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3 Blokes Studios

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In June 2011, Californian social gaming company, RockYou, acquired Brisbane-based games developers, 3 Blokes Studios, in an effort to increase their portfolio of social games and developers. 3 Blokes Studios worked on Galactic Allies for Facebook as a RockYou studio with the aim of attracting more hardcore male gamers to compliment RockYou's more female-orientated audience from their established titles such as Zoo World 2.

Unfortunately for 3 Blokes Studios, RockYou has had a drastic change in business direction and they're no longer focussing on social gaming. Earlier this month, RockYou confirmed to Inside Social Games that they had closed down 3 Blokes Studios. From Inside Social Games...

“Yes, we wound down the 3 Blokes studio,” Josh Grant, RockYou’s SVP and GM of Studio Partners tells us in an emailed statement. “We have great respect for the team. The focus of our business has changed; our core capabilities are in monetization and distribution, and we reorganized last year to focus on our media business and third party publishing.”

3 Blokes Studios was founded in late 2006 by Marko Grgic, Duncan Curtis and Zac Congo. The company was later joined by veteran games developers, John Passfield (VP of Creative), in 2009 and George Fidler (General Manager) in 2010.

Contributing to a related Polygon article at The Verge, Fidler had a positive outlook on the future, revealing that most of 3 Blokes Studio's staff will be regrouping under a new name and their focus will remain on Facebook strategy games. From Polygon...

"The good news is we do have another opportunity, it's just a couple of weeks away before it is announced...

I don't think it will be the end of the team. Our employment has ceased with RockYou and we will be reemployed under a new organization in the near future...

We've developed expertise in developing hardcore strategy games for the Facebook market and there are lots of opportunities in that space"

News

Brisbane Social Gaming Team with Veteran Talent, Becomes A RockYou® Studio

Brisbane based social games developer, 3 Blokes Studios, have been acquired by Californian based social gaming company, RockYou, and will be set to operate from now on as a RockYou studio. 3 Blokes Studios are known for their various social games including Virtual Villagers, Hospital Town, and Galactic Trader, as well as being fronted by some of Australia's most respected games developers, John Passfield (co-founder of Krome Studios) and George Fidler (The Creative Assembly, Brisbane).

(Press Release)

RockYou, a leading social gaming company, today announced the acquisition of social game developer 3 Blokes. Based in Brisbane, Australia, 3 Blokes will operate independently as a RockYou studio and develop strategy and combat-driven Facebook games. RockYou is expanding its studio system to support top independent developers around the world as it continues to grow their social game portfolio.

“Being a RockYou Studio enables us to maintain our independence and innovate freely as we work to redefine the concept of a social game.”

Founded in 2006, 3 Blokes has developed four social games for the Facebook platform, including their most recent title, Galactic Trader, a space trading and combat game with 200,000 monthly active users. Led by VP and GM George Fidler, an industry veteran of over 20 years, the team has extensive game design and production experience across top publishers, including EA, THQ, Sega and Activision. George Fidler served as GM and COO of EA’s Asia Pacific Studio for 11 years before leaving to set up and run Creative Assembly’s Brisbane studio, where he worked on titles such as Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War. John Passfield, formerly CEO of 3 Blokes and now VP of Creative for the studio, was previously Creative Director at Pandemic’s Australia studio and co-founded Krome Studios. Passfield is credited on Destroy All Humans! 2 and was co-creator of the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series, which sold over two million copies. Co-founder of 3 Blokes, Marko Grgic, will lead the engineering efforts as Senior Director of Technology for the studio.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome 3 Blokes into the RockYou family, and have been deeply impressed by their wealth of expertise in both traditional and social gaming,” said Jonathan Knight, RockYou’s SVP of Games. “Their unique design sensibilities are a bridge between the casual and competitive gaming landscapes on Facebook. We’re looking forward to supporting them on our collective mission to deliver the world’s very best social games.”

“We were drawn to RockYou’s commitment to design-driven teams, and to bringing great games to the broadest Facebook market possible,” said George Fidler, VP and GM of 3 Blokes, a RockYou Studio. “Being a RockYou Studio enables us to maintain our independence and innovate freely as we work to redefine the concept of a social game.”

