Stockton-on-Tees born brothers Darren and Jason Falcus this month complete an amazing fifteen years in business together and are now making plans for the next 15 years.
The brothers are both veterans of the video games development industry, having started programming as long ago as 1981 and having set up their first development business in February 1988. Since setting up that first business, called Optimus Software Limited and based in Stockton, the brothers have created video games products generating retail sales in excess of a staggering $500m.
Darren and Jason, now 34 and 33 respectively, sold Optimus to the Texas based company Iguana Entertainment Inc in 1993 and the business was moved to premises in Middlesbrough. Iguana was subsequently acquired by the giant US corporation, Acclaim Entertainment and the brothers managed Acclaim’s Teesside studio in Stockton until mid 2000 when they decided to ‘go it alone’ and start again.
“The first fifteen years have been full of highs and lows, ranging from working 100 hour weeks through to enjoying the luxuries of international travel” explains Darren. “And we’ve had some brotherly battles along the way!.....but the bloodshed has been minimal”.
Having returned to the world of independent games development the brothers’ new company, Atomic Planet Entertainment Limited, has won lucrative contracts with a number of the most important companies in the industry, to develop games across all major platforms. With office expansion, further staff recruitment and the development of new technologies ongoing, the next fifteen years is looking great for all those involved with Atomic Planet.
“The differences between the working environments and support systems associated with small independent studios and those of the major multi-national leisure businesses are awesome” continues Darren “and we are now two years into our second cycle, although this time we have a successful track-record, much greater business experience and a degree of commercial acumen to fall back on”.
Jason agrees “We’ve probably seen more changes, and overcome more problems in our first fifteen years than many people see in a lifetime – and we’re still good friends as well as brothers!”