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Kuju Entertainment

Kuju Entertainment

Video game developer

Kuju Entertainment Ltd. is a British video game developer. The original company was Simis, formed in 1989 and purchased by Eidos Interactive in 1995. Kuju was formed in 1998 in Shalford, Surrey, England, after a management buyout of Simis from Eidos.

Kuju has released titles across different devices, ranging from Art Academy on the Nintendo DS, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest and Battalion Wars 2 for the Wii, and an Xbox One title, Powerstar Golf.

History

Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth opened Simis in 1989 and produced a number of flight simulator programs like MiG-29 Fulcrum (1990 video game). In 1995, the company was purchased by Eidos and operated as an in-house development studio. In 1998, Baverstock and Newth led a management buyout of the studio from Eidos Interactive, forming Kuju Ltd.

The name "Kuju" originates from the initials of the founders’ first names: Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth. Jonathan was leafing through a Japanese dictionary when he found the numbers nine and ten – "ku" and "ju" – corresponding to the positions of "I" and "J" in the English alphabet. The combined result was Kuju. Their first game was Tank Racer, a 3D action racer for PC, PlayStation and mobile.

By 2001, Kuju was employing a team of 80 developers, in three separate offices around the UK in London, Surrey and Brighton. Their most notable project at the time was Microsoft Train Simulator. In 2002, Kuju floated on the Alternative Investments Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. Shortly thereafter the company signed its first game with THQ based on the Games Workshop franchise, Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior. In the following years between 2002 and 2007, Kuju developed titles including SingStar games and the Battalion Wars franchise.

In 2007, Kuju Ltd. was acquired by a German media investment firm, Catalis SE. Soon after, Kuju Brighton was rebranded to Zoë Mode, and in 2008, Kuju London rebranded to Headstrong Games. In 2010, Headstrong Games completed development of Art Academy for the Nintendo DS console. In June 2012, Dominic Wheatley, co-founder of Domark, was appointed as CEO; while Gary Bracey, former vice-president of development at Ocean Software, was appointed as commercial director.

Timeline

1998
Kuju was formed in 1998 in Shalford, Surrey, England, after a management buyout of Simis from Eidos.

Further Resources

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