For more information on titles by 3 Blokes, visit http://www.facebook.com/3blokes.

For more information about RockYou, visit www.rockyou.com.

About RockYou

RockYou® is committed to defining the future of social gaming, creating products intended to serve players, advertisers, and developers alike. The company has dedicated itself to the development of high-quality games, including the award-nominated Gourmet Ranch™ and the celebrated Zoo World™ franchise. With advertising products that offer brands more meaningful interactions with players, RockYou creates an unmatched value-per-engagement for both brands and users. RockYou's partnerships with world-class talent are part of their steadfast commitment to working with the next generation of social game developers.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, RockYou is funded by Sequoia Capital, Partech International, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DCM and Softbank. More information at www.rockyou.com.

About 3 Blokes, a RockYou Studio

3 Blokes, a RockYou Studio, is a social game development studio based in Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 2006, they have created top casual social games for Facebook, including Virtual Villagers, Hospital Town, Brainversity, and Magical Forest. Their most recent game, Galactic Trader, is a space trading and combat game for core gamers on the Facebook platform with 200,000 monthly active users. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/3blokes.

Location
Skills
News

3 Blokes Studios is expanding! After the success of our Facebook game “Galactic Trader”, we are now looking to expand our Brisbane studio. We are currently seeking a Senior Flash Game Developer for our new title.

Requirements:

  • Extensive experience in developing with ActionScript 3
  • Experience integrating with PHP-based back-end services
  • Strong C++ Javascript or C# in an OOP environment
  • Familiarity with LAMP stack and DB interactions
  • Strong understanding of web technologies and web service API calls
  • Familiarity with Web 2.0 / Social Networking websites
  • Good UI and visual design sense
  • Excellent communication, collaboration, and problem solving skills
  • Strong passion for games a huge plus
  • Degree in Computer Science (or equivalent)

Send your application and CV to jobs@3blokesstudios.com

Location
Job Position
News

3 Blokes Studios is expanding! After the success of our Facebook game “Galactic Trader”, we are now looking to expand our Brisbane studio. We are currently seeking an Art Director with a passion for social games, to create and communicate the art vision for our projects and to manage the art team.

Responsibilities:

  • Define the vision for the art direction on new projects, evaluating concepts and creative material.
  • Work with project leads to implement game vision.
  • Define the art standards, systems and processes to ensure high quality and consistency throughout the project.
  • Manage, guide and mentor artists.
  • Oversee all outsourcing, including technical standards and quality standards set.

Required Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Arts, Graphic Arts, or related field
  • 5 years of professional experience in Art Direction
  • Outstanding collaboration and influencing skills
  • Sound understanding of art direction and storytelling
  • Strong 2D art skills with expertise in 2D art packages (Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.).

Send your application and CV to jobs@3blokesstudios.com

News

A feature written by Laura Parker for Gamespot AU did a great job covering three of the pioneering studios of the earliest days of the Australian games industry: Beam/Melbourne House, Strategic Studies Group (SSG), and Micro Forte. Local games veterans who saw the birth and rapid growth of the local games industry also shared their experiences of what it was like in the early days and gave their thoughts on the current 'rebirth'. These guys need no introduction. They are John De Margheriti (co-founder Micro Forte), Steve Fawkner (SSG), George Fidler (EA, Creative Assembly), and John Passfield (co-founder Krome Studios).

The veterans described how the industry had come a long way with work-for-hire and seeing a big surgeance of startups in the late 90's, but agreed that it was no longer a sustainable way of business. And despite having decades of experience each where you'd think they'd be set in the old ways of the industry, they're all embracing the new change that has been sweeping the games industry and share an equal level of optimism for the future of local games development. From Gamespot AU...

(Steve Fawkner) To be honest, the old industry was heading into a meltdown anyway. The focus was shifting toward games like Call of Duty with movie-sized budgets and long production times, a model which can only support a few big developers.

Fawkner says that the local industry had an over-reliance on work-for-hire and a lack of original IP development, but believes that digital distribution is the key in moving the industry forward opening some exciting possibilities for local developers. George Fidler agrees...

