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A Brief History of Spacetime Studios

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Spacetime Studios (STS) is a games development studio, based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2005 by a small group of experienced PC MMO game developers: Gary Gattis, Cinco Barnes, Anthony L. Sommers and Jake Rodgers. With experience developing such games as Wing Commander and Star Wars Galaxies, the start-up was created with the aim to create Sci-Fi MMOs for the PC market.

In 2005, Spacetime Studios was founded by a group of developers with collaborative experience working on such titles as Wing Commander, Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online. In March 2006, they successfully contracted to begin development of an original IP for a PC sci-fi MMO for NCSoft called Blackstar. This was facilitated in part by the veteran game developer's long-standing working partnership with personnel at NCSoft and familiar with their previous work on sci-fi games.

After several years of pre-production work, in January 2008, NCSoft cancelled their agreement with STS to publish Blackstar, citing a change in economic conditions in the market, after poor performance of two other MMOs in their publishing group such as Tabula Rasa and a consequent reassessment of the Korean publisher's North American portfolio strategy. Spacetime Studios had initially contracted the full rights and ownership of the technology and tools for the newly created in-house game engine called the Spacetime Engine, written in C++ for the purpose of massively scalable tools and in-game assets. But NCSoft still owned the Blackstar IP, including all artistic concepts and narration assets.

STS laid off 12 team members as a result of this and continues to explore options to bring its flagship IP Blackstar to market in addition to unveiling a first glimpse of Blackstar video clip in February to market the project to a new publisher; in addition to a presence at Games Developer's Conference that year. In May 2008, STS reacquires the Blackstar IP from NCSoft. Uncertainty in what is perceived as a difficult market transition leads to STS to consider various options to attract a new publisher or market the project to console and/or as a free-to-play business model. In August 2008, STS halved its staff in search of a new publisher and delivered video footage of preproduction of their game for GDC showcase.

In June 2009, STS published some concept art from Blackstar in a sign that it is still confident and committed to developing the project. STS announces the completion of pre-production ready for mass production of Blackstar but subsequently reduces staff to the four founding members plus two. During 2009 STS invested time experimenting with the iOS applications during self-publishing games such as Shotgun granny under the moniker of ClockRocket Games and decided a Mobile MMO is achievable on this platform using the spacetime engine.

Work began in October 2009 and completed the underlying mechanics of a new game called Pocket Legends in January 2010. On 3 April 2010, Spacetime Studios launched Pocket Legends in a stripped-down mobile MMORPG. In September 2010 Spacetime Studios updates the app regularly Spacetime and announces multiplatform support including the Android platform with Investment from Insight Venture Partners.

On February 10, 2011, STS announced the development of their original title, Blackstar, and confirm it will be released Quarter 2 of 2011. Subsequently, Blackstar was showcased at GDC, in March 2011, for the third time in its development history and receives widespread press coverage and interest in the games industry. In April 2011, Spacetime Studios celebrated the anniversary of its fantasy mobile mmo, Pocket Legends release.

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