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Dark Energy Digital heading into administration

UPDATE: Dark Energy Publishing registered at Companies House by DED Directors Peter & Deborah Jones

UPDATE

Dark Energy Digital directors and co-MDs Pete and Deborah Jones, along with Technical Director Gary Leach, have registered a new PLC at Companies House under the name Dark Energy Publishing - fuelling reported rumours that a pre-packaged administration deal is in place which will allow them to pick up the assets of Dark Energy Digital once it folds.

The details for the new company, registered at Cedar House in Derby, were sent to Companies House on 23 February and filed by the organisation today. Both Joneses and Gary Leach are listed as the sole Directors with Peter Jones as the sole shareholder - with declared assets of £10 worth of shares at £1 each.

'Pre-packed' administration allows company assets to be sold immediately after a company enters administration, preserving business continuity. Company assets, such as IP, are transferred to the new entity, often at a low price.

However, creditors are often left without due remuneration, which has attracted criticism to the process. In Dark Energy Digital/Publishing's case, the major concern is that if staff are indeed owed money, as GamesIndustry.biz sources indicate, it will remain unpaid.

Dark Energy Digital has repeatedly been approached for confirmation of the situation, but has not replied.

Original story

Dark Energy Digital, the studio which developed Hydrophobia, is heading to administration.

Workers at the studio were informed of the decision to call in administrators last week and were told that the process will likely begin within the next ten days or so. Redundancy notices have reportedly already been issued.

A source at the company told GamesIndustry.biz that staff are concerned about outstanding payments. The company was originally known as Blade Interactive when it began work on Hydrophobia, but went bust in 2008, before owners Peter and Deborah Jones resurfaced with a new company under the name Dark Energy Digital.

Hydrophobia was in development for three and a half years, initially as a full priced cross-platform boxed title, but eventually seeing release digitally. Plans to turn the IP into a trilogy were briefly raised, then abandoned.

Poor reviews and sales thwarted the title, which was then updated and released again as a digital 360 title with the subtitle 'Pure', something which Dark Energy Digital's Pete Jones said reflected it fitting the original design brief more closely.

The update did not have the desired effect, with many outlets offering the same or barely improved scores. PC and PS3 versions of the title, named Hydrophobia Prophecy, fared badly also.

As well as the IP of Hydrophobia itself, the game's proprietary Hydro Engine could be sold on by administrators, as well as a World Championship Snooker IP and a nearly complete Pool title.

Dark Energy Digital has not returned requests for comment.

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Latest comments (13)

Joe Barron Community Evangelist, Kwalee Ltd4 years ago
Very sad to see this studio go. There is so little games development left in Manchester.

I reviewed Hydrophobia and the last Snooker game during my time at GameSpot UK. They were clearly an ambitious and imaginative team, but unfortunately they never nailed the execution of their ideas.

www.kwalee.com

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Barron on 28th February 2012 12:30pm

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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 4 years ago
Such a shame to see this happen, especially after the effort that went into the patch. Hydrophobia Pure is well worth anyone's money, it's a shame gamers didn't respond to it, but I guess that's the nature of the industry, we're always after the latest and greatest. Most aren't that interested in going back.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Very sad - here's hoping those affected find something.
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Show all comments (13)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
I worked with these people on their snooker games when I was at Codemasters.
Straightforward money in the bank at every iteration as a result of owning the space.

I wish everybody involved the best of luck. And remember that there are 14 game companies in Leamington + Codies in the countryside. Many of these companies are recruiting including us.
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Gary Switzer Art manager, Dark Energy Digital4 years ago
The information in this article is wholly inaccurate, and the initial information that the article was based on was also utterly inaccurate, from one disgruntled ex employee. I'm a current employee of DED and not affiliated with management in any way, but shoddy inaccurate articles like this do not help anyone.
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Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Sorry to hear that Gary. We actually received reports on the situation from more than one credible source. We also made numerous attempts to contact both Deborah and Peter for their comments on the situation, all of which were ignored. If you'd like to get in touch to clarify a few points we'd love to hear from you.
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Geir Aaslid Producer, Virtual Game Worlds As4 years ago
Gary, claiming this article is shoddy or inaccurate without giving the readers an example of that, does actually make yourself shoddily inaccurate. I suspect that was not your intention?
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Dan Pearson European Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Just to reiterate, we've heard this from multiple sources and have made every attempt to contact DED - so far to no avail. We'll update as soon as we hear anything from the parties involved.
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Nicolai Guba Managing Director 4 years ago
How is it that an Art manager is not affiliated with management in any way? This is good!!! Please explain!
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Jeez, lay off him people. I suspect when he says he's not affiliated with management he means he's not affiliated with the executive management/owners.

In any event, and again, here's to any affected staff finding new work as soon as possible.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
They really had a bad time with Hydrophobia. It's sad specially when, unlike other companies, they released a game that was not working, accepted they made a mistake and tried to redeem themselfs releasing a second version.

Wish them the best for the future; their talent is undeniable.
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Chris Wood Lead Game Designer, Waracle4 years ago
Andreas - yup - several companies have done it over the years ... its a pretty shitty move for everyone but the directors
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Alec-Ross` Bower Journalist 4 years ago
Such a shame and, quite frankly, a waste of potential. Here's hoping the employees land on their feet.
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