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Home Games News Plenty of Optimism for Irish Game Development

Plenty of Optimism for Irish Game Development

Ireland seemingly had little interest in video gaming prior to 2018, when its first AAA game, Star Trek Fleet Command, was released by Digit on mobile devices

James Barker - Mon, 03 Jan 2022 16:01:40 +0000 2371 Views
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There are a few countries around the world that are known for video games, whether that’s playing them, creating them, or helping to build the industry we know today as eSports. These are usually places like the US and UK, South Korea, Japan, and China but there are plenty of up-and-coming countries too, such as India and Brazil. Ireland rarely gets a mention, though.


That latter point is neither conspiracy nor deliberate omission. From a development perspective, Ireland seemingly had little interest in video gaming prior to 2018, when its first AAA game, Star Trek Fleet Command, was released by Digit on mobile devices. Fleet Command followed Digit’s original IP Kings of the Realm, whose launch attracted some press attention in the country back in 2014.


Retro Revival


Oddly enough, Fleet Command is arguably not Ireland’s biggest game to date. In 2010 and 2012, County Monaghan developer Terry Cavanagh released VVVVVV and Super Hexagon, respectively. These two titles represented the pinnacle of the retro revival that was taking place at the time. In the case of VVVVVV, its 80s credentials were so strong it would eventually be released on the Commodore 64.

 


Unfortunately, that’s almost the entirety of Ireland’s contribution to video gaming to date. The country arguably has better representation in the industry as a setting for major titles. Most recently, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla made a stop in Ireland, as well as in England, Norway, and France, but the year 2000 game Tomb Raider Chronicles also used the country as the backdrop for three levels.


There’s a long tradition in casino gaming to borrow elements from Irish folklore, too. On the Buzz Bingo site, the slot game Rainbow Riches includes staples like pots of gold, leprechauns, and the fabled rainbow’s end, as does the similar game Luck O' The Irish. It’s a much more traditional view of Ireland than the one shown in Assassin’s Creed, for instance, but it’s one that continues to find an audience online.


Project V


Of course, all the above is in the past now - so, what of the future? Since Digit’s success in the late 2010s, Ireland has attracted a number of big names to its cities, including Epic Games and Activision-Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and plenty of other seminal titles. In terms of future Irish success, though, that achievement could fall to the new outfit Vela Games.

 


Vela Games has yet to release anything so far. However, an upcoming title, codenamed Project V, has generated a large amount of external funding - US$17.3 million as of summer 2021. Project V seems to be in a genre of its own, what Vela Games is calling Multiplayer Co-op or MOCO. How that differs from the standard online co-op is anybody’s guess but it’s nevertheless a novel take in a sometimes tired market.


Overall, despite a slow start to developing video games, Ireland and its local creators seem to have ideas above their station for 2022 and beyond.

 

 

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