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Sold: What The Deal Means

Dana Massey Posted:
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We interviewed Ed Andercheck of EI Interactive and David Bowman to find out

Ed Andercheck’s EI Interactive has purchased Horizons and, as of last Friday, the deal means that nearly everyone who worked for Tulga Games is out of a job.

“I’m a gamer and I saw a mature and exciting group of people,” explained Andercheck of why his company decided to purchase Horizons.

He added that the culture of the community, the game’s rich potential for storytelling and the way players can grow the world all made Horizons an extremely attractive product for him.

Andercheck added that his company has no plans to radically alter the course Tulga Games had laid out and hopes to stay true to the spirit of Horizons.

The agreement transfers ownership of all intellectual property and relevant technology related to Horizons to EI Interactive, as well as the rights to operate the title. The Evolution Engine, an MMORPG development platform built by Tulga Games, and Dark-World Online remains the sole property of Tulga Games.

During the transfer, four Tulga Games employees in relevant fields - including David Bowman - will remain on staff at Tulga to assists EI Interactive.

“The owners are definitely gamers and intend to give [Horizons] the best possible future,” said Bowman

Despite this short term arrangement, Andercheck told MMORPG.com that they have “no specific plans for [David] to be part of the new company at this time.”

At E3 2006, Tulga Games announced Settlements, an expansion to Horizons. This was acquired by EI Interactive and they are evaluating the concept. However, at the time of the transfer Settlements was still in the design phases and EI has not yet decided whether they will pursue it.

While Andercheck says he has no plans to radically change Horizons, he added that his team was intrigued by the original Race Wars concept for Horizons. As some may recall, under its original design, all the races of Horizons would have been at war in a PvP-oriented title. Andercheck was clear though that he does not plan to alter the current game world, but will evaluate this and other concepts as options for entirely new servers.

EI Interactive, which also runs and hopes to expand their other title Savage Eden, plans to expand their Phoenix, Arizona offices. The agreement did not transfer a single employee to EI, but Andercheck says he plans to interview many former Tulga Games developers for positions at EI Interactive.

For his part, David Bowman added that he “strongly, strongly recommended they hire every single one of the developers that were on staff… [and] if they do they will have a strong future.”

As to Tulga Games, David said they are hard at work seeking new contracts that take advantage of the Evolution Engine in the hope that they can hire back as many people as possible in the near future. However, at this time no deals have been signed.

“Tulga Games is not focused on Dark-World Online,” David added, saying only that they are committed to making MMORPGs using the Evolution Engine.

EI Interactive is an in-game support oriented company and in the short term, fans of Horizons should expect the company to have a strong presence in the game world as they find out from their players where they hope Horizons should go next.

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Dana Massey