22nd Jun 2010 | 15:45
UK development studio Eutechnyx is best known for its racing titles - including Supercar Challenge and Ferrari Challenge.
Last month, it moved up a gear - professionally speaking - with a massive £6 million investment from Amsterdam technology company Prime Technology Ventures.
The studio has promised to create a 'revolutionary racer' with the cash - something we like the sound of very much indeed.
We caught up with boss Darren Jobling to get the inside track...
What will Eutechnyx primarily use this investment for - and how will it improve you as a studio?
We intend to spend most of the investment on talent acquisition. We pride ourselves on hiring the best talent in development but we are also looking to attract marketing, community management, customer support, etc, roles not traditional to studios.
We have already begun recruitment of some big names in the industry, such as Ed Martin from EA, with more to be announced in the near future.
We also plan to invest in online infrastructure and marketing for Auto Club Revolution and other future products.
Do you believe this investment makes it likely that your next games will be picked up by major publishers?
Eutechnyx has completed games with all of the largest publishers in the industry, including Activision Blizzard, EA and Take 2.
We have a good reputation within the majors - however, this investment will allow us to further enrich our product offerings which can only help when working with the big name publishers.
We have some really exciting new projects in the pipeline, with one already having been picked up by one of the biggest publishers in the industry.
With the extra cash in the bank, how does Eutechnyx now compare with the likes of Codemasters and EA in the racing genre?
EA and Codemasters have both had fantastic success with various racing titles, but so has Eutechnyx - we have one of the highest average unit sales of any independent developer.
The investment we have now secured will serve us well as we look to bring to market some highly innovative titles.
Our main strength is our independence - it gives us the freedom to try different projects and not be focussed on any one particular game. I think some internal studios become known for one specific title and are left developing variations on that game year after year. Being independent means we don't necessarily have to follow that repetition business model.
Are you working on any 3D gaming in racing - and how can this investment help with that?
Eutechnyx is always working on innovative ways to use current and future technology in partnership with the hardware manufacturers, and racing games gain a great deal from the use of applied 3D.
3D is just one of the areas of R&D that will benefit from the Prime Technology Ventures/North Star investment.
Do you think the racing genre can lead the brave new world of 3D?
I certainly don't see any reasons why the racing genre couldn't lead the way. 3D technology adds a lot of depth and enriches the driving experience. Corners and braking distances are easier to judge in 3D and the car's cockpit becomes a much more engaging experience.
Is the tech available for 3D to break through this generation?
We have seen the technology used already, but it's still a relatively new experience with not many households capable of running 3D games. Over the next couple of years I think we will see some major technology advances that should take 3D gaming into the mass market.
We've heard a lot about head tracking in racing games recently. Do you think this will become a genuine trend - and is it something you're working on?
Head tracking certainly has the potential to really add an extra dimension to gameplay, whether or not it becomes a standard feature within games is yet to be seen though. We will certainly be looking to see if its implementation would improve the experience of our games, so who knows what's round the corner?
Are you - or will you with the new money - create any Move or Natal titles?
We are always working with the major manufacturers to find ways of using current and future technology to further enrich the experience gamers get from our games. At the moment it is all confidential but watch this space...
Could this cash help Eutechnyx diversify to create more than just the racing titles you're famous for?
Eutechnyx has developed over 350 games in our 20 years, ranging from football management to shooters. We are currently working with Deep Silver in the development of Ride to Hell for PS3 and Xbox 360 - an action adventure game based on late '60s biker gang culture in the USA. So we have been diversifying even without the cash.
Do you think it's necessary for UK studios to drum up this kind of investment to survive?
I'm not sure any studio is looking to just "survive" - survival makes for a really bad business plan and is not attractive to potential investors. Unfortunately, investors aren't looking for their money to prop up failing businesses. Deals like the one we have done are designed to take studios to the next level and ensure stability during the development phase.
We will be using our investment for expansion, increasing our staff, enriching the gameplay experience of our upcoming titles and bringing to market some really innovative new titles.