A new studio has opened up in Northern Ireland - and it has already scored backing from the the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for its first project.

Dark Water dev opens in Derry

Based in Derry, Dark Water Studios currently consists of 10 programmers, artists and support staff, with an ongoing recruitment drive aiming to deliver a headcount of 25 by the end of 2007.

The studio is headed up by Mike Brown, with Paul Houbart acting as technology manager Paul Houbart and Rory Fellowes taking the role of lead animator.

"Starting, as we have done, with what was effectively a ‘blank piece of paper’ has allowed us to build a thoroughly modern, 21st century game development organisation which is perfectly placed to take advantage of new production tools, methodologies and working practices," commented Brown.

"Our aim is to bring together the cream of available game-creation talent; by drawing from Northern Ireland’s existing talent pool, by using the quality of life offered by this unique location to attract the cream of overseas talent and by making good use of the opportunities for outsourcing and remote working which modern technology allows."

The DETI is partially funding the team’s first project, which is a currently unannounced multiplayer PC title. The team is also prototyping concepts for other PC and next-gen console games. The studio wishes to handle a mix of its own projects and work for third-parties.

"Our unique location – and the economies of scale which it offers – allows us to provide all of the benefits of off-shore development, without the complications which arise when business is conducted across borders," added Brown. "I’m confident that Dark Water is looking at a very bright future."

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