CrunchTime goes big time

Street Fighter veteran's support studio starts making its own games; first project to hit Xbox Live Arcade early next year.

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In some ways, Chandler, Arizona-based CrunchTime Games is the prototypical indie startup studio. It is staffed by a group of eager young designers pulled from local universities. Its first game is a labor of love made financially feasible by the current trend of downloadable console gaming. Its studio space is a converted garage.

CrunchTime's logo is the very definition of
CrunchTime's logo is the very definition of "in your face."

On the other hand, the studio has a few advantages over your average startup. It was founded and self-funded by James Goddard, a 17-year industry veteran who worked as a designer on the Street Fighter series (not to mention creating the character of Dee-Jay). It also has four years of history as a support studio, helping The Collective with Marc Ecko's Getting Up and working with Blizzard Entertainment on the cancelled Starcraft: Ghost, as well as World of Warcraft.

After years of working as a hired gun on other people's projects, Goddard wanted a change. He began to reshape CrunchTime as an indie studio that would make its own games, as he said, "uninhibited by corporate BS." To help him in that endeavor, Goddard looked specifically for developers who still had a passion for the business; something he feared might be harder to find in veterans that tend to grow jaded with life in the industry.

"I'm not going to kill myself and have limited time with my four kids just so I could hear other people [complain] about it and be not excited about the business," Goddard told GameSpot. "I didn't care if they were graduates, had never been to school, or had been working for 20 years, as long as they were passionate about what they were doing and down with taking this risk with me."

When Goddard first started looking into setting up a development studio, he balked at how expensive the venture was shaping up to be. He had seen other veterans establishing their own studios struggle to find financial backers or a publishing deal for their games, but Goddard was set on making the game using his own money and on his own terms.

"It all fell into place in November 2005," Goddard said. "I was tipped off about how awesome Xbox Live Arcade was going to be, slept overnight at Sam's Club, picked up the machine, went straight home, and played Geometry Wars and Mutant Storm and said, 'Wow, this is totally doable.'"

By the following March, he had his team up and working on its first Xbox Live Arcade game. Set for release in early 2008, CrunchTime's first original project is being kept under wraps for now. However, Goddard has teased a few details about it. The game will debut CrunchTime's own R.A.K. (Roaming Arcade Killer) Engine, created by three of the studio's first-time developers. It's also a new genre for Goddard, and more details about the project will be revealed in the next two weeks.

For more on the studio, check out the official CrunchTime Games Web site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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    Avatar image for earthking
    earthking

    Chanler? I hope they're highering for beta testers. I would so apply. It's great to see new companies being formed in the industries.

    Avatar image for SlikNik27
    SlikNik27

    Best logo ever.

    Avatar image for zalanth
    zalanth

    Sounds pretty cool. I wish 'em luck.

    Avatar image for kori911
    kori911

    Gratz to them, and that is an awesome logo.

    Avatar image for Kobewars87
    Kobewars87

    they cancled Starcraft:ghost.......wow i totally missed that

    Avatar image for makemeweak
    makemeweak

    Nice - XBLA can always use more games.

    Avatar image for ashuncc2
    ashuncc2

    Great news for CrunchTime. Hopefully, they will be able to provide us with some great games down the road.

    Avatar image for GhostyMcboo
    GhostyMcboo

    Nice credentials! Except for Dee Jay. Damn, what a sloppy use of a stereotype. I'd have given him big old dreads and made him less goofy and more badass.

    Avatar image for wakko19991
    wakko19991

    no this ctually sounds exciting. I'm hoping this works out for him and his company. The world, not just gaming, needs more independence form corporate morays and SOP.

    Avatar image for gvg1984
    gvg1984

    This James guy seems like the type of person we need making games for our industry. I found his blog at << LINK REMOVED >> it really gives a good insight of what it's like to be in the industry. Oh yeah that logo rocks!

