It’s fair to say that Nintendo is a little choosey when it comes to first-party relationships, so any developer with a direct link to the Kyoto giant’s headquarters must be doing something right. And when that developer is in charge of the Battalion Wars series, one of Nintendo’s most beloved properties, you know it must be a studio with a rock solid reputation.
“Nintendo has brought us a tremendous amount,” says Headstrong's studio head, Bradley Crooks. “In terms of both hardware and software they have challenged us and encouraged us to think outside the box.
"Nintendo production staff make visits to Headstrong, but on the whole Nintendo prefer to trust their developers to be able to take the creative lead on projects with a limited amount of direction. We get valuable input and feedback from our Nintendo colleagues, but ultimately it is Headstrong that is encouraged to provide the technical and creative innovation in the games we work on.”
But it would be wrong to think Headstrong is only known for one property, having built up a diverse portfolio in its short time. Its previous titles include the fiery sounding Fireblade, Reign of Fire and Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior.
But conspicuously Headstrong was the last studio to have gone through the company’s re-branding exercise. This was largely because it had already garnered a worldwide reputation and, well, the name fitted. Situated on the south side of the Thames its location couldn’t be more spectacular, with the Globe theatre, The Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s all a stone’s throw away.
“Headstrong but the studio has a real energy to it that comes from the kind of projects we’ve had the good fortune to be able to the work on,” enthuses Crooks.
“The best thing about being on the south side of the river is that we get many of the benefits of being near the city without actually being in it. There are lots of new bars and restaurants along the river but also the more down-to-earth feel of Borough Market and the rest of Southwark where not too many suits venture. We’re Tate Modern rather than St Pauls.”
With the acclaimed Battalion Wars 2 now under its belt, and three other games currently in development, Headstrong is now looking to recruit and expand. And if being in the cultural nexus of London doesn’t appeal, having a direct link to some of Nintendo’s most creative minds has to be a deal clincher in its own right. And now that it's cooperating with Sega, another Japanese giant, Headstrong to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.