Renowned UK racing game studio, Brighton-based Climax (of Moto GP
fame), is to be known as Black Rock Studio from now on, cementing its new status as part of the Disney Interactive Studios group.
Black Rock is Disney?s only European studio to date and stands alongside Vancouver-based Propaganda Games and Salt Lake City- based Avalanche Software and Fall Line Studios.
The renaming of the UK studio follows recent news that Disney intends to increase spending on its group of Interactive Studios? plans by up to $350m (£175m) a year by 2010.
Tony Beckwith, co-founder and general manager of Black Rock Studio, said, "The new name symbolises the next chapter in our development of outstanding games for the next generation and beyond. Being part of the creative family of Disney Interactive Studios and having access to the breadth and scope of the resources of the Walt Disney Company will enhance our ability to create award-winning titles that inspire and challenge gamers throughout the world."
Graham Hopper, executive VP and GM of Disney Interactive Studios, said of the deal, "Black Rock has distinguished itself as one of the world's premier racing studios and well deserves its position as a centre of creative excellence for racing. The studio has proven to be a perfect addition for us and with the re-naming to Black Rock starts the next phase of our journey together."
In other Disney news, the release of the forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean Online
game for PC has been put back to this autumn, with a second phase of beta-testing on the game scheduled to kick off in September, with the company releasing the following statement:
?Disney has been in the beta testing process for Pirates of the Caribbean Online for the past several months. After a careful internal assessment of the state of game development as well as a review of external feedback, we have elected to spend additional development time and move to a fall launch. We will use this extra time to further enhance the game, respond to additional data we've collected during beta testing and incorporate more of the input we have gathered. July 16 will conclude phase 1 of the beta testing and we will resume phase 2 with a new game build in September.
In the meantime, we will continue to support and grow the strong community that has congregated around Pirates of the Caribbean Online through monthly developer diaries and newsletters, the delivery of new screen shots and assets, hosting a variety of in-game and fan events and through other exciting creative campaigns. All new materials and community information can be found at www.PiratesOnline.com.?
SPOnG will be catching up with Disney?s Graham Hopper this coming week at E3 to quiz him about all things Disney Interactive. If you have any burning questions you wish for us to put to him, then pop them in the Forum below.