UK-based Battalion Wars
developer Kuju Entertainment has announced that development for its upcoming Rail Simulator
will be financed by Fund4Games, a game industry project management and project finance company, while being published by software giant Electronic Arts through its EA Partners arm.
This is a particularly interesting announcement because Fund4Games, a third-party funding entity for the UK games industry, will apparently handle much of the project development costs, while EA Partners will publish and distribute the title, a distinctly different arrangement to the majority of titles that are both funded and published/distributed by a single publisher.
Kuju Entertainment’s Managing Director Jonathan Newth commented that working with Fund4Games “allows a structure of IP ownership and commercial interaction with the Rail Simulator
community which would be difficult to achieve through a more traditional two party structure. The publisher model is still very important but it’s no longer the only option.”
Tim Gatland, Chief Executive of Fund4Games, which is funded by independent investors, said that his company’s financial model “provides major benefits to both developers and publishers, creating a new model for the production and launch of videogames.”
, the followup to Kuju-developed Microsoft Train Simulator
, enables the use of steam, diesel, and electric trains on real routes in the UK and Germany. (Kuju was at one time developing Microsoft Train Simulator 2
for Microsoft, but the project was moved internally at Microsoft and then believed cancelled.) The new Rail Simulator
game engine, like its predecessor, will support add-on third-party content updates. The game is scheduled for release in Europe in 2006.