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The Gamasutra 20: 2008's Breakthrough Developers

August 13, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 17 of 21 Next

Gamasutra 20 'Breakthrough' Honoree:


Studio overview

Q-Games is based in Kyoto; the company was founded with the dual missions to develop accessible, original games for consoles and to research and expand 3D technology.

The studio has developed technology for publishers such as Sony, for whom it developed the Xross Media Bar main interface of the PlayStation 3. Q-Games' first titles to be published were for Nintendo -- DigiDrive on the Game Boy Advance and Star Fox Command on the DS.

Key staff

Dylan Cuthbert is the president and managing director of Q-Games; before founding the studio in 2001, he worked at Argonaut Software on games including Starglider and the first Star Fox. After that, he moved to Sony, where he was responsible for the famous duck-in-a-bath demo that was shown at the press conference announcing the PlayStation 2.

Vice president and director Kenkichi Shimooka is a Sony veteran who worked on titles such as Ape Escape; he cofounded Q-Games with Cuthbert.

Resume highlights

While Q-Games has been known for its work behind-the-scenes doing technological development, the company's PixelJunk series is what has gained it attention from a wider audience.

The driving concept behind the games is that they be downloadable HD titles developed by small teams with fast schedules.

The first title in the series, slot-car racer PixelJunk Racers, was released on the PlayStation Network in 2007; it was followed just four months later by 2008's PixelJunk Monsters, a tower defense game that requires players to strategically place resources to ward off invaders.

What's next

Platform puzzler and visual stunner PixelJunk Eden has just debuted; gamers can upload gameplay videos directly to YouTube, and more titles in the PixelJunk series are promised.

Our take

"Having been a seminal player in the East-West coalition that brought us Star Fox, Dylan Cuthbert formed Q Games as a Westerner in Japan , a rare thing that leads to some interesting cross-cultural productions. I appreciate that his company's work can be alternative even when working with massive companies -- the Nintendo-published Digidrive, for example.

But I especially enjoy Q's retro angles on classic gameplay, as showcased in the PixelJunk series. I even enjoyed PixelJunk Racers as a paean to classic '80s British gaming, when I suspect others did not -- and PixelJunk Monsters is one of the best-executed short-form digital games on any service to date.

Most importantly, building a brand around your games is important in today's indie-centric markets, and the PixelJunk series is doing that with aplomb -- I practically want to buy Eden just because it's branded as a PixelJunk title, which is the kind of loyalty which breakthrough developers should be engendering.

Oh, and I can't wait for the alleged second series of 3D retro PixelJunk games -- a wireframe shooter, maybe?"
- Simon Carless

Article Start Previous Page 17 of 21 Next

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