Concluding Develop's look over the leading games companies based in the Midlands area, below we've profiled audio specialists High Score Productions and Impromptu Software.
To read our full roundtable with the Midlands' leading studio heads, click here.
HIGH SCORE PRODUCTIONS
Number of staff: 3
Year founded: 2004
Hugh Edwards (director)
Beijing 2008 Olympics, Fallout 3, IL2 Sturmovik: Birds Of Prey, LEGO Batman, Ultimate ISPY
Currently working on:
Unannounced titles for Eidos and Blitz
High Score Productions is an audio-outsourcing company based in Banbury, Oxfordshire that specialises in creating music, sound-design, voiceover and localised audio specifically for games. High Score has a permanent team of three and several regular contractors across their two studios.
High Score has worked for many large UK, European and American publishers and developers, including Eidos, Sega, EA, Activision, Rebellion, Oxygen, Blitz Games and 505 Games to name but a few – and believes that it always leaves a client satisfied.
Since the outfit’s conception in 2004, the team has worked on over 70 game titles across all platforms such as PC, console, handheld and mobile, having originally worked in the television and film arena.
"We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on some fabulous titles over the past few years and have a very large, ever-growing professional client-base,” says director Hugh Edwards.
“Once we gain new clients, they always come back to us, I think because of our attention to detail and the fact that we really do care. It’s all about making the best game possible for the audience and like it or not, audio is easily 30 per cent of the gamer’s experience. Graphics sell games – graphics, gameplay and audio make the player come back again and again."
Edwards believes that the studio’s location makes it very cost-effective when compared to the traditional Soho outfit, and that this is more important now than ever before.
"One of the things that we’ve always scratched our heads about is why people traditionally think that you need to be in Soho to be able to produce great quality audio for games,” he claims.
“It’s all about the talent in your people and all our guys are spot-on. Since the credit crunch came about people have been very pleasantly surprised to see that we’re just naturally more commercially viable than a lot of our larger competitors, simply because of our location. The days of large London audio studios are coming to an end – it’s just not necessary."
"If we need to record in London, we record in London. If we need to record in LA, we record in LA. We have the best of both worlds, our audio is of the utmost quality, and our costing model is transparent and realistic."
High Score Productions
E: via website
Tel: 44 (0) 1295 738337
Number of staff: 5
Year founded: Registered 1999, started business 2006
Location: South Derbyshire
Nigel James Brown (managing director and technical audio consultant)
Virtua Tennis 2009, GTI Club+, Sega Superstars, B-Boy, Flat Out Head On
Currently working on:
Three projects across all major handheld and console platforms
First registered as a company in 1999, Nigel James Brown’s Impromptu Software was initially formed to function as a vehicle for the promotion of the i2MS cross-platform interactive music system.
Soon after the studio’s conception, Brown went on to work for both Core and Microprose, before a period freelancing while he developed a new interactive audio system by the name of iSAudio. As a result Impromptu lay relatively dormant until 2006, which saw the company become an entity in its own right, offering the iSAudio tech to developers looking for a cross-platform sound solution.
“Our mission is to be innovative with audio and try and push the limits of each console’s audio hardware to achieve the best cross-platform solution available,” reveals Brown. “We believe passionately that audio should be planned and integrated within the game from day one – not just an afterthought. We believe in building partnerships with external audio outsource talent that we can call upon for specific game requirements.”
Currently working on three projects across all the major console and handheld platforms, Impromptu is focused on constantly developing its technology to integrate with emerging formats. The emphasis on evolving iSAudio means working directly on projects, adding support for the tech’s tools into the game developer’s export pipeline. Impromptu also assists with the sourcing and implementation of sound, and has started to supply iSAudio as a middleware solution for cross-platform development overseas.
“We are currently like no other audio middleware company because we will work directly with the projects that we get involved with,” says Brown. “We also bring a complete solution for cross-platform audio support that can be tailored to suit many game genres. We should really be called ‘The Entire Audio Department for Hire’ because that’s how many of our clients view us.”
Looking to the future, Impromptu is looking to further its course down the route for licensing its middleware solution, while continuing to expand the portfolio of games on which it has worked.
“We’re very pleased to be a part of the many titles we’ve worked on over the years,” enthuses Brown. “It’s really nice to be part of a team that has been nominated or won awards. Sega Superstars Tennis was nominated for a Develop award in 2008, and B-Boy won a Develop award for Audio Accomplishment and was also nominated for a BAFTA.”