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Crooks exits Headstrong as team moves to PS3, 3DS work

Previously Nintendo-only studio looks to rebuild following Wii slowdown

Bradley Crooks, studio boss of Headstrong Games, has left the developer, as parent company Kuju looks to rebuild the previously Wii-focused business with new PlayStation 3 and 3DS projects.

The team consisted of around 70 members of staff at the start of the year, and has since shrunk by around 50 per cent, with Crooks being made reundant at the end of June.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Kuju CEO Nigel Robbins confirmed the changes, and that the studio is currently in the process of rebuilding off the back of new contracts.

"Headstrong was a bigger studio at the beginning of the year, but it was in a more fragile state than at present as a result of being pretty much solely reliant on Wii work, which as we all know has thinned a little," he said.

"A decision was made to realign the studio and focus at the same time on broadening Headstrong's capabilities. Bradley Crooks did an excellent job leading the studio during its first growth phase following the Kuju rebranding exercise."

He added: "It is now the turn of Steve Pritchard and Tancred Dyke-Wells to step up to the plate focusing on production and creative excellence, in the Headstrong tradition, and they are working on three significant bits of business for PlayStation 3 and DS/3DS, and will remain Wii-friendly, given their strong track record for that SKU."

Headstrong had previously worked on Battalion Wars 2 for Nintendo, Sega's House of the Dead: Overkill, and The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest for Warner Bros.

Crooks joined Headstrong from Electronic Arts, and as well as rebranding the Kuju studio helped focus the team on the Wii market.

Over the past few years Kuju has moved London staff at casual studio Zoe Mode to Brighton and closed Chemistry, its hardcore games developer. Czech outfit Vatra is working on a new Silent Hill game for Konami.

Downloads studio Doublesix is its strongest asset, striking a hit with Burn Zombie Burn on Sony's PSN service, and it's this success that Robbins hopes to emulate with a rebooted Headstrong.

"With newly appointed DDM representation, the team, which will comprise just over forty, will focus on doing what they do best, making great games and delivering high quality results," he said. "Headstrong is stock full of great talent and is now more focused and driven than it's ever been under Steve and Tanc's leadership."

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