Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games has confirmed that the initial wave of game add-on content for Resident Evil 6 will be available on December 18 exclusively first on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.
Jetting on Nintendo’s Coat Tails - Jet Black Games revs up to produce its own titles
Formed in April 2007 by a core team of Electronic Arts Canada veterans, Jet Black Games has bet big on the Nintendo platform - and so far, it’s looking to be a handsome bet. Co-founder and CEO Roger Freddi brought in his brother Raffaele to serve as President of the company. The Freddis and CTO Stephane Jacoby formed the founding team. Jet Black Games’ Vancouver studio, with a staff of 15, has developed Nintendo titles for Activision, THQ and Ubisoft.
“I guess you can call us relatively new, but we’ve gotten over that ’hump,’ you know, the first twelve months,” explained Raffaele Freddi. “[Roger and Stephane] wanted to get out of the big corporate developer mindset. They were at EA, and they wanted to shoot off on their own and create a new enterprise. They asked me to come onboard to help on the administrative side of things.”
While Jet Black Games is also gearing up to develop games for the iPhone, its core business has been in producing games for Nintendo DS and Wii systems. “Nintendo has a great installed base. There’s a tremendous number of users that own the DS. Right off the get-go it [gave us] the ability to appeal to a mass market,” Raffaele Freddi said.
With the introduction of the DSi and DS2, Nintendo should continue to perform well in the marketplace. Indeed, analysts at Screen Digest have forecast that the DS platform installed base will top 142 million worldwide by 2011, and achieve a staggering 89% household penetration in Japan alone. “Nintendo has taken some gambles, and has come out on the strong end of a lot of them. In a sense [Jet Black Games] was almost riding off the coat-tails of Nintendo’s success. But the fundamentals seem to work,” Freddi continued.
Before Jet Black Games ever opened its doors, its founding team had previously contributed to the development of an assortment of best-selling titles for major publishers, such as Need for Speed, FIFA, NHL, Scarface and 007. That depth and breadth of experience, along with the game-industry relationships they imply, have given Jet Black Games something of a running start.
Jet Black Games’s work building DS and Wii games for major game-industry publishers has set the stage for the company to work on original titles. “That’s a bit of a holy grail in the industry, starting off with work-for-hire,” Freddi said. “We’ve been lucky enough to have relationships with some of the Tier-1 publishers in the industry. That’s allowed us to structure the company with the right staff.”
“Doing this for three years has given us a sense of confidence to look to that objective of coming out with some original IP,” Freddi elaborated. “I think we’ll continue doing the bread-&-butter of work-for-hire, but ideally, ultimately we would like to be self-reliant, and be able to make games that we really control 100%.”
Jet Black Games has done an impressive job of buttering its bread. It has developed Dancing With The Stars on DS for Activision, Neighborhood Games on Wii for THQ, Baby Pals and Purr Pals on DS for Crave Entertainment, to name just a few.
While Jet Black Games will likely remain Vancouver-based, the company has bicoastal ambitions. “It just so happened that the original founders that had the gaming experience were based in Vancouver. So we decided to draw on the talent from Vancouver. [But] we keep exploring the notion of perhaps developing an offshoot in Montreal. Montreal is starting to be a very strong community of videogame companies as well.”
Video interview and photo: Charles Premont, reporter, www.lienmultimedia.com and [www.videoGAMEScanada.ca].
Text: Daniel de Segovia Gross, a nomadic Internet pioneer and software designer.
Fujitsu Canada, Inc. introduced the newest addition to its portable ScanSnap product lineup. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is the company’s next generation mobile multi-page scanner that provides the same easy-to-use one-button scanning and reliable operation as its predecessors. With enhanced productivity features and added versatility, it is also the first ScanSnap scanner designed for full cross-platform functionality for PC and Mac.