Interview: A decade of Voofoo - MCV

Interview: A decade of Voofoo

Jem Alexander speaks with marketing and PR manager, Sean Walsh on VooFoo Studio’s tenth birthday
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PLEASE GIVE AN OVERVIEW OF VOOFOO’S HISTORY?
Birmingham based VooFoo Studios was founded ten years ago, in 2007, by Mark Williams (ex Rage and Juiced Games) with a clear ambition to create fun, best in class games that anyone can play. Whilst we remain relatively small at eleven people, we have grown both in size and stature to a firmly established indie studio. We’ve worked hard to develop and grow our reputation for developing visually stunning games all of which have proudly been developed using our own in-house tech and game engine.

Our first game, Hustle Kings, published by Sony in 2009, reached the top of the PSN charts and earned us two Develop Awards nominations. Our stature rose significantly with the development of the ‘Pure’ series of games. 2016 saw VooFoo move into publishing with the release of our first owned IP, the highly acclaimed top-down racer, Mantis Burn Racing, on PS4, Xbox One and Steam. As we celebrate ten years in the industry, VooFoo is now entering into an extremely exciting and busy chapter in our history.

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It’s fantastic to be part of such a diverse and incredibly creative indie sector


Sean Walsh, VooFoo Studios

WHAT IS VOOFOO WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
We’re currently in our busiest period as a studio with a number of as yet unannounced projects in development. For a tight team our project schedule is pretty diverse and often ambitious and we prefer it that way. The feedback we’ve received from the community for Mantis Burn Racing has been incredible and we’re continuing to support that both in terms of new content, features and updates. We’re also working to bring the game to a wider audience and onto new platforms. While we can’t talk too much about the specifics of some of our other working projects, they do include the development of a new IP which is about as far removed from our other games as you can get.From a technical point of view we’re making regular improvements to our in-house game engine including re-writing the graphics engine to take advantage of new state of the art graphics architectures.

We’re also working to bring the game to a wider audience and onto new platforms. While we can’t talk too much about the specifics of some of our other working projects, they do include the development of a new IP which is about as far removed from our other games as you can get.From a technical point of view we’re making regular improvements to our in-house game engine including re-writing the graphics engine to take advantage of new state of the art graphics architectures.

We’re also working to bring the game to a wider audience and onto new platforms. While we can’t talk too much about the specifics of some of our other working projects, they do include the development of a new IP which is about as far removed from our other games as you can get.From a technical point of view we’re making regular improvements to our in-house game engine including re-writing the graphics engine to take advantage of new state of the art graphics architectures.

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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF VOOFOO LOOK LIKE?
We firmly believe our biggest achievements are still ahead of us. Publishing Mantis Burn Racing last year was incredibly exciting. This is an area we’re going to be developing more, working on more of our own IP, as well as with third party developers. We’re focused on making bigger, better games, further developing our in-house tech tools, growing the publishing side of the business and potentially licensing out our proprietary technology and tools.

WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE UK GAMES INDUSTRY AND ITS PLACE IN THE GLOBAL GAMES COMMUNITY?
The UK has always been at the forefront of the global games industry, which is something we can all be proud of. We’re seeing the market for games globally growing bigger and bigger, which means there are more and more opportunities for UK games companies to take advantage of across emerging sectors like mobile, VR and esports.

This strong position is no more evident than the indie sector with games often raising the quality bar so high that their production values can easily be compared to triple-A titles. It’s fantastic to be part of such a diverse and incredibly creative indie sector where passion and innovation often see small team’s punch above their weight, releasing incredibly high quality, commercially successful games.

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HOW AND WHY ARE YOU GOING ABOUT EXPANDING INTO PUBLISHING?
While it’s quite evident that publishing brings many risks and challenges, it also brings many of the rewards and opportunities that we as a studio want to be able to benefit from. We’ve worked hard over the past ten years to grow the capability of the studio to the point where we are confident in our ability to not only manage but also maximise the entire publishing process on behalf of others.

We’ve learned a lot about the digital distribution process and found that we were already capable of doing a lot of the publishing tasks ourselves. Crucially, as we are primarily a development team, we understand first hand the risks and pitfalls that studios face when publishing their games, particularly smaller indie teams. We’ve taken the journey they’re taking plus we’ve worked with other publishers, so we understand what it takes to take a game to market profitably.

There are so many small indie teams out there making great games that can benefit from what we’ve learned, from our relationships with platform holders and our marketing experience, without which many games would not fulfil their potential. We know we have a lot to offer, so if you’re working on a great game and want a publisher who can really make a difference to the success of your game, get in touch.

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