The incentive, which previously was available only to film and television producers, will help grow
Godzilla Smash3, which combines 3-D images of the "King of Monsters" with puzzle game play, is set to debut Friday, along with the latest Godzilla movie.
It brings the
Founded in 1999, PipeWorks created three Godzilla games for publisher
In the ensuing years, "the passion never died down," Gupton said. "There's still Godzilla figurines everywhere in the office."
So when PipeWorks caught wind of another Godzilla movie in the works, it teamed up with Rogue Play, a startup mobile game publisher in the
Both PipeWorks and Rogue Play are owned by Foundation 9 Entertainment, a large game developer based in
"For us to go and get the rights to it was somewhat of a coup," Gupton said.
"We turned the tables on the business model," he said, noting that film studios usually seek out game developers and publishers, not the other way around, and it's typically work for hire, with the studio paying a developer to design a game.
But with online distribution of games and lower costs of entry, especially for mobile games, the video game industry is changing. It's no longer the case where the holder of the intellectual property, a film studio, for example, contracts with a publisher, which then contracts with a game developer, to produce a video game tied to a film.
Game developers are taking a more active role in landing and financing some projects.
PipeWorks and Rogue Play financed Godzilla Smash3 internally, said Gupton, who declined to reveal the project's total budget, or the amount of the cash rebate PipeWorks is expecting from the
"We're getting more skin in the game," Gupton said, and the state incentive is very helpful as PipeWorks makes that transition.
The state incentive contributed to PipeWorks' decision to add four hires for the Godzilla project, Gupton said.
"Because we were doing different things with this game, we made hires for specific types of talent," he said, adding that those hires will stay on to work on other PipeWorks projects.
The company now has about 55 employees and plans to hire more this year, depending on how other projects line up, Gupton said.
The state incentive also allowed the studio to do a higher-quality game than it would have been able to design otherwise, Gupton said.
"We're really proud of the bar that's been set on this game," he said. "We'd love this to be a hit," and open doors to more projects.
PipeWorks will continue to make improvements to the game after it launches, "depending on what the players desire," Gupton said.
The game is free to download, and PipeWorks makes money when players pay for upgrades, such as extra lives, special power-ups, and more content, like additional cities, Gupton said.
"We're launching with
"We hope to have a very large audience," Gupton said. "Typically a small percent of the audience (3 percent to 6 percent) will actually put money into the game."
PipeWorks has applied, and qualifies for state incentives for three more projects, including innovations on
Historically, the incentive, which returns to productions 20 percent of what they spent on goods and services in
But last year, the
"It's nice they're starting to recognize video games as an art form and media form similar to film and TV," Gupton said.
He said the incentive will help
"It was (among) the earliest, but still has about the same number of people working in games as in the '80s," he said. "Meanwhile (the game industries in)
That was the type of thinking that won over Rep.
"My committee heard the proposal to expand the film and video (incentive) to other areas of design and creativity," she said .
"It's exciting to me to see this develop. This is the early stages of what's going to grow as part of
He eagerly tested the game before a recent presentation at the
Depending on which tiles Nguyen touched, the massive Godzilla in the upper half of the screen, towered over the city landscape, crunched through buildings, or swatted at ships in the bay.
"The design is very clever," Nguyen said. "It reminds me of the puzzle games, like Bubble Babble, I used to play when I was young."
Projects must spend at least
As of last year, this subfund is now open to video game projects and post-production services.
The OPIF receives
The certificates can be purchased at up to a 5 percent discount (
The state's general fund essentially forgoes the
The auction raises the cash for the fund to pay for rebates to film, TV and other productions in
"It's nice they're starting to recognize video games as an art form."
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