Calling all video, PC, and virtual reality game enthusiasts! Did you know we have a local, independent video game development firm in our midst? Other Ocean Interactive has been an Emeryville native since 2006, developing and restoring games for the industry’s most established publishers like Microsoft Game Studios, Sony, Disney, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, and more.
We sat down with Other Ocean’s Director of Finance, Jodi McLellan and Video Game Senior Producer, Stephen Frost, to learn more about the company and its sub brands: Digital Eclipse, Sculpin, and Brackish. Other Ocean’s Digital Eclipse brand specializes in the preservation and restoration of games, adding new technology to classics, and updating them for the modern gaming audience. “We are like Indiana Jones,” says Frost, “In our quest to create compelling collections with these games, we can’t leave any stone unturned, so end up spending countless hours reaching out to former developers that worked on the games, and digging through old source code, news articles, , assets, artwork and anything else we can get our hands on. We then take everything and attempt to weave an interactive narrative that is both compelling and fun to explore.” While being forward-thinking in the gaming industry seems to be the norm, Digital Eclipse can be differentiated by its desire to restore and preserve the past.
The Digital Eclipse team strives to make older games appeal to modern audiences without interfering with the integrity of the original piece. They can achieve this by adding new features into the games, like allowing players to rewind the game in order to correct mistakes, or being able to watch entire playthroughs of the games and then jump into the game at any desired time. More traditional players may not need these additional tools, but they are there to help anyone who needs a bit of help to see that end screen. It’s a win for all!
Some notable examples of games Digital Eclipse has worked on to restore include Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, Mega Man Legacy Collection, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King and the upcoming Samurai Shodown NEOGEO Collection.
Other Ocean also has two Canadian game development studios and Sculpin, another Other Ocean brand that is used to refer to their Quality Assurance and Customer Service team.
Game development is no predictable task and timing of releases can range depending on what the project is. Restoring a video game can have more of a shorter turnaround time but creating something new from scratch can take upwards of several years to complete. Although Other Ocean’s focus is the restoration and preservation pieces, they still have developed their own originals as well. Has anyone played Project Winter – an 8-person multiplayer game focusing on survival?
Other Ocean Group’s games are compatible with most platforms. They currently develop for PC (Steam, Windows 10), Console (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch), Mobile (iOS, Android), and VR/Mixed Reality. Thinking ahead, Other Ocean wants to make sure their game engines and development technology, such as the Eclipse Engine, will be compatible with future consoles. We got the inside scoop that new consoles are under development for release in the coming year and that Other Ocean is already planning for them, working closely with console creators on future projects that will be focused on showing off all the new features that these new consoles will offer.
With about 27 employees in development studios across the U.S., we wanted to know what type of challenges their HR team might face. We were happy to find out that McLellan’s team experiences little to none.
Other Ocean has been a client of Payroll Systems since 2011. McLellan states, “Payroll Systems has made my life easier. I don’t encounter any problems and my involvement is pretty minor. Our representative is lightning fast with any request I have, and I couldn’t be any more satisfied with response time.”
Keeping one foot in the past and a stern look towards the future, it’s exciting to see what projects are brewing for Other Ocean. To learn more about their company, you can visit their website here.