Interview: David Michicich of Robomodo

We had the privilege of speaking with the creative director and co-founder of Robomodo, David Michicich, about his new studio.

TGR: You have a current deal with one of Activision’s intellectual properties; can you give us any information regarding this title?

David Michicich: Only that we’re extremely pleased and honored to be working on such a high profile title from Activision’s portfolio. It shows an enormous level of respect Activision holds for this team to entrust us with one of their flagship properties and we plan on honoring that! All further information will be coming from Activision.

TGR: Where did the name Robomodo come from?

DM: We picked a name that spoke to our culture and studio philosophy. It had to sound fun and roll off the tongue. "Robo" stands for Robot, but it also symbolizes gameplay engineering; while "Modo" stands for Style and symbolizes Art. We adhere to the philosophy loop of "Art supports Gameplay supports Art…" Neither is at odds with the other, rather in harmony with the goal of producing a fun and exciting game. Besides, who doesn’t love Robots?

TGR: Could you describe for our readers the process behind starting a new company?

DM: Our process was very a-typical. Usually, you can’t start a new company with 27 senior developers, who between them cover every discipline of production. When EA Chicago closed its doors, we were very fortunate to seize the opportunity to keep a strong senior team together that took years to foster, and we were able to move fast enough to attract and partner with a publisher that both recognized the opportunity and shared our same vision of innovation. We found that partnership in Activision, a solid publisher with smart leadership who knows how to reach a broad audience — we couldn’t be more pleased.

TGR: What do you feel will make you stand apart from other game developers?

DM: We’ve just been born from the ashes of EA Chicago, and we’re very very hungry. We’re not afraid to take risks on innovation, because it’s important in today’s gamer fatigue market to provide a different experience.

DM: It’s clear that your team has a tremendous amount of experience with the fighting genre, having worked on Mortal Kombat, Fight Night 3, and Def Jam: Icon. Would it be safe to assume you’re planning on continuing to be involved in the development of that genre?

DM: We LOVE fighting games and will always be open to exploring opportunities to develop the "next best thing" in that genre. But we don’t wish to let that genre, or any other, define or limit us. If or when we develop another fighter, it will be exciting to us solely because its incredibly challenging to innovate but won’t break the core experience. That being said, we feed off challenges. There are also other genres, like Action-Adventures, that would benefit from having deeper fighting mechanics that we can lend our experience to. We also specialize on rejuvenating franchises, so we’d be open to getting our mitts on bringing back any beloved fighter that’s in dire need of a next-gen comeback. (KI3 anyone?)

TGR: You mentioned that you team is "very well versed in creating and working with new technology that exploits the capabilities of current generation console hardware." Are you planning on licensing an engine, for example the Unreal 3 Engine, or do you plan on working on your own from the ground up?

DM: We’re not licensing any whole engine so-to-speak for our current project. RME is our own engine and is platform agnostic. It runs on the PC and is lock step with the next-gen consoles. We have, however, formed strategic alliances with other third parties to license certain systems and technology, and we are utilizing some of Activision’s central services. It is important to us and our publisher, that when we do create our own engine systems, we are very conscious to justify the return on our investment.

TGR: Thank you again for your time, and we look forward to seeing your work in the upcoming months.

DM: And thank you for showing interest in Robomodo. We can’t wait to show you and your readers what we’re working on!

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