Irish Developer Scene Feature Week
Featured Studio : Open Emtion Studio
Interviewee : Paddy Murphy CEO
Open Emotion have spend to the top of the list when people think of Irish developers. So there is no better place for us to start the week out with other than chatting to our neighbours here in Limerick. CEO Paddy Murphy took a moment out of his hectic schedule to chat to Bone-idle about how this meteoric rise all started out so innocently.
First question, tell us a little bit about your studio, when you started out, who is involved and what was your initial mantra?
Myself and a group of friends (Mike Naughton and Colm English) got together and decided that between the three of us we had the right skillsets to make flash games and get our foot in the door of the industry. That was in early 2010. Since then we’ve released games on PC, iOS, Android, XBLIG, PS3 and PSP. Our mantra was and is still to make games that we ourselves would like to play.
What games have you already released so far and how have they been received?
Mad Blocker Alpha (PSP, PS3) – Silver Award from Pocket Gamer and 2 awards on PSPMinis.com (Best Puzzle and Most Valuable Mini) 9/10 The Gaming Liberty, PSPMinis.com and 10/10 on Boneidle.ie
Ninjamurai (PSP, PS3) – 8.5/10 on PSPMinis.com, 9/10 on The Gaming Liberty and 9/10 on Boneidle.ie – 2 Awards on PSP Minis.com (Best Action/Adventure and Best platformer)
Revoltin’ Youth (PSP, PS3, Android) – 8/10 on PSPMinis.com, 9/10 Boneidle.ie – Won best soundtrack award on PSP Minis.com
Have you any projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?
I Kill Zombies for the PSP is our next release and that has been built, then scrapped, then rebuilt from the ground up. After that comes out, I can say we are working on a card based game with a swedish publisher and this is going to be a huge project. Mad Blocker Adventure is still coming to PS Vita too and we may emerge back into the browser game market next year. Lets see how things go, I guess 🙂
What made you decide to move to Ireland/set up in Ireland and remain in Ireland?
Well I suppose its where we all come from, so it just made sense really… In terms of staying here, at times its been hard because there are amazing opportunities in places like Canada, San Francisco and San Diego but we have always wanted (and still intend) to grow this into a big homegrown Irish videogame development company.
How difficult did you find it starting out?
It was tough – We didn’t pay ourselves for the first year and we lived on Koka noodles, ha ha. Getting funding was hard in the beginning, as videogames weren’t seen as very viable business investments. Luckily we received a nice investment from 2 Limerick Businessmen. Without them, we probably wouldn’t be where we are now…
Who/what was the biggest help while finding your feet?
Sony were also a huge help in the beginning too and we really can’t thank them enough for getting us onto the Minis program when they did.
What was the biggest obstacles you faced in the initial start up process?
As I say securing funding was hard but also we had to learn new skills at every step of the way. It’s one thing I always tell people, to work in the games industry, you have to be pretty malleable. One day I’m lead sound designer, the next I’m leading game design discussions and the next I’m doing Art Direction. You need to be a jack of all trades to some extent if you are setting up your own company…
What was the best piece of advice you got from someone else, when starting out that proved invaluable?
“Even Epic started as a small Indie company back in the early 90’s” – Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games. This was the first time I spoke to Mark, before I realised who he was and how much of a big deal he is… He basically reinforced my belief that all the big companies we’ve grown to love came from small beginnings.
Taking in your own experiences, what would be the best piece of advice you could now give to others looking to set up in Ireland?
Just be sure its something you really want to do as it can be a slow burning process to get revenue coming in the door and the early days will require a lot of sacrafice and dedication.
How have you found other studio’s is there a good community between the developers in Ireland?
Yeah we havea great relationship with dudes like Owen Harris of bitSmith and Dan Kenny of Eyesodic games and the community is just growing and growing. Alot of the networking happens in Dublin, so I’m glad we opened the Dublin office and Eoghan O Donovan, the managing director of the Dublin branch is great at getting involved in networking and game oriented events.
Is there any support groups or associations that Irish developers should join to get the help form the community?
I’d say add IGDA Ireland on facebook and Twitter – Also constantly check out GameDevelopers.ie as they always have important info about the Irish games sector. Other than that, add the individual dev companies on twitter and facebook ie. Open Emotion, bitSmith, Eyesodic Games, Little Bee Studios, Weeman Studios, Nevermind Games etc.
Where do you see the Irish scene going in the future especially with so many big studio’s now setting up shop here?
Hopefully its a great thing for the country and the money that these big companies generate in tax can go back into forming loads more small indiginous Indie game companies like ourselves.
Thanks for the questions, Anthony. Love the site and fair play for this!
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