Kuju Entertainment

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Kuju Entertainment
Type Subsidiary of Catalis S.E.[1]
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1998
Products Video games
Owner(s) Catalis S.E.
Parent Catalis S.E.
Website Kuju Entertainment

Kuju Entertainment Ltd (Kuju) is an international video game developer. Kuju was formed in 1998 in Shalford, Surrey, United Kingdom, after a management buyout of Simis from Eidos Interactive.

Kuju has released over 120 titles across 14 different devices, and have a diverse portfolio of titles: ranging from Art Academy on the Nintendo DS, Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest for the Wii, and most recently, an Xbox One-only title, Powerstar Golf.

Kuju has worked with the majority of top-tier publishers, including Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Activision, Warner Brothers and SEGA. Kuju continues to develop for all major platforms and is currently developing numerous titles for next-generation consoles.

The name "Kuju" originates from the initials of the founders’ first names: Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth. Jonathan was leafing through a Japanese dictionary when he found the numbers nine and ten – “ku” and “ju” – corresponding to the positions of “I” and “J” in the English alphabet. The combined result was Kuju.

History[edit]

In 1998, Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth were running Simis, an in-house development studio owned by Eidos. In the same year, Ian and Jonathan led a management buyout of the studio from Eidos Interactive, forming Kuju Entertainment. Their first game was Tank Racer – a 3D action racer for PC, Playstation and Mobile.

By 2001, Kuju was employing a team of 80 developers, in three separate offices around the UK in London, Surrey and Brighton. Their most notable project at the time was Microsoft Train Simulator, which went on to sell over 1 million units.[2] To this day, the franchise continues to thrive.

In 2002, Kuju floated on the Alternative Investments Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. Shortly thereafter the company signed its first top-budget game with THQ based on the Games Workshop franchise – Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior. In the following years between 2002 and 2007, Kuju developed 55 titles, including 30 hit-selling SingStar games and the internationally-acclaimed Battalion Wars franchise.

In 2007, Kuju Entertainment was acquired by a German media investment firm, Catalis SE. Soon after, Kuju Brighton was rebranded to Zoë Mode, and in 2008, Kuju London rebranded to Headstrong Games.

In 2010, Kuju passed a record milestone, completing their 100th video game through Headstrong Games – a boxed, retail version of Art Academy for the Nintendo DS console. The award-winning edutainment franchise proved very popular, selling in excess of 3 million copies to date.[3]

In 2012 industry veterans Dominic Wheatley of Domark Software and Gary Bracey from Ocean Software were appointed as CEO and Commercial Director respectively.

Kuju Startups Fund[edit]

On 4 August 2014, Kuju launched a fund-raising campaign with Seedrs – an online seed-equity crowdfunding platform based in the UK – for their latest initiative, the Kuju Startups Fund.[4] The Kuju Startups Fund is a new programme by Kuju seeking to find, invest in and mentor the UK’s most promising early-stage games companies. Each startup in the programme will receive the full support of Kuju in taking their product from concept to market. The programme will focus on the high growth mobile, tablet and PC sectors.

Studios[edit]

Kuju currently has two UK studios: Headstrong Games in London and Zoë Mode in Brighton.

Headstrong Games[edit]

Headstrong Games is known for handling high-value IP. Examples include The House of the Dead: Overkill , The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest and Top Gun: Hard Lock. Headstrong Games are also known for creating original IP such as Art Academy and Battalion Wars.

Zoë Mode[edit]

Zoë Mode creates innovative gameplay experiences with mass market appeal. Covering a variety of genres, Zoë Mode have worked on the EyeToy series, Zumba dance franchise (which has sold over 10 million units) and most recently, an official Xbox One exclusive title, Powerstar Golf. Zoë Mode are also well known for games which make use of motion capture technology such as the PlayStation EyeToy and Xbox 360 Kinect.

Previous Kuju Studios:

  • Simis
  • Kuju Surrey
  • Kuju Sheffield (latterly rebranded as Chemistry)
  • Nik Nak Games
  • Kuju America
  • Kuju Manila
  • Vatra

Games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]