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Outplay looks to create Scottish jobs with well-worn genres

Outplay Entertainment is a new Dundee, Scotland-based video game publisher worth taking note of. Co-founder Doug Hare talks to Gamasutra about innovating popular social game genres.
Outplay Entertainment was founded by brothers Doug and Richard Hare, both of whom have been driving forces in the Scottish video games space for a good while. The duo originally founded independent development studio The Collective in 1997, before merging with BackBone Entertainment in 2005 to form Foundation 9 Entertainment. Most recently, they revealed that the Scottish Government has granted Outplay £2.25 million ($3.56 million) in funding, allowing them to create 150 jobs in the area. The company's first two games, Word Trick and Booty Quest for Facebook, are arguably safe bets. The former is a take on Scrabble, while the second is a rather simple match-3 game. And Doug Hare tells Gamasutra that the company isn't planning to push the boat out just yet. For the studio's upcoming games, the team is "still working within proven genres," explains Hare. However, the industry veteran suggests that leading off with games in well-worn genres is part of the company's master plan. "We are very big fans of well-designed crossword and match-3 games and take pleasure in seeing both genres continue to evolve through new ideas and innovations," he explains. "Crossword and match-3 games are in many ways a past-time to many people - whether playing through newspapers, board games or digitally - and remain hugely popular across numerous product lines and platforms." What's perhaps a little odd is that the IP backgrounds of the Outplay team include the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Star Trek, which are all far cries from the content the studio is currently aiming for. However, Hare notes, "Although we are all very proud of our past accomplishments in console and PC games, as a business, we need to consider which genres translate well to mobile or within a social network both in terms of the user interface and the audiences’ preferences." Looking to the future, the company plans to launch both games via the App Store, while Booty Quest will also see an Android release. Upcoming games will also focus heavily on cross-platform experiences.

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