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Stardock strikes publishing deal with indie team it helped create

Stardock has locked down the publishing rights to newly-minted Austin studio Mothership Entertainment's debut title, a PC strategy game built on Unreal Engine 4 that's expected to launch in 2015.
Stardock has locked down the publishing rights to newly-minted studio Mothership Entertainment's debut title, a PC strategy game built on Unreal Engine 4 that's expected to launch in 2015. This is interesting because it represents sustained expansion on the part of Stardock; the Michigan-headquartered company seems intent on carving out a noteworthy niche in the PC strategy game market by developing titles like Galactic Civilizations III and making deals to publish PC strategy games from studios like Mohawk Games, BonusXP, and now Mothership. Stardock Entertainment VP Derek Paxton says the partnership has its roots in a developer conclave the company held last June. Stardock designers, partners and a smattering of outside developers were invited to the event, including industry veteran (and WarBreeds lead designer) Paul Tozour. "We were fans of Paul's game concept, and that's when talks began to publish it," says Paxton. "He then started the hard work of setting up his studio...and we started our job of bugging him for internal builds so we can play the game." Tozour established Mothership Entertainment in Austin late last year with support from Stardock's Strategic Investment Fund and the company's Stardock Staffing Corporation, a sort of professional employee organization and shared payroll system established last year to permit developers to move between participating studios rather than risking termination when their work on a project is finished. "For example, Mothership had a particularly talented concept artist that they were nice enough to share with another of our game projects," notes Paxton. "This allows Mothership to have all the advantages of a small indie studio, but gain the advantage of a larger company." So while the studio is technically independent, Mothership developers are on Stardock's payroll (via the SSC) and have access to Stardock's employee support network and tech, including the company's Project Tachyon networking technology that's currently being developed at Stardock Austin.

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