Feature / Gamecock creates its own rules

Just a couple of blocks from where Texas senators and state representatives debate and create state laws, the folks at Gamecock Media Group are creating their own set of rules in the videogame industry.

“We do not want to play another World War II first person shooter,” said Gamecock Executive Producer Tim Hesse, shortly before giving That VideoGame Blog hands-on time with some of the company’s upcoming games.

While Gamecock’s office space in Austin is surrounded by large corporate buildings and sits just two streets away from the Texas State Capitol, the company seems to be more in tune with the city’s definitely liberal and distinct crowds that flood the eclectic bars and nightclubs in the downtown neighborhood every weekend.

Hesse’s office sits on the second floor of the company’s unique office building – an old house with wooden creaky floors that seems out of place in the heart of this modern city. What at first seemed like an improbable setting for a young publishing company trying to make a name for itself, almost instantly made sense after talking to Hesse and some of the other team members.

“We don’t want to do first-person shooter sequel number five.”

The old house, with its creaky floors, spray-painted walls and the pool/meeting table in the conference room is the perfect fit for this out-of-the-ordinary company.

“We want to bring cool games to the market,” Hesse said as he explained the company’s “Indie label Spirit. Major label muscle” mantra. “We don’t want to do first-person shooter sequel number five. We don’t want to get into that other publisher rut in which we rely on sequels to get the revenues. With the indie label spirit we want to do games other companies might not do.”

Having only a fraction of the number of employees giant publishers like EA or Activision have allows Gamecock to take bigger risks, Hesse said. “We’re able to pick up these smaller titles and sell fewer units, and still be profitable, while (the bigger publishers) might not be.”

And while Hesse prides in Gamecock’s indie spirit, he said the company also has enough funds to give developers plenty of marketing support. “We have enough man power and experience and capital to give a major label push to any product that we sell, no different than any other publisher.”

The publisher’s short term goal is very simple: “Sell lots of games.”

“..it’s all about the games.”

“For Gamecock it’s not all about the short term goals of the company,” he added. “It’s more about the short term goals for the games and the long term goals for the games because it’s all about the games.”

While the company is working on popular genres such as first-person shooters or party games, Hesse believes their games “have a unique twist to the genre,” which helps them stand out from the rest. “And those (are the) kind of games most publishers would see as maybe being a little bit risky because they’re not all tried and true. They are not all formulaic in the way a first-person shooter should be, or an adventure game should be.”

Throughout the week That VideoGame Blog will post hands-on experiences with games such as the first person shooter Legendary: The Box and the party/social commentary game Hail to the Chimp, and you’ll find out what Gamecock thinks a FPS or party game should be like.