Gamespot Featured Article on PlaySide

Ex-EA Visceral game designer Gerry Sakkas heads new Melbourne-based mobile development studio; new project to start production in January, with follow-up announcement in March.

In September this year, EA shut down the Australian arm of its Visceral Games studio after reports that staff had met with HR representatives to discuss the future of the developer. At the time, EA told GameSpot AU:

“With no active project in development at that location, we’ve decided to close the Visceral Melbourne office. They are talented individuals and may find other roles elsewhere in EA, if they choose. EA continues to maintain its mobile studios in Melbourne, which are both thriving and hiring.”

Now, a former EA Visceral game designer has created his own studio Down Under. The Melbourne-based PlaySide Studios is the brainchild of Gerry Sakkas, who, after the closure of EA Visceral, was forced to make a choice between relocating to America and continuing work for EA or staying in Australia and coming up with something new. Sakkas chose the latter option, enlisting the help of some of the former EA Visceral colleagues, Aaron Pasias and Mark Goulopoulos.

PlaySide will officially open for business on January 16, and it will focus on mobile development. Its first project will be the development of a new IP for mobile devices.

Sakkas says the aim of PlaySide is to harness AAA development talent and tailor it to a mobile audience.

“We believe our studio has something really special in the sense that we can create quality assets, characters, design, and stories for any platform,” Sakkas said in a press statement about the studio’s opening.

The designer believes that while some studios are doing great things in the mobile space, many others “have got it terribly wrong.”

“Some of the larger studios have simply taken their hit titles and slapped them onto a mobile platform–this is not what mobile consumers want and it is the complete opposite of what we are setting out to do. We are all about making a completely tailored experience for the mobile platform, with the added quality and polish of a console game. Our biggest goals are to create unique and loveable characters and to make a real impact on the mobile games industry.”

The studio expects to make a new game announcement in March 2012.

More information on PlaySide, including career options, can be found on the studio’sFacebook page.

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