First Kuju outfit outside of the UK will be focused on casual games and headed by former Eidos exec John Kavanagh

Kuju opens studio in San Francisco

Just weeks before the world’s developers convene on San Francisco for GDC08, Kuju has announced it has opened a permanent base in the city with founding of a casual games studio.

Kuju America is the first of the firm’s studios to be based outside of the UK and joins the firm’s roster of six other studios, which include Zoe Mode, Chemistry, Nik Nak, Doublesix, Railway Simulator and Kuju London.

The studio will be focused purely on games for the booming casual games sector, and is already collaborating with Kuju stablemate Zoe Mode on a Wii title based on a well-known IP.

John Kavanagh will be heading up the new USA office. He commented: added "It’s great to be working with Kuju to start this new enterprise. I’ve known Kuju and the management team for many years and I really approve of their model of multiple autonomous studios. I’m looking forward to making Kuju America the next successful Kuju studio."

Kuju exec Jonathan Newth added: “The US, and San Francisco in particular, is a natural choice for our first non-UK studio. It’s a hotbed of talent, home to many leading publishers and some of the leading US games press. We’re delighted to have John on board, with his wealth of experience and contacts, to maximise the potential of the business in the area “

Newth added that the move was “an exciting and significant step for the Kuju group of studios”.

In late 2006 the firm was acquired by German group Catalis and has since set about rebranding its stable of studios. Late in 2007 it opened a new studio (Nik Nak) to make kids’ titles, and allowed another (Doublesix) to start focusing on games made purely for digital distribution. Brighton-based Zoe Mode specialises in massmarket and lifestyle entertainment games, Chemistry focuses purely on games built with UE3, while Kuju London enjoys a close first-party publishing relationship with Nintendo.

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