Bigpoint Hires On Planet Moon Studios Staff

Free-to-play browser game company Bigpoint (Ruined Online) said Tuesday it hired on 37 artists and developers from Planet Moon Studios, whose talent joined Bigpoint's San Francisco development location.
Germany-based free-to-play browser game company Bigpoint said Tuesday it hired on 37 artists and developers from Planet Moon Studios, whose talent joined Bigpoint's San Francisco development location. Bigpoint North American PR director Alan Dunton told Gamasutra that the deal "is focused on talent -- we are not buying [Planet Moon's] IP." Dunton added, "Globally, Bigpoint is growing aggressively. Having the opportunity to bring Planet Moon's former staff onboard supports our hiring goals in San Francisco and will help us ramp-up teams to work on additional projects." Bigpoint said in November it would open an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in September the company said it planned on hiring 350 workers worldwide, including 80 in San Francisco. Bigpoint, which claims to have 165 million users across its games, also said it has over 700 employees working at its Hamberg, Germany headquarters. Planet Moon's development record shows a primary focus on console and handheld titles, and Bigpoint plans to integrate that experience into browser-based online game development. Developers from Shiny Entertainment's MDK team spun off Planet Moon in 1997. The studio is credited with games including Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Armed and Dangerous and Infected between 2000-2005. More recently, the San Francisco-based studio released Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter and The Sims 3: Life Moments for Nintendo Wii, as well as Disney's Tangled on Wii and DS. "The addition of talented staff from Planet Moon to our team, specifically their experience across many platforms, will bolster our efforts as we continue to expand our business and portfolio of online titles to gamers here and around the world," said Bigpoint CEO and founder Heiko Hubertz. Planet Moon CEO Aaron Loeb said his team worked with Bigpoint over the holidays as part of the transition. The San Francisco-based teams are currently integrated into a group of just under 100 staff, Bigpoint said, and are working on "several" unannounced titles, as well as the game Ruined Online (pictured). Bigpoint's San Francisco employees will soon move into a new South of Market, San Francisco office that can hold up to 250 employees and is slated to open next month. Loeb told Gamasutra in a statement that he will "issue further statements about Planet Moon down the road."

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