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The Gamasutra 20: 2008's Breakthrough Developers

August 13, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 21 Next

Gamasutra 20 'Breakthrough' Honoree:

5th Cell

Studio overview

5th Cell was founded in 2003, and is located in Bellevue, WA. The studio's first projects were for mobile platforms, including both original titles (Siege, SEAL Team 6) and licensed games (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Full Spectrum Warrior).

In 2006, 5th Cell released PC puzzle game D.N.A. and announced its first DS title, Drawn to Life.

Key staff

Cofounder and general manager Joseph M. Tringali handles studio management and oversees project development and overall company direction. Cofounder and chief creative officer Jeremiah Slaczka has acted as both lead designer and creative director for the majority of titles created by 5th Cell.

Resume highlights

The studio's first DS title, Drawn to Life, capitalized on the unique qualities of the DS as a platform, and the creative aspect that allowed players to use the stylus to hand-draw the game's protagonist and other objects in the game struck a positive note with critics and gamers alike.

IGN gave Drawn to Life an award for Most Innovative Design for a DS title, and it was the only handheld title to be listed as a nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Story Development at this year's DICE Summit.

Notably, THQ's DS sales profits also rose 94 percent over the last three quarters of 2007, an increase that was attributed primarily to Drawn to Life.

What's next

Lock's Quest, a DS title that melds together RPG and RTS elements, is being published this fall by THQ; the game looks like it will further solidify 5th Cell's growing reputation as a company that creates innovative titles that take advantage of their platform.

Our take

"This team started in the mobile space, but wanted to start on original IP for consoles -- and so did. It was a struggle. The team shrank, and so did morale, but 5th Cell managed to release Drawn to Life on the DS, to success.

While the game was far from perfect, the concept was innovative and sound, and proved that original content can and should work on the DS.

This year, 5TH Cell will be releasing another new DS IP, with a decidedly chunky pixel look (Lock's Quest), proving that lightning can strike twice, even when the studio's chosen publisher has a much higher penchant for licenses."
- Brandon Sheffield

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 21 Next

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