Electronic Arts has announced that the 35 person-strong development team at New Jersey-based Hypnotix, Inc., primarily known for its Outlaw
series of unconventional sports titles including Outlaw Volleyball
and Outlaw Golf
, has joined EA's Tiburon, Florida-based studio to develop action-oriented games. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The first of the titles that the newly relocated Hypnotix staff will work on is a sports game based based on the Arena Football League license for as yet undisclosed SKUs. The first Arena Football
game will ship at the beginning of the 2006 AFL season, likely to be around February 2006.
Gamasutra had the opportunity to talk to Mike Taramykin, President of Hypnotix, about this transition for the team. "This is an opportunity to work on projects which are on a much bigger scale, with much broader appeal, and reach a larger audience," he commented.
It's also clear that there is a distinctly alternate nature to the previous Hypnotix sports games - Outlaw Golf 2
's promotional material professes "outrageously twisted antics" and characters that "turn boring old golf into a rowdy and tasteless display of uninhibited fun" while still being praised by external reviewers for solid gameplay. Electronic Arts seems to be interested in the team taking some of that worldview and applying it, if in slightly more conventional form, to the world of arena football.
Taramykin also suggested that his team will be "striving from a design standpoint to make the Arena Football title a distinct and unique football experience," obviously understanding that EA already produces a range of football titles, from NFL Street
to Madden NFL
and college football titles, and so the Arena Football game is intended to be clearly differentiated.
Finally, in his discussions with Gamasutra, Taramykin suggested that his team was particularly pleased with the move from not-always-sunny New Jersey to permanently-sunny Florida: "It's amazing what a change of climate will do for your outlook - most of the people on the team are from the New York area, and they're very excited about the move," he beamed.
In addition, representatives also clarified that Hypnotix's recent Outlaw
titles have been published by Global Star Software, part of Take-Two Interactive, and the Outlaw
brand is currently owned by MTV/Viacom, which will continue to own that intellectual property. In a statement on Hypnotix's official website, Taramykin notes with regard to the Outlaw
series: "Any future development decisions will be up to [MTV]."