Evidence continues to mount that Ruffian Games has, in fact, secured the rights to develop the next installment in Microsoft's well-rated Crackdown franchise. Today, Ruffian Games announced that it has signed on two former Realtime Worlds designers to lead development on the Scottish studio's as-yet-unannounced debut title.
Namely, Ruffian said that Steve Iannetta and Ed Campbell have been named as the studio's new lead designer and senior designer. Previously, Iannetta served as senior mission designer on the Realtime Worlds-developed Crackdown, while Campbell filled the design ranks on the Xbox 360-exclusive action platformer.
Shortly before Ruffian officially opened its doors in January, rumors surfaced that the nascent studio's first project would be a follow-up to Crackdown. The studio was formed by a host of key Crackdown developers, including lead designer Billy Thomson, senior gameplay programmer Barry Cairns, and Gaz Liddon, whose company provided "core technology for rendering and physics, artwork, design, and managerial resources" for the original game.
The so-called idle gossip confirming the development deal caught Realtime Worlds completely unawares, however, with studio head Colin MacDonald saying that his shop was engaged in "ongoing discussions" to work on a second Crackdown. MacDonald also said that he doubted "Microsoft would harm an otherwise fruitful existing development relationship by gambling on funding Crackdown 2 with a startup on RTW's doorstep, for obvious reasons."