Independent developer plans to go from strength-to-strength after releasing 120 games

Kuju celebrates 15-year anniversary

UK developer Kuju Entertainment celebrates its 15th anniversary this month.

The company, which owns Zoe Mode and Headstrong Games, has released over 120 titles since it was first founded by Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth in 1998

Notable games from the company include the Sing Star series, Microsoft Train Simulator, Zumba Fitness and Art Academy. The developer is currently working on Xbox One title Powerstar Golf.

In 2012, Dominic Wheatley and Gary Bracey were named as CEO and commercial director, and Bracey told Develop the studio’s success was down to establishing a reputation for reliability and “consistent quality”.

“As a studio ‘system’ we are able to incorporate a separate administrative function which allows the studios to focus 100 per cent on developing the games and not be distracted by the usual commercial issues such as HR, IT, finance, legal, etcetera,” he said.

“We have an excellent record for repeat business from major publishers who turn to us when they need both experience and innovation.”

Bracey also had words of advice on how other UK studios could help ensure they stay in business for years to come, warning developers not to get complacent, and to retain their core team of developers.

“In a hits-driven industry you are only as good as your last game so there is never a chance to rest on your laurels,” he said.

“We also believe a key to continuity is to retain your core team who will provide consistency and stability, and it is equally important to reward everyone on the project if they deliver the game on time, budget and of the expected quality.”

Not content to rest on their laurels, Bracey said the company was keen to take advantage of new opportunities in the digital space and create more new games over the next few years, some of which are already in development.

“We have ambition and believe the new market opportunities in digital will allow us to grow organically and conservatively, should our projects be successful,” he said.

“There has been a sea-change which now means the old work-for-hire model is becoming increasingly outdated but this opens up new avenues for unique and innovative ideas to be executed across all mobile and console and Smart TV platforms. We are looking to leverage our vast experience and know-how to create some ground-breaking games over the next couple of years, some of which are already underway.”

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