University of Southern California launches its own publishing label

USC Games Publishing to focus on highlighting ‘innovative’ work from both students and the wider dev community
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The university that spawned such titles as Fl0w, The Unfinished Swan and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom is to move into games publishing.

The University of Southern California (USC) has announced the launch of USC Games Publishing, a label that it hopes will bring to the fore boundary-pushing work and allow developers to create without restrictions.

Releasing titles across console, PC and mobile, the newly-founded arm will initially start off by promoting USC students’ games, before moving to look at the global development scene in the future.

"Curation is one of the most important things that players deserve these days,” USC Games director Tracy Fullerton told Wired.

“There’s a tremendous amount of content available for people to find, and yet it’s very difficult to find. One of the ways that this label that we’re establishing can participate is by curating important voices, really innovative work, and putting it out there under our publishing label.”

Among the first games to be released through USC Games is Chambara. Its lead designer, Esteban Fajardo, highlighted USC Games’ concentration on providing power to developers.

“They’ve given us complete creative autonomy,” he said.

“Occasionally we’ve just been like, Wow, they’re really trusting us to put crazy things in there.”

Past USC alumni include Jenova Chen of Thatgamecompany, best known for Journey and Fl0w – the latter game started as a USC student project. The Unfinished Swan and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom count among other USC student work that were eventually fully released.

Fullerton added: “We are not expecting to make a profit. We hope that what we reap from this is cultural recognition of this form.

"When people look to academic publishers in the print area, you look at someone like an MIT Press. These are not books that are going to necessarily be on The New York Times best-seller list, but these are books that are important, that need to be out there in the zeitgeist. I feel like we can do something similar here with games.”

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