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Sumo: “Constraining Eve Valkyrie devs to VR would be the wrong thing to do”

Newcastle studio already working on active projects, but new parent hints at other expertise

UK developer Sumo Digital has told GamesIndustry.biz the former team at CCP Newcastle was acquired for more than just its accomplishments in the field of virtual reality.

The Newcastle studio was acquired at the beginning of the year, just a few months after Eve Online developer CCP shut it down and pulled out of the VR market.

The team was behind virtual reality spin-off Eve Valkyrie, which many considered to be the poster child for VR as the current wave of headsets first gained momentum.

Managing director Paul Porter tells us the rescued team is "already on active projects", but adds that these are "not anything we can talk about" right now. He also stressed that Sumo Newcastle's first release won't necessarily be for virtual reality.

"They've brought some great in-depth knowledge of VR to Sumo immediately, but that doesn't mean we've acquired them as a team to do VR," he says. "They've got so much talent that constraining them to VR would be the wrong thing to do."

While Porter acknowledged that the team's experiences with CCP's project were appealing, the staff's collected expertise stretches beyond this single virtual reality title.

"Obviously recently they were very involved in Eve Valkyrie and have a lot of VR knowledge but the core of that team have been working together for a long time, even back to when they were Midway Newcastle," he says.

The Eve Valkyrie team was actually founded in 2010 by key members of Midway Newcastle after the studio was closed in 2009. Prior to its closure, the developer was known for its work on Vin Diesel-fronted action game The Wheelman and the early Test Drive titles.

It's possible Sumo Digital could be interested in this experience with racing games. The company is the developer behind the popular Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing series, which returns this year with Team Sonic Racing. It has also contributed to the development of various Forza games and their DLC.

We recently spoke to Sumo about its handling of AAA games, including the upcoming Crackdown 3, and why it plans to release its internal game jam prototypes for free.

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