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The Gamasutra 20: 2008's Breakthrough Developers

August 13, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 7 of 21 Next

Gamasutra 20 'Breakthrough' Honoree:

Certain Affinity

Studio overview

The company was formed in 2006 and is based in Austin; it got its start by developing the Blastacular map pack for Halo 2.

Key staff

President Max Hoberman is a former Bungie employee. After almost a decade with the studio, the native Texan wanted to move back to his home state; while he initially worked remotely from Austin, he eventually left Bungie to found his own studio.

Resume highlights

Thanks to its first project, the multiplayer maps Tombstone and Desolation for Halo 2, Certain Affinity has been able to self-fund the development of its first original title, the downloadable title Age of Booty (formerly Plunder).

The real-time strategy pirate game takes old-school elements like grid-based gameplay and wraps them in a more casual-gamer friendly package, with a board-game feel and online multiplayer of up to eight players. Certain Affinity has also been contracted to work on the Xbox 360 port of the upcoming Left 4 Dead.

What's next

Age of Booty will be released for XBLA, PSN, and PC later this year; the 360 port of Left 4 Dead is scheduled to be released this November.

Our take

"You know a studio is up and coming when, in its short two-year history, it's already worked on one of the greatest franchises of all time -- with the Halo 2 map packs -- and managed to get a hex-based digital download project signed by Capcom, while helping Valve on a console version of Left 4 Dead. That's quite a combo.

What those projects clearly show of Certain Affinity -- and of many of the other breakthrough studios profiled in this Gamasutra 20 -- is that you need to be smart and agile to survive in today's business, and that means mixing and matching work for hire projects with original IP and other less mainstream angles.

If you can do this correctly, you'll build up a stable of your own original work while proving your worth and reliability -- which is just what Hoberman and his Certain Affinity cohorts seem to be doing."
- Simon Carless

Article Start Previous Page 7 of 21 Next

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