After the recent announcement of Shiny Entertainment's acquisition by Foundation 9 Entertainment, things are looking up for the company. With a new license at the ready, the company aims to re-establish itself in the next generation.
Shiny studio head Michael 'Saxs' Persson, a skilled Scandinavian coder turned manager whose background was in the 'demo-scene' of the early 1990s, made key technical contributions to many of Shiny's major games, including Sacrifice, Messiah, Enter The Matrix and The Matrix: Path Of Neo. We spoke to Persson about the deal, the existing IPs (including Earthworm Jim), and the company's future without either Dave Perry or Atari at the helm.
Gamasutra: How did the deal with Foundation 9 come about?
Michael Persson: Atari made it public back in February I believe, that they were going to sell of all their internal studios. So back then we started communicating with a whole range of different publishers and developers and private interests.
Foundation 9 was brought on the table in April, and it was a long courtship back and forth, just to see if it was a good fit. We spent a long time looking at the studio and talking to everybody, and in the end they had a really good project for us, and a really good plan, and I really like Jon (Goldman, F9E CEO), so it was just a really good fit for us, and by far the best option we had, and the title we're working on is awesome.
GS: Ah, so they actually had a project to propose to you?
GS: And how many people are currently at Shiny?
MP: Fifty right now, but we're expecting to reach about 80 in some time. A lot of that is contracting, and temporary employment, but about 80 by Christmas probably.
GS: And will you be moving, or staying where you are?
MP: For now we're staying where we are. I think Jon has mentioned this but they want to make a headquarters for Foundation 9, probably in Irvine, and we would move there, and the collective would move there, so the corporate HQ, the Collective HQ and the Shiny HQ would be in the same area. It just makes more sense, as we can save more costs of running the studio, and it'll make it easier for us to cooperate on technology and what have you.
GS: Were you working on anything as you were leaving?
MP: I'm not sure how much was made public...we went to E3 and showed a couple of titles this year, in very early development on PSP, and we were working on a big title on the side for Atari. But it just didn't fit the product portfolio. They wanted an external studio, they weren't interested in an internal studio, so it was mostly just updating our tech and making sure we could perform well on next-gen platforms.
GS: How's that going?
MP: It's going really well. We're operational on both PS3 and 360, and have started on the Wii. We're still running on PS2 and PSP too, so we're across all current platforms.