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Ruffian Formally Announces Launch, Publisher Contract

Dundee, Scotland-based developer Ruffian Games, which is rumored to be working on a Crackdown sequel, formally announced its opening and revealed that it acquired a publisher contract. The studio seeks to "provide an online experience rivaling any
Dundee, Scotland-based developer Ruffian Games, which is rumored to be working on a Crackdown sequel, formally announced its opening and revealed that it acquired a development contract with a "major publisher." Ruffian's founders includes key Crackdown-related employees, such as the game's lead designer Billy Thomson and Xen Group CEO Gaz Liddon. Xen Group provided "core technology" for rendering and physics, artwork, design, and managerial resources to the original Crackdown, which was developed by David Jones' also Dundee-based Realtime Worlds. "We want to provide an online experience rivaling any other through co-operative and competitive multiplayer gaming," says Thomson, creative director of the new studio. "Online play is the future of gaming and we're incredibly excited about where that is going to take us." Notably, one of Crackdown's key selling points when the sandbox action game released for the Xbox 360 in 2007 was its cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. "Our highest priority is gameplay," says Thompson. "Everything we do is focused on enhancing the player's experience. We strive for tight intuitive controls, well-balanced goals, game changing rewards, and player progression that will make you feel like a god!" Realtime Worlds studio head Colin MacDonald recently commented on the Crackdown sequel rumors and mentioned that it is in discussions with IP holder Microsoft regarding its involvement. "In the unfortunate event that there isn’t an agreement with RTW reached, Dave [Jones, CEO of RTW and creator of the original Grand Theft Auto] said he would ‘be gutted not to be involved’," he said. In an apparently sour-tempered dig at Ruffian, MacDonald added, "But if it had to be that way, I would want to see it done justice -– by an established, renowned developer that had the track record of delivering the quality gaming experience Crackdown players would demand." "In any event, I also very much doubt that Microsoft would harm an otherwise fruitful existing development relationship by gambling on funding Crackdown 2 with a start-up on RTW’s doorstep, for obvious reasons," he said. The Realtime Worlds head also confirmed that "five or six" of its staff had been employed by Ruffian, out of a total of more than 200. "Creative and talented people are the lifeblood of any studio, and I am so excited to be working with the best the industry has to offer," says Liddon, Ruffian's studio head. "It simply isn't possible for any studio to have a better start than this."

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