Despite LucasArts split, Brighton-based team still in the music business, says studio boss.

Zoe Mode still looking at Traxion’s ‘potential’

Although Zoe Mode famously parted ways with LucasArts over its upcoming PSP music game Traxion earlier this year, head of the studio Ed Daly has told Develop that the project may still see the light of day – and would even be a good fit as an iPod game.

Traxion was amongst clutch of games developed by UK studios that LucasArts had signed and announced at E3 a year ago. The game generated puzzle and action games on the fly based on user-owned MP3s stored on the PSP memorystick. However, the two recently parted company, putting the kibosh on Traxion making it to retail.

However, Daly explained that Zoe Mode (and its owner Kuju) has retained the rights to the IP, and now the team is looking at ways it can fit on other formats as well as PSP – the only problem being that all its staff are swamped with work on new projects such as SingStar and EyeToy titles for Sony and unannounced next-gen titles.

"The terms of the deal with LucasArts are still confidential, so I can’t comment on the details – but we have retained the rights to the IP and we’re now looking at what we can do with the IP and the technology and what it’s potential is," said Daly.

"There’s no one specifically on the team at the moment purely because there are no staff free to look at it. When the teams free up the idea might find place on next-gen formats, or mobile phones or even iPods – there’s plenty of use for the tech, but we just need to figure out what that will be and then build the resource so we can take the next step with tit.

"Although what happened with LucasArts was unfortunate, I think we’ve ended up in a better position now that we own the IP.
There’s a long history of games that have been canned and came back as great proposition."

Zoe Mode also has another music/puzzle game in the works thanks to an idea that’s come out of its self-funded demo team, which rotates membership amongst internal staff based on project availability ("The team’s a recent thing but we’re really happy with what’s come out of it," said Daly.)

The first game is a music puzzle game that lets players create music, a concept "where the game drives the music rather than the music the game" explained Daly.

Of the team’s plans to distribute that game, Daly said: "The plan now is to finish it internally and then look at either a retail distribution deal, or a traditional publishing deal or to do a PSN or XBLA release."

He added: “It interesting as there is no longer that one straightforward route to market – and we’re able to think that maybe we are better off investing a bit more in the self-publishing route. There are only a finite number of companies or publishers willing to invest so certain games we aren’t always going to chase a traditional publishing deal for them."

A comprehensive interview with Daly which discusses the company’s decision to rebrand the studio from Kuju Brighton to Zoe Mode, the studio’s working pratices and upcoming game Crush, can be found in the latest issue of Develop, which can be downloaded here.

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