and PC.
“The industry is still finding its feet in terms of digital distribution but we all know it’s a large part of our future,” continues Brooksby. “Only the platform holders were really talking about this area a year ago but now key publishers have made great strides in this area.”
He adds: “What’s great about Doublesix is that we have small teams coming up with ideas month after month. It’s such a luxury not to have to wait nine or ten months for tools just to see if the concept works.”
Although only established in November 2007 Doublesix already has deals signed with several publishers on all formats, though it must remain tight-lipped about specifics at the present time. Given the company’s outlook it’s clear that several games are going to be produced every year with innovation, prototyping and the creation of new IP the priority. ‘Nothing can be ruled out’ seems to be the general philosophy and Brooksby hints that Doublesix games will both cross-fertilise and defy genre.
The studio will even bend its digital download brief to make games that meet the studio’s philosophy. With Geometry Wars Galaxies, the studio took the world’s best known digital download title and created the highly-rated games for Wii and DS.
“It’s important to point out that we are not just about ‘casual’ games,” he adds. “While we are more console oriented we will be working on various concepts and genres that appeal to different demographics – from the so-called casual market to the hardcore gamer. If it’s fun, it’s fun and because we have no genre or format specialisation it means that everyone who works here, from whatever background, can bring something different to the games they are working on.”
And it’s this flexibility linked with Doublesix’s commitment to gameplay that make it such an exciting place to be. Every staff member is encouraged to come up with fresh ideas and while not everything will be thrust into full production, Brooksby is fostering an atmosphere that inspires staff to think differently and maximise the opportunities afforded by digital distribution.
It’s proof that every developer needn’t be a tiny cog inside a big corporate machine.