The Copenhagen-based studio The Game Equation consists of developers who previously contributed to the top-selling (and now a bad major motion picture!) Hitman series of games, who have decided to focus on an entirely different direction - casual games.
"After working on top-rated shooters for years, we were ready to work in a smaller company and make smaller games. We started to notice how people with our background were making top hits in the casual games industry," explains Brian Meidell, co-owner of the Copenhagen based company, The Game Equation. "We realized that the high end of the casual games industry was within our reach, and that the shorter product cycles and smaller company setting was exactly what we wanted.
Top-tier developers making a switch to the casual games sector? It's happened before, and as the casual gaming market continues to grow in leaps and bounds it is bound to happen again.
The company's first game, Deep Blue Sea (demo for Mac and PC available here), is a pretty standard swap-three puzzler with a treasure hunting theme that adds a slight bit of strategy by requiring you get your diver and assorted treasures to the bottom of the screen in order to progress to the next level. It's got some lovely music, but for the most part it's just your standard, addictive little time-waster of a puzzle game. That doesn't really matter. What matters - and what is the main force driving the casual market - is that people are going to download the demo and a good number of them will pay $US 20 for this tiny little game.
What I personally find interesting is that this is sort of a de-evolution of the gaming industry. Back in the late 80's and early 90's, you would download shareware from companies like ID Software and Epic Megagames and then fork out money to download the rest of the game, allowing the companies to grow. Now the process is happening in reverse, as console developers migrate towards the casual market. Just a trend to keep your eye on, and a puzzle game to while away your first day back on the job.
Former "Hitman" programmers plunge into the casual games industry.
Former "Hitman" programmers launch their first casual game, Deep Blue Sea for PC and Mac, from their new game studio, The Game Equation.
Copenhagen, Denmark - January 2nd, 2008 - The hit game, Deep Blue Sea, is the first release from the brand new game studio, The Game Equation. "After working on top-rated shooters for years, we were ready to work in a smaller company and make smaller games. We started to notice how people with our background were making top hits in the casual games industry," explains Brian Meidell, co-owner of the Copenhagen based company, The Game Equation. "We realized that the high end of the casual games industry was within our reach, and that the shorter product cycles and smaller company setting was exactly what we wanted. These are games that remind us of the ones we played when growing up," he smiles.
"We studied the different options, and decided on the match-3 genre for Deep Blue Sea," explains Bo Cordes, co-owner of The Game Equation. "Our goal was to apply our knowledge and experience towards creating a casual game with totally smooth and responsive gameplay or, 'tight' gameplay as we call it." Deep Blue Sea's initial sales and feedback indicate that they have accomplished just that.
One challenge was creating an original soundtrack that sets the mood throughout the game. "We knew from working on the internationally best-selling 'Hitman' series that the game's sound and music mean a lot for its enjoyment, yet this is often the most overlooked element," Meidell clarifies. To this end, The Game Equation contracted a Danish composer, Rasmus Hartvig with years of experience creating music for films and theatrical productions, to create an integrated music and sound design for Deep Blue Sea.
"Making music and sound for computer games is a very different challenge from making music for films - you have to consider unusual factors like, 'would this be annoying to listen to after four hours,' and, 'what if these sounds are played simultaneously?' But I'm always up for a new challenge," says Hartvig.
Deep Blue Sea is the result of The Game Equation's experienced approach and dedication to detail. Deep Blue Sea is available for PC and Mac, both versions retailing at $US 20.
Deep Blue Sea and free demo for PC and Mac available here: