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Acheron Design is an independent Australian game development studio, which has historically thrived on subcontracting and outsource work. Acheron Design was founded in 2004 by Lewis Strudwick and Athol Birtley. In 2006, the studio became a company, and Michael de Graaf joined the executive team. It is a member of the International Game Developers Association, and the Game Developers Association of Australia.
Acheron Design's notable releases have largely been sports games. The company developed Brian Lara Pressure Play for the PSP, in conjunction with IR Gurus. The game was published by British publisher Codemasters in 2007, and has been a #1 seller in the UK, and in Australia. Acheron Design also worked on the arcade soccer simulator Striker Pro for the Buffalo company Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE).
In 2007, Acheron Design won a special commendation in the 'Best New Startup' category at the annual Game Developers Association of Australia awards. Brian Lara Pressure Play was also a finalist in the 'Best Handheld Game' category.
In 2004, Lewis Strudwick and Athol Birtley developed and released Laboratory Mission X while studying at Melbourne University. The game is a freeware title for the PC that explores unconventional control mechanisms and gameplay ideas. The studio grew and began performing outsourcing work for companies such as IR Gurus. It is now combining contract work with development of original intellectual property.
The name and logo
The name 'Acheron' comes from classical Greek mythology, where Acheron is one of the rivers in Hades. It is the Acheron across which Charon was said to ferry the newly dead to the underworld. These classical allusions are clearly reflected in the company's logo, which shows a ferryman and a lake or river of some sort.
Acheron Design in the community
Acheron Design has built and maintains a game engine for simple, rapid development of 2D games. It is called the MASI engine, and provides high- and low-level functionality for game development. It is freely available using subversion, and has been used internally by Acheron Design in several projects. An overview of the engine can be found on the company's developer website.
- Pony Friends 2 (2009)
- Brian Lara Pressure Play (2007)
- WW2 DVD Trivia Challenge (2006)
- Cricket DVD Trivia Challenge (2006)
- AFL DVD Trivia Challenge (2006)
- Striker Pro (2006)
- Laboratory Mission X (2004)
In September 2007, Film Victoria announced investment in the Acheron Design project The Nightspot. According to the Film Victoria website, The Nightspot is 'a multi-platform game that gives users the freedom to create and manage their own bar however they see fit'.
Further, in an interview with Australian game industry website tsumea, managing director Lewis Strudwick hinted that a 'sci-fi psychological thriller' was also in the works. At a Dissecta talk dealing with DVD Trivia Games, it was also confirmed that the company is working on trivia games for the downloadable PC market.
- Acheron Design Home Page
- Brian Lara Pressure Play at codemasters.com
- Acheron Design at MobyGames
- Striker Pro official website
- Laboratory Mission X game page
References and notes
- ↑ IGDA studio listing
- ↑ Brian Lara Pressure Play on top of the UK charts
- ↑ Ricky Ponting Pressure Play (the Australian SKU) on top of the Australian charts
- ↑ GDAA 2007 Award Winners
- ↑ GDAA 2007 Award Nominations
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Sumea interview with Lewis Strudwick
- ↑ Mike Fegan interview at PALGN
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 ibid
- ↑ Film Victoria Digital Media Prototyping (September 2007)
- ↑ Film Victoria's latest Digital Media Prototyping Decisions (10 October 2007)
- ↑  Sumea interview with Lewis Strudwick (5 October 2007)
- ↑ Australian Gamer report from Dissecta event