Square Enix just announced that its bought a stake in the Derby-based Bulkhead Interactive, the developer behind competitive shooter Battalion 1944 and ‘first-person puzzle game’ The Turing Test.
Both titles were released in collaboration with Square Enix’s indie label: Square Enix Collective. This relationship is now strengthened through the investment, with Collective continuing to work with Bulkhead on Battalion 1994 through its current Early Access phase, and to release next year.
“I’m really excited that we’re taking this step to deepen our partnership with the team at Bulkhead,” commented Phil Elliott, director of indie publishing at Square Enix, and head of Square Enix Collective. “From the first meeting we had back in 2015 it was clear to me that the team had a great deal of potential, and we’re really looking forward to helping them continue to unlock that in the years to come.”
As part of the deal, Elliot will join Bulkhead’s board of directors, representing Square Enix.
Joe Brammer, CEO at Bulkhead Interactive, added: “It’s been a great experience working with Phil and the team at Square Enix – they’ve always been supportive, looking out for the interests of us as well as the games we’ve worked on, and this opportunity to build on that relationship is a great next step for the studio as we expand and search for new talent to join our team.”
Speaking to MCV last year, when the Collective signed Battalion 1944, Elliot told us:
"We’re very honoured, firstly because we know the studio had a lot of possible partners to choose from this time around, and secondly because it tells us that they had a good experience with The Turing Test and are happy to trust us with their next, bigger game.
"One of the key aims for Collective is building relationships. Certainly we don’t expect to work with every team on multiple occasions, but any time a team wants to discuss future projects with us, we’re very happy to do so. Another side-effect is the number of developers that are being recommended to us by those teams we’ve already worked with. Again, a good sign – but none of that means we’re happy to sit back and think that the job is done. We’re constantly learning, and trying to focus that into improving all the time."
It’s the first investment of this sort from the Collective, widening its range of possible actions in future, by supporting larger indie titles.