(George Fidler)“In the past, this has been difficult for two reasons: a lack of local venture capital and huge development budgets. It cost tens of millions of dollars to make video games. The budgets for casual and social games are much lower, which gives us the opportunity to fund projects ourselves. I think social-game mechanics are pervading every genre, on every platform of interactive entertainment. Electronic marketing and distribution, lower purchase prices and revenue streams, from in-game purchases and advertising are all here to stay.”

The shift in the gaming landscape certainly hasn't escaped the attentioned of Micro Forte boss, John De Margheriti, and he describes the change that we are seeing locally as a "renaissance" and just a beginning of even bigger things to come...

“As numerous Australian studios started floundering, it gave the amazing talent pool the opportunity to strike it out and go at it alone focusing on much smaller, self-funded titles. This is the renaissance of the games industry in Australia and I believe it will eventually be bigger than what it was. Now is the time because we are at the beginning of a new product life-cycle...”

John Passfield emphasises the need to embrace the new and adapt to change rather than clinging on to the old and that success doesn't necessarily come from the size of your games studio...

“I would argue that we, as an industry, are more successful than ever. Will we have 300-plus person studios again? Probably not. But I never saw that as a sign of success. What I count as success is high quality games in the top 10 around the world and great return on investment. It's easy to work out what should have been done in hindsight. What is important is for those still stuck in the old way of thinking to change quickly--embrace digital distribution, embrace metrics, explore free-to-play models and social play. Don't stick your head in the sand waiting for the old industry to recover.

Of interesting note, the veterans gave honour to the late Adam Lancman, the CEO of Beam Software/Melbourne House and head of the Games Developers Associaton of Australia (GDAA) who passed away unexpectedly in 2005. John De Margheriti revelaed that discussions were underway with Adam for the CEO role of Micro Forte until his untimely death.

For the entire feature, head on over to Gamespot AU...

Location
News

Screenworks Digital Screen Forum
Saturday, October 30, 2010 from 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM (GMT+1000)
Mullumbimby, New South Wales

Screenworks is shouting about the program and speakers for the digital event of the year in the Northern Rivers region. In partnership with Arts Northern Rivers, Screenworks is bringing an exciting list of speakers to Mullumbimby Civic Centre on Saturday 30th October to use their fantastic knowledge and experience to explore the digital markets, creative and development opportunities for the regions creators and producers of 3D animation, phone apps, games and web content.

However it doesn't stop there, if you are creating TV or feature films, then these are the digital accessories that compliment and extend your project. More and more all big screen and small screen projects are extending the life and engagement with different age groups via phone apps, games and 3D animation and other web content.

Ticket prices Members $35 + booking fee; Non members $45 + booking fee, all tickets available now or cash sales at the door $40 Members/ $50 Non members (subject to availability). Ticket price includes morning and afternoon tea.

Speakers include:

John Passfield is co-owner and Creative Director of 3 Blokes Studios in Brisbane. He is a veteran of the computer games industry including games designer, lead programmer, director and scriptwriter on numerous award winning titles. Previous studios include Gee Whiz Entertainment and Krome Studios where he co created TY the Tasmanian Tiger series. John is passionate about social gaming and has led the creative direction on a number of Facebook games including Brainiversity, Hospital Town, Virtual Villagers and soon to be released Galactic Trader.

Shainiel Deo is the CEO of games developer Halfbrick Studios in Brisbane. Founded in 2001, Halfbrick has been on the forefront of handheld, casual and mobile games development for years, recently achieving worldwide success and recognition for iPhone games including Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash. Shainiel has been leading the company since its inception and now works on expanding the studio's portfolio of games across a wide range of platforms and online downlaods networks, dealing closely with major companies, including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Apple.

Justin Brow, 60Sox, MC extraordinaire, Justin was the MC for Screenworks 2008 New Media Conference and Incubator and we are so pleased to have him back for this event. Justin is a pioneer of Australia's digital media industries. He holds leading roles in several national programs assisting the commercialisation and international competitiveness of the Australian digital media industries. Sometimes described as an Expedition Leader and sometimes as an Australian Digital Media Catalyst. Justin brings the who's who and who's doing what to this event.

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