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Relentless Software is a British video game company formed in 2003 and primarily known for the Buzz! series of video games.

History

Relentless Software was founded by David Amor & Andrew Eades who had previously worked together at the Brighton office of Computer Artworks.[1]

Computer Artworks had been in the process of creating a DJ simulation game for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), but the company went into receivership in October 2003[2] before the title could be completed. Amor and Eades persuaded SCEE that they could set up a company and complete the DJ project for them. Much to their shock, SCEE agreed and Relentless was set up just 36 hours after their meeting with SCEE.[1]

The company name arose from Amor & Eades ambition to develop video games in a different way to the perceived norms of the industry. They wanted development to be a steady flow of work rather than the more normal cycle of a slow start leading to a project ending with long "crunch" periods. They typed unstoppable into an online thesaurus and of the synonyms returned they chose Relentless as the company name.[1]

Whilst Relentless were completing work on the DJ simulator - that had by now been named DJ: Decks & FX - they also carried out the conversion of an SCEE published title, EyeToy: Groove, for the Japanese market. DJ: Decks & FX was released in September 2004 and was nominated in the audio category of the 2004 BAFTA awards.[3] More conversion work for SCEE followed, with the conversion of SingStar Popworld for the Swedish and Norwegian markets.

Buzz!

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In 2004 SCEE were approached by a company called SleepyDog who had secured the rights to a large number of music tracks and wanted Sony to use them as the basis of a quiz game.[1] SCEE approached Relentless and asked them to design a quiz game using the music that Sleepydog had the rights for. Relentless ditched the idea Sony had presented them with, a board game on a screen, and instead developed the game along the lines of the player being in a TV studio, actually taking part in a TV quiz show. Buzz!: The Music Quiz was released in the run-up to Christmas 2005. Initially the game sold poorly, so poorly that Sony considered cancelling further titles in the series, but over Christmas sales dramatically picked up, so much so that Buzz!: The Music Quiz eventually sold over 1 million copies.[4]

A sequel, Buzz! The Big Quiz quickly followed in March 2006 and its sales kept it in the PlayStation 2 UK top 20 for a whole year.[5] In July 2006 Relentless and SCEE were joint winners of two Develop Industry awards. Winning Best New Intellectual Property for Buzz! and the Best Innovation category for the Buzz buzzers.[6] Greater recognition arrived later in the year at the BAFTA Video Games awards, where Buzz! The Big Quiz, won the BAFTA award for Best Casual and Social Game.[7]

Relentless' next Buzz! game was Buzz!: The Mega Quiz in April 2007, The Mega Quiz was the fourth title in the Buzz! series - the third title, Buzz!: The Sports Quiz, had been developed by Kuju Entertainment and released in November 2006. The next game in the series was the movie themed Buzz!: The Hollywood Quiz.

During 2007 Relentless had been trialling an educational version of Buzz! in schools and after a successful trial a full version - Buzz!: The Schools Quiz - was developed in association with the UK Government's Department for Education and Skills (DfES), with the game's 5,000 questions being based on the Key Stage 2 Curriculum that covers children between the ages of 7 and 11 years.[8]

Buzz!:The Schools Quiz was released in January 2008 just prior to the March 2008 release of the sixth game in the main series, Buzz!: The Pop Quiz, after which Relentless switched its attention towards the PlayStation 3.

Buzz!: Quiz TV for the PlayStation 3 was released in July 2008 and was the first Buzz! game to feature online play via the internet. The game also features the ability for users to expand the game via the purchase of question packs from the PlayStation Store. Users can also expand the game with questions from the MyBuzz website. The website allows users to create their own quizzes and then to play them, or other people's quizzes, in the Quiz TV game itself.

July 2008 also saw the release of the first Buzz! game on a handheld console. Buzz!: Master Quiz for the PlayStation Portable was developed jointly by Relentless and Curve Studios.[9]

The Buzz! series has accumulated total sales of over 8 million.[10]

Blue Toad

July 2009 saw Relentless announce their first self -published game, Blue Toad Murder Files. The episodic game will be released for the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Store in December 2009.[11][12]

The game will be for 1-4 players and will lean towards TV murder mysteries with "witnesses, alibis [and] motives" rather than being a logic puzzle like Cluedo.[13] The game sees the player investigate murders and interrogate residents in the village of Little Riddle. Aspects of the game have been compared to the Professor Layton series of games, regarding its setting and puzzle solving game mechanic, but it differs from the Layton games in that the puzzles in Blue Toad are more closely linked to the game's story line. At various points the game questions the player about their investigation and key plot points to check that they were paying attention.[14]

No crunch

Relentless is notable amongst video game developers in that it never has a crunch period during the development of its games.[10] The company also operates on a 9 to 5 basis with no overtime or weekend working.[15]

Awards

  • 2006 BAFTA for Buzz!: The Big Quiz. Casual and Social Game category[7]
  • 2006 Develop Award in conjunction with SCEE in the category Best New Intellectual Property for Buzz![6]
  • 2006 Develop Award in conjunction with SCEE in the category Best Innovation for Buzz buzzers[6]

Nominations

  • 2004 BAFTA Nomination in Audio category forDJ Decks & FX: House Edition[3]
  • 2007 Develop Award Nomination for Business Development
  • 2007 Develop Award Nomination for Independent Developer

Notable games

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Simons, Iain (2007). Iside Game Design. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 107–113. ISBN 978-1-85669-532-9. 
  2. Computer Artworks goes into receivership. Eurogamer (2003-10-24). Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bafta Games Nominations 2004: Audio category. BAFTA (2004). Retrieved on 2008-03-13.
  4. Elliott, Phil (2008-04-24). David Amor - Still Buzzing. Gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
  5. Buzz!: The BIG Quiz. Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Loveday, Samantha (2006-07-13). Big night for development talent. www.developmag.com. Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Games Nominations 2006. BAFTA (2006). Retrieved on 2006-02-01.
  8. Bramwell, Tom (2007-01-11). Buzz!: The Schools Quiz. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2007-01-11.
  9. Buzz!: Master Quiz. Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
  10. 10.0 10.1 FEATURE: Relentless, Buzz! and Social Gaming. edge-online.com (2008-05-08). Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
  11. Robert Purchese (2009-07-14). Relentless reveals non-Buzz! venture PlayStation 3 News - Page 1. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.
  12. Relentless Software. Relentless.co.uk. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.
  13. Stuart, Keith (2009-07-01). Tech Weekly: Develop videogames conference special (Podcast). Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-07-31. “"Cluedo's quite, sort of a logic puzzle really. We were kind of looking to recreate the kind of experience that people are used to with seeing TV shows like Midsomer Murders, Agatha Cristie type stuff where there are witnesses, alibis, motives, more that kind of style."”
  14. "Blue Toad Murder Files". Edge (206 (October 2009)): pp. p43. September 2009. 
  15. Fahey, Rob (2005-11-10). Focus: Relentless puts its finger on the Buzz!. gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved on 2008-08-12.

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