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Kuju rebrands Brighton studio

UK developer Kuju has announced the rebranding of its Brighton studio, which from now on will be known as Zoë Mode and represented by a character of the same name.

UK developer Kuju has announced the rebranding of its Brighton studio, which from now on will be known as Zoë Mode and represented by a character of the same name.

"Everyone knows who Kuju is and what we've done, but in this age of specialisation it's been getting hard to get across the success of the Brighton studio," Kuju boss Ian Baverstock told GamesIndustry.biz.

"As we've been more successful across multiple studios, each doing different things, it's been getting harder and harder to maintain that clear understanding with our trade partners as to what each studio does."

Kuju's Brighton studio was established in 2003 and employs around 100 members of staff, who specialise in working on SingStar and EyeToy games. The studio is also developing original IP Crush, which will be published by Sega.

From today it will operate under the name of Zoë Mode - a young, female character who is said to embody the studio's culture and specialist talents.

"Her personality represents the kind of consumers we're targeting, and to some extent the type of people that work at the studio and the culture of the studio. She is open-minded, social, partying, a music fan, a gamer... It's about a mixture of interests," said studio head Ed Daly.

Baverstock added, "Everything about Zoë Mode as a personality is the real true essence of what the studio is. We're saying we're about making games for people like this, not just that normal, narrow, 18 - 24 year-old male age group.

"The idea of using a single character like Zoë to represent a studio is very much this studio's idea. All of Kuju's studios are focusing on particular areas, and their ambition in each case is to be the world's best. The days when you can be a jobbing, general purpose game developer are long gone - you've got to be a specialist."

According to Daly, the rebranding exercise is not linked with the multi-million pound investment Kuju received last year, but is "something we've been thinking about for a while now".

"The studios are increasingly autonomous, and the strategy is for each studio to find a focus on a particular type of game and then become specialists," he said.

"That's something that Brighton's done with our work with Sony on SingStar and EyeToy games in particular. It made increasing sense for the public face of the studio to be differentiated."

Baverstock said that Kuju has long believed that operating diverse studios is a "good strategy", observing, "It's not just about spreading risk around - it allows specialisation. But it's also true that games development requires a really creative office culture, and that's really quite hard to achieve in a 300-person company.

"Each of our studios aren't like that - they're smaller entities, with separate cultures."

So far, Kuju has yet to confirm whether its other studios will also be rebranded if the Zoë Mode initiative is a success.

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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