ETC Inside ZOO Digital Publishing

Some years ago it was THQ, before that Ubi Soft, and EA seem to do it all year around. Now it's ZOO Digital's turn to be GBA publisher of the year.

Some years ago it was THQ, before that Ubi Soft, and EA seem to do it all year around. What are we talking about? GBA publishers, of course, but more specifically those publishers who see the handheld platform as worthy of support. It's now ZOO Digital's turn. They have already made an impact by releasing an incredible 14 titles during the latter half of 2004. We have seen this before, of course, but what makes this Sheffield based publishing house so unusual is just how varied their selection is because unlike other publishers who concentrate on TV, Movies or Comics, ZOO appear to have no particular genre they?re associated with.

Now we understand that some of these titles have been previously been released in the US, notably the Cinemaware collection, but unless you've gone to the expense of actually importing them this is likely to be the first time you?ve seen them at your local game store. For those who don't know what to expect here?s how last years line-up looked. All of these are available in the UK (and parts of Europe) as we write so if you want to know more simply click on the games title.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: 2nd Edition - Television QuizStreet Jam - Underground Basketball Wade Hixton?s Counter Punch ? Cel Shaded Boxing Kill.Switch - 3D Covert Operations Defender of the Crown - Cinemaware Classic Premier Manager 2004-05 - Football Management R-Type III - Old Skool Shooter Payback - 3D Underworld Mission Based Action Ms PacMan - Maze Madness - Update of the Classic Wings - Another Cinemaware ClassicPacMan World ? 2.5D Remake of the PS1 Title. Dead to Rights ? Renegade Cop (and his dog) Action Adventure Racing Gears Advance - Overhead Racer Monopoly - Classic Family Board Game

As you can see it's a fairly impressive list so to shed some more light on the games we grabbed ZOO's own PR specialist Martin Kitney and asked him a few questions about the company?s unique relationship with the GBA.

Q: How does ZOO select their titles for publishing? A: Like any other publisher we get sent in many titles for potential publishing. We are obviously looking for titles that we think will have mass-market appeal. A lot of time is spent looking through products, because these decisions are so important to get right. I think we?ve done a great job on this so far this year.

Q: There doesn't appear to be any particular age or demographic your titles are aimed at. Is this deliberate? A: The target market for the GBA itself is quite large also. Obviously there is a core demographic but the machine lends itself so well to all genres that it's difficult to limit yourself to one genre or target audience. I think we have a fantastic balance of products, for example Payback and Ms PacMan are completely different products yet both will work well for different target markets. Getting this balance is so important.

Q: What is your relationship with DSI? A: We are their preferred publishing partners for each other?s product in their respective territories.

Q: From the GBA titles ZOO is releasing in 2004, which do you feel is the most exciting? A: Good question! It's difficult to answer as we have so many great titles. Personal favourites of mine include Racing Gears Advance, Payback, and Premier Manager. They're all completely different games but real quality GBA products. I'd expect them all to do really well and I?ve lost many hours to these products already! Having said that I've just started playing through PacMan World and Ms PacMan, which both look like great games and will appeal to many gamers out there. For something to keep you amused on long journeys I could also recommend Who wants to be a Millionaire and Monopoly.

Q: What about 2005? A: More of the same! I think a lot of publishers have pulled out of the GBA arena, and this leaves us with a great opportunity. You have to admire the small developers out there still totally committed to creating products for the GBA. Some of the titles coming through right now are fantastic, and that's down to the talent of these developers.

There you have it. We didn't really want to talk about the DS at this stage as it's yet to be released in Europe but rest assured that when it is we'll return to sunny Sheffield for an update. As for this year ZOO have already confirmed Smashing Drive and Killer 3D Pool but we are promised an unparalleled handheld line-up once again for 2005 so watch this space.

If you do want to read more about ZOO Digitals GBA line-up simply visit their site by clicking here.

Thanks must go to Martin Kitney for sparing some of his valuable time in what was a hectic Q4 2004.

Written by: Andrew

Posted on 24-01-2005 by Dennis


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