Shanghai-headquartered outsourcing firm Virtuos is now developing a game in an existing series for a "major publisher," making it one of the first independent Chinese companies to develop a full retail game for current-gen platforms.
Virtuos gave no more information on the game, other than it's currently in development for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP simultaneously.
Virtuos is new to full game development on Xbox 360 and PS3, although it has been doing work-for-hire development since 2005. It has offices in Vancouver and Paris, and it now has 500 employees across its Shanghai and Chengdu development locations. The company had 300 employees in 2008 and 400 in 2009.
"Steady expansion continues to enhance our ability to deliver on the natural competitive advantage of production in China," said Gilles Langourieux, CEO of Virtuos. "We have been fortunate over the years to have the benefit of excellent talent attracting great projects, and great projects attracting more excellent talent." Virtuos currently has teams that also work on online games, concept art and CG movie assets.
Western video game companies are known to set up operations in China, although few Chinese video game developers are independent and create retail games for today's consoles.
One other example is American McGee's independent Shanghai-based studio Spicy Horse, which is currently working on Alice for PC and console for Electronic Arts, although the studio is only around 60 people and doesn't handle its own large-scale asset production.
A rep for Virtuos clarified, "We don’t claim to be the first independent company in China to develop on Xbox 360 and PS3, but to be doing a title on all platforms at once."
CEO Langourieux added, "Driven by a very strong base of local talent, China will continue to evolve into a central player in game development and digital content outsourcing in the next decade."