KO Studio Games, a brand-new independent game developer based in Fife, Scotland, is set to officially launch this Friday. Helmed by Russell Anderson, a lifelong gamer with 20 years of industry experience, the studio aims to deliver quality gaming experiences for players of all ages. We sat down with Anderson ahead of the official launch announcement to discuss the studio’s philosophy, its goals, and the kinds of games we can expect to see from it going forward.
The story of KO Studio Games begins with Anderson himself. Back in 2014, working under the company name Kando Corp, he developed Super Undercover Slime Agent, a 2D platformer with a twist: the player couldn’t jump. The game was a surprise hit, receiving repeated recognition at Insomnia, one of the UK’s biggest gaming events. This success was ultimately the catalyst for Anderson to expand his operation into a fully-fledged independent studio.
“Years of working on successful games eventually caught up with me, and started to demand more of my attention. I’ll be the first to admit I’m terrible at art as an Engineer, so I knew the only way to fully realise further potential for new games was to start putting a team together beginning with an artist. Then I moved on to bringing in another programmer, and now here we are: a 9-person independent studio. Over the past year we’ve evolved into KO Studio Games; we are a strong team with big ambitions.”
Now fully operational, KO Studio Games is eager to make its mark on the Scottish games scene, with two projects currently in development. The first is a sequel to Anderson’s original hit, Super Undercover Slime Agent 2: Wrath of Slime. The game is slated for a late 2023 launch on Steam, meaning players won’t need to wait long to get their first taste of what this new studio can do. The second is an experimental VR title called Everything Against Us, within which players will take down zombies in a multiplayer experience that makes use of a “custom VR setup.” Intriguing stuff indeed, and one that’ll be well worth watching as we head into 2024.
Both of these early titles demonstrate the philosophy that KO Studio Games applies to its projects. As Anderson puts it: “Our number one priority is to make great games and experiences for our players. But for us this is further underscored by our strong core beliefs: Players first. Quality always. Games for everyone.”
This mantra, naturally, drives the decision making behind the studio’s projects, but it also informs their wider goals and actions as well. Anderson is a huge advocate for live games events, and not just because Insomnia is what kick-started his career: “Why do we keep going to events? It circles back to our core beliefs. Players should come first; we get face to face with everyone playing our games and receive immediate feedback, which is huge. We can instantly review and immediately explore what worked, what didn’t, and what we need to improve upon for next time.”
“Our number one priority is to make great games and experiences for our players. But for us this is further underscored by our strong core beliefs: Players first. Quality always. Games for everyone.”
For KO Studio Games, fast feedback is only one part of the equation, however. “Furthermore, for those coping with disabilities either mental or physical, we get the chance to include and better support their experience with games, either by adding additional accessibility settings or ensuring they can physically experience our games through improved environmental setups. Our ‘Games for everyone’ philosophy allows us to engage with individuals who may not normally play games, for one reason or another.”
The National Anthem
It’s heartening to see accessibility as one of the core pillars of a new studio, and doubly so for a new studio based in Scotland. If executed well, these ideals could mark a significant step for the industry in Scotland, and a shining example for others to follow going forward. In any case, the studio is proud of the storied ranks it’s joining, and keen to make its own mark among the big-hitters such as Rockstar and 4J.
“We are based in Fife, Scotland. However, we have staff as far as Glasgow, since we offer fully remote positions.” Anderson notes. “Scotland is primed to be a major player within the gaming industry: you have Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, just to name a few. There are some major studios and popular gaming brands being developed right here, and we are proud to become a part of that ecosystem.”
With a solid foundation of industry experience and a strong player-first philosophy, KO Studio Games should shoot straight to the top of many ‘ones to watch’ lists once it officially launches tomorrow. We at SGN will certainly be following their development journey closely, so stay tuned for more news and coverage in the months to come.