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Codex Scoop: inXile to develop Autoduel car RPG at new New Orleans studio?

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Codex Scoop: inXile to develop Autoduel car RPG at new New Orleans studio?

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 22 October 2015, 20:17:04

Tags: Autoduel; Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Matt Findley

Of all the mid-sized Kickstarter RPG developers, inXile Entertainment have arguably been the most proud of their small size and tight focus, lacking the AAA bloat of Obsidian, the global studio proliferation of Larian, and the off-kilter non-RPG side projects of Harebrained Schemes. For that reason, it was quite the surprise when Brian Fargo announced last night at a press conference that inXile was going to open a second studio in New Orleans. The new studio will eventually employ 50 people, which is more than they have right now. The details are available in a press release on the website of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Here's an excerpt:

NEW ORLEANS – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and inXile Entertainment founder and CEO Brian Fargo announced the company will establish a video game development studio in New Orleans. The company will create 50 new direct jobs over the next five years, with an average annual salary of $75,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 64 indirect jobs for a total of more than 110 new jobs in Louisiana’s Southeast Region.

The new facility in New Orleans will be inXile’s first expansion outside its headquarters in Newport Beach, California. The company specializes in the development of interactive entertainment software for all popular game systems, ranging from the PlayStation 4 to iOS and Android smartphones. Game designers at inXile have been the creative force behind such titles as Torment: Tides of Numenéra, The Bard’s Tale and Wasteland 2.

Governor Jindal said, “With each new digital media investment, New Orleans is becoming a brighter beacon in the tech sector. Our strong business climate and highly skilled workforce are attracting innovative companies like inXile to our state, along with the great new jobs they’re creating. We’re confident they will find qualified professionals here in Louisiana as they provide creative, interactive entertainment to gamers around the world.”

Fargo founded inXile in 2002. Along with President Matthew Findley, Fargo guides the company in using cutting-edge game engines, including Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5, as well as making in-roads in new technologies, such as virtual reality. The company employs a mix of studio veterans and new talent to collaborate on high-quality products. Building strong relationships with its core audiences, inXile uses this input to deliver high attention to detail for a memorable gaming experience.

“We are very excited to be opening inXile's first satellite office in the state of Louisiana,” Fargo said. “The people here have an amazing energy and friendly way that can only be understood when you visit. We’re proud to be part of the first wave of companies that will help establish Louisiana as the next major high-tech center. Every year, colleges and universities in Louisiana graduate qualified candidates that would love nothing more than to work in the games industry. We are proud to be a part of a movement to keep those talented people in Louisiana.”

A longtime industry veteran, Fargo established Interplay Entertainment in 1983, which became a Top 5 PC game publisher, producing some of the biggest franchises in video game history, including Bard’s Tale, Fallout and Wasteland. Fargo continued the Wasteland legacy at inXile with the production of Wasteland 2, which was recently financed by its fans through a Kickstarter campaign.

“We are proud to welcome inXile Entertainment to New Orleans. Digital media has become a major growth industry for our local economy, and that is why we are seeing companies like inXile choose to do business here,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “I applaud our economic development agencies for their partnership in positioning New Orleans and Louisiana as one of the best places to do business in the nation.”

LED and GNO Inc. began discussions with inXile in June 2015. To secure the development office project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1-ranked state workforce development program. The company, which is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, also will receive support from a combined $10,000 in relocation expenses from GNO Inc. and the New Orleans Business Alliance, or NOLABA.
The RPG Codex has been informed that the new studio will be staffed by a combination of new hires and existing inXile employees from California. Apparently, the government of Louisiana is providing very generous tax incentives. We've also been told that it'll be at least a month before details can be provided on what the new studio will be developing. My first guess would be that the New Orleans studio will be working on level design for The Bard's Tale IV, helping to achieve the high graphical bar inXile have aimed for at a lower cost. But according to a new interview at PC Gamer, inXile have "other production plans that we'll be announcing soon that I think people will find very interesting", so who knows what the future holds.

UPDATE: Oh boy, we've done it again! Codexer Jedi Master Radek, who discovered inXile's Van Buren trademark last year, has just noticed that inXile trademarked the name Autoduel back in July. The original Autoduel, developed by Origin back in the 1980s, was a Mad Max-like "car RPG" based on the Steve Jackson Games tabletop property Car Wars. Brian Fargo is of course known for his love of Mad Max, having even been in negotiations to develop a Mad Max game at Interplay back in the 1990s, and what better time to announce the development of such a game than after the release of a successful Mad Max film? It seems like a reasonable bet that this is what the new studio is going to be working on.

UPDATE 2: The plot thickens! It turns out that inXile's Maxx Kaufman was involved with an Autoduel Kickstarter project back in 2013 that ultimately failed. But that Autoduel was an online vehicular combat game, not an RPG. Is this going to be a second attempt at that, or a different thing altogether?

UPDATE 3: Returning to the original topic of this post, here's an article at local news site NOLA.com that reveals some more details about the New Orleans studio. Apparently, a dozen inXile employees have agreed to move there, along with second-in-command Matt Findley who will be in charge. The article also appears to confirm that the new studio will be working on The Bard's Tale IV, though of course that doesn't mean it's the only game they'll be working on.

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