Apparently Midway likes how the new RUSH game is coming along.
October 4th, 2005, 3:48 pmReported by Sam Bishop
Well, we must say we didn’t expect this. Midway has apparently decided to pony up the cash and outright buy UK-based developers The Pitbull Syndicate for 199,385 shares of Midway stock. (Weren’t all these stock buyouts something that died off in the dot-com crash?) This is surprising, mainly because until now TPS (no, the other TPS) had lined Atari’s coffers with a little much-needed coin by whipping up the Test Drive games. Their latest project, though, was L.A. RUSH, the free-driving successor to Midway’s classic high-speed arcade games. The Newcastle-based crew apparently have no qualms with replicating a huge swatch of Los Angeles for the game, despite the fact that they’re located a few thousand miles away. TPS’ new title will be Midway Studios – Newcastle, which seems rather fitting. "We have been collaborating with Pitbull on the upcoming reinvention of our RUSH franchise, L.A. RUSH, which we anticipate will be launching in October,” beamed an enthusiastic David F. Zucker, Midway’s CEO. “This close-knit team of highly talented developers brings to Midway a successful track record, specifically the Test Drive series, of which three titles have sold over one million units. L.A. RUSH will be the first title in our co-marketing relationship with MTV, and we are excited to add the creative force behind this title to our expanding internal development staff."Not surprisingly, Midway’s Senior VP of their Worldwide Studios, Matt Booty, seems to agree, adding, “Pitbull has mastered the art and science of arcade-style racers, with sophisticated technology that allows huge free-roaming environments, hundreds of destructible objects, and an advanced artificial intelligence system capable of handling more than 100 vehicles at once. Pitbull will form the foundation of Midway's future racing games, and we are excited to expand our international presence in one of the strongest regions for game development talent in the UK."For those wondering, Midway was smart enough to offer shared directly so some key employees to keep them with the development house. Pete Brace, Ian Copeland, Gavin Freyberg, Jonathan Kay, Daren Kelly, Mark Leadbeater, Ben Marsh, Chris McClure, Stewart Neal, Mark Wilkinson, and Chris Wood all received a combined 25,146 restricted shares of Midway stock as retention incentives. The restrictions will lapse over the next three years.And now you know more about the business dealings of a once small-time developer than you ever thought you could!