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Inside Track - Why versatility is the name of the game for Mediatonic

Inside Track - Why versatility is the name of the game for Mediatonic

In the last year, Mediatonic has released games across numerous different genres and platforms all the while maintaining an industry-leading reputation and high quality. Creative director Jeff Tanton tells us more

Tell us about your company.

Mediatonic is an independent developer with over 230 devs across London, Brighton, Madrid and our newly announced location in Leamington Spa.

Unconfined by genre, platform or business model we delight in creating games that are inclusive and approachable; but never at the expense of the weird, the surprising, and the wonderful.

How has the last year been for you?

I’ve been here over a decade and every year at Mediatonic seems bigger and more wild than the last; even my frankly feeble grasp of business suggests this is probably a Good Thing, I should probably check with our CFO.

There’s been a huge focus on Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout this year, we’re no strangers to premium or PC and console games, but there were a lot of unique tech, art and design challenges in development that we just hadn’t faced as a studio before. The team have risen to those challenges admirably and I’m really excited to share their work with the world.

We released Murder By Numbers earlier this year, a game from an incredible team that I’m immensely proud to be linked to. We’ve wanted to get back into the narrative and visual novel space ever since we brought pigeon-dating to the masses with Hatoful Boyfriend.

We’ve also started production on an entirely new title in the last few months, and all of this is backgrounded by our mobile teams who are just consistently knocking it out of the park. It’s exciting, exhausting and exhilarating.

What challenges are facing your sector in the market?

One of the wonderful things about Mediatonic over the years has been its versatility as a studio. We’ve worked across pretty much every format and business model you can think of, and that versatility has allowed us to always find work and opportunities even when certain areas of the market weren’t as buoyant.

Right now I just see a lot of opportunities, one of the things I’ve noticed recently is this groundswell of really interesting mid-size publishers (Annapurna, Private Division, even our own The Irregular Corporation) that are doing good business off of fairly niche products. There’s so much potential in that space with the right partnership.

What do you think are the most exciting trends in games right now?

As we’re soon to launch a subversion on the battle-royale mechanic, I think I’m duty-bound to make commentary on what comes next after the earth-shattering impact of Fortnite and PUBG.

Fortnite is tough as hell – or I’m just very bad at it – but the mass-multiplayer-down-to-one aspect allows this anonymity and space for people to learn the ropes in a safer, far less intense way than in previous online-multiplayer titles. My sense is that we suddenly have this huge community of online-ready players who perhaps haven’t bought into it before.

Given that, I want to see what we can offer these players next that isn’t a straight shooter. Fall Guys is part of that, but I still think there’s a huge amount of unexplored design space in co-operative play, it’s something that fascinates us as a studio and I think ties deeply into our cultural values.

What are your aims for the coming year?

To kick-off another of our own-IP titles, to make the Fall Guys release as big a success as possible, and to continue to build on the diversity and talent within the studio to make sure we’re making games with authentic voices in a supportive culture.

How did you come up with your company’s name?

It goes back to the Founders’ days at University. In the mid-noughties, every new company name seemed to have two words mashed together: Popcap, Playfish, Playdemic: Mediatonic. The Founders knew they wanted to build something with lots of things going on but they didn’t want to get pinned-down. So they hit on the word 'tonic', believing that when the right ingredients come together it makes for something special.

You can check out Mediatonic's website here


Staff Writer

A freelance writer based in Berkshire. Besides PG and PCGI she has written as a guides writer, specialising in RPG's and horror.

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