    Avatar image for agus23
    agus23

    I want a CrunchTime T-shirt!

    Avatar image for Putzwapputzen
    Putzwapputzen

    wow, thats good! :D i like the logo a lot too. haha its pretty funny. :lol:

    Avatar image for davahsa
    davahsa

    Tons cooler name/logo than Eat Sleep Game...seems like the same idea though. Let the Indie wars commence! This stuff is the best thing to happen to gaming in forever. Hopefully we start seeing XNA stuff coming out of peoples homes by spring '09. Hey Valve..... make the people an XNA engine and start a whole new generation of modding that actually shows up in the average American living room. Woot to the possibilities!

    Avatar image for peeweeshift
    peeweeshift

    thank you for deejay. the coolest cat from sf

    Avatar image for DoctorEvol
    DoctorEvol

    Cloud goes to UAT too? Goddard recently did a session at our Tech Forum talking about developing for XBL Arcade and giving out general tips about independent development. He then showed us his new game, it's not a fighting game like Goddard is used to, but there are several elements taken from fighting games. It looked fun, can't wait to download it.

    Avatar image for KHCloud04
    KHCloud04

    I've seen the game they are gonna release and even though we weren't told to sign an NDA at our school I'm not gonna mention any details out of respect for James. But I will tell you the game is 'gameplay with impact', it will blow your ****ing socks off!

    Avatar image for olthof
    olthof

    go indie!

    Avatar image for V-Nine
    V-Nine

    Looks like its time to tame and reclaim the industry from endless corporate hooha.

    Avatar image for Sergsky
    Sergsky

    Cool logo!

    Avatar image for mikewalsh69
    mikewalsh69

    good for him

    Avatar image for Chirotera
    Chirotera

    I hope this starts a trend where more indie developers start becoming the norm. It helps get out of the blatant sequel-itis and rushed game making policies of the larger corporations. The only problem I see is, can they make a good game? Gamers tend to be fickle and if the game doesn't play well it won't sell well and the smaller companies won't do well. I hope they can, but we'll see. :-)

    Avatar image for ObsidianArbiter
    ObsidianArbiter

    sweet, good to know there are still developers that arn't willing to let be bought by ea

    Avatar image for sonicare
    sonicare

    good for them. It's nice to see GS give the independents some air time.

    Avatar image for gvg1984
    gvg1984

    I love their logo! Their website just went live! I wish these guys luck and look forward to seeing what their game is going to be!

    Avatar image for maxxorz
    maxxorz

    Always nice to hear about new startups, very promising!

    Avatar image for frankeyser
    frankeyser

    just there logo makes me like them. i hope they put out something good. it is nice to see developers that are willing to strike out on there own and not just be part of the gaming studio norm.

    Avatar image for RaiKageRyu
    RaiKageRyu

    At leas they have the passion, that's always the first step.

    Avatar image for Kempatsu_basic
    Kempatsu_basic

    I havent seen passion like this since the 16 bit hey days. I support you

    Avatar image for Roger_Smith
    Roger_Smith

    Always good to see new, fresh faces in the industry

    Avatar image for Daffron
    Daffron

    all devs should think like this, instead of "EA rehash 2008" games

    Avatar image for BigDaveyDogz
    BigDaveyDogz

    good luck to these guys..gimme something good!!!

    Avatar image for theemptyquiver
    theemptyquiver

    Their "skull with joystick" icon makes me want to support their endevours. I love that there are companies that are out there supporting XBL Arcade exclusively, because Arcade is what tides me over between major game releases. Thanks CrunchTime. Thanks for existing.

    Avatar image for lamprey263
    lamprey263

    I like that CruchTime logo

    Avatar image for Spartan1017
    Spartan1017

    sounds great, best of luck to 'em hope we get some really good games from them

    Avatar image for MasterChief725
    MasterChief725

    Thats really cool, what a story, I cant wait to play that game. I wonder what the R.A.K Engine is like?