Kuju’s Brighton has rebranded itself just ahead of GDC, revealing the new name of Zoe Mode. But the new identity isn’t represented by a logo: it is embodied by a person: The name and face of Zoë has been chosen by Kuju to represent the studio’s focus on making lifestyle games.
Is this the first brand represented by a person ?
This is interesting as most games are represented by the title – Crush for example is what the target group will be buying from amazon, or tesco. But to publishers it is the brand of the developer that counts and this is a smart and somewhat brave move by a mid level developer to step over the competition.
As time goes on, the Zoë Mode face or identity might change, but the female name will stay.
Studio boss Ed Daly explained: “Zoë allows us to have some fun with the image of the studio but of course what matters most is the games we make. We have built up a great team, a really diverse crowd for a game developer, and an internal culture that reflects the fun and creative values that come through in our games.
“By taking control of the public face of the studio we will be able to reinforce this unique identity and specialist expertise further.
“This studio has had great success over the last three years focusing on fresh gaming experiences for new audiences. We’ve shipped several very successful, high quality titles and grown to 100 staff and now the time is right to rename the studio. We’ve created Zoë Mode; she is the personality that reflects our in-house philosophy of accessible, fun gaming for everyone.”
Ian Beverstorkc spoke to GI.biz
“Everyone knows who Kuju is and what we’ve done, but in this age of specialisation it’s been getting hard to get across the success of the Brighton studio,” Kuju boss Ian Baverstock told GamesIndustry.biz.
“As we’ve been more successful across multiple studios, each doing different things, it’s been getting harder and harder to maintain that clear understanding with our trade partners as to what each studio does.”
“Everything about Zoë Mode as a personality is the real true essence of what the studio is. We’re saying we’re about making games for people like this, not just that normal, narrow, 18 – 24 year-old male age group.
“The idea of using a single character like Zoë to represent a studio is very much this studio’s idea. All of Kuju’s studios are focusing on particular areas, and their ambition in each case is to be the world’s best. The days when you can be a jobbing, general purpose game developer are long gone – you’ve got to be a specialist.”
“The studios are increasingly autonomous, and the strategy is for each studio to find a focus on a particular type of game and then become specialists,” he said.
“That’s something that Brighton’s done with our work with Sony on SingStar and EyeToy games in particular. It made increasing sense for the public face of the studio to be differentiated.”
Baverstock said that Kuju has long believed that operating diverse studios is a “good strategy”, observing, “It’s not just about spreading risk around – it allows specialisation. But it’s also true that games development requires a really creative office culture, and that’s really quite hard to achieve in a 300-person company.
“Each of our studios aren’t like that – they’re smaller entities, with separate cultures.”
Zoë Mode is, however, still a part of the larger Kuju Studios group, which has development offices in London, Sheffield and Godalming. The team will still provide corporate support, and share technology/collaborate with the other Kuju studios, which may reveal distinctive brand identities of their own in future.
The first game to boast the Zoë name is PSP Crush, which is being published by Sega later this year.