After completing the transition of its sale to Gores Technology Group, the Entertainment Division of The Learning Company now sports a new name. The division will now be known as Game Studios, and it will serve both as third-party publisher and internal developer of PC and console-based content. Its offices will remain in Novato, CA, about an hour north of San Francisco.
The new studio will also be shifting its focus to reflect the changing face of the games market. GAME Studios plans to strongly support next-generation console platforms such as Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 2 Computer Entertainment System, as well as to continue development of its computer franchises such as Myst®, Chessmaster®, Championship Surfer, and the Legend of Alon D'ar.
Why GAME Studios?
"While The Learning Company name carries a lot of weight in the educational and productivity marketplaces, there has been a great deal of confusion as to our identity in the gaming community," says General Manager Jeff Hoff. "People never fail to recognise our strong franchise lines, such as Myst and Chessmaster, but as an overall brand, we've been referred to as The Learning Company, Broderbund, Mindscape, SSI, Red Orb ? you name it, we've heard it. So, we felt it was time to come up with a name that left no doubt in anyone's mind. Simply put, GAME Studios is what we do; it's who we are."
As a result, the GAME Studios brand will cover all games released by the studio, regardless of genre or platform. The GAME Studios division will also continue to market and publish products under the Strategic Simulations Inc. (SSI) brand, including role-playing games such as the upcoming Pool Of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, as well as real-time strategy, military strategy and simulation titles.
"As a result of the sale and corporate restructuring, both industry media and gamers were under the impression that SSI was going away. That definitely isn't true," says Bret Berry, Vice President of Product Development. "Since it was sold to Mindscape, Inc. in 1994, SSI has always existed as a brand within a greater divisional structure, whether it was part of Mindscape, The Learning Company or Mattel, and it will continue to do so."
Berry goes on to add, "There's no doubt that SSI has a great history, and has garnered a great deal of respect within the gaming community. When coming up with a new name and structure for our division, retaining the SSI brand as part of GAME Studios was pretty much a no-brainer."
The following is a list of the titles GAME Studios plans to publish in 2001:
April: The Moon Project (Windows)
April: Myst III: Exile (Windows /Macintosh)
May: Destroyer Command (Windows)
May: Silent Hunter II (Windows)
May: Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (Windows)
July: Larry Bond's Harpoon4 (Windows)
July: Flanker Attack (Windows)
September: Solar (Windows)
September: Warlords IV (Windows)
September: Championship Surfer (PS2)
November: Legend of Alon D'ar (PS2)