Sammy Studios, Inc. today announced that it has completed a management buyout from parent company Sammy Corporation of Tokyo, Japan. The private investment group led by John
Rowe, president and chief operating officer of Sammy Studios, purchased all shares of the company as well as the rights to original video game properties being developed at the studio, including the upcoming console title "Darkwatch." The acquisition takes place in advance of Sammy’s integration of video game operations with Sega as the two Japanese companies merge into Sega Sammy Holdings, Inc.
Sammy Studios also announced today that the company has changed its name to High Moon Studios, Inc., establishing a wholly independent, privately
held game development company. High Moon will be headed by Mr. Rowe, a seasoned veteran of the game industry for more than 20 years. The company remains headquartered in a state-of-the-art development studio in Carlsbad, California, where more than 100 developers are working on both current and next-generation console titles.
Commenting on the announcements, Mr. Rowe, president and CEO of High Moon Studios, said, "Today we introduce ourselves as a new, independent video game company. Sammy’s decision to discontinue game development in
North America has afforded us the rare opportunity to establish an independent studio built on existing capabilities and resources. High Moon is our new identity, yet our creative and technical capabilities, our talented development teams and the phenomenal resources at our
disposal are unchanged."
High Moon remains managed by the team who established the studio three years ago, industry veterans who dedicated themselves to creating a company focused on introducing original, franchise-worthy video game and entertainment properties. The team’s first such effort, soon to be released for home consoles, is the highly anticipated Vampire-Western
first-person shooter "Darkwatch."
"We have the technology, the creativity and the independence to create new worlds and characters focused through the lens of addictive game play," said Chris Ulm, VP, design director, High Moon Studios. "’Darkwatch’ is only the tip of the iceberg. We have projects already in development for the next generation, so it is a great time to be
focused on delivering original games that break the mold."
"We have put together tremendous teams here over the past three years," said Emmanuel Valdez, VP, creative director, High Moon Studios. "Many of those we have brought on board have experienced the challenges that
can bind innovation in our industry. That experience helps us discover ways to break those boundaries. This is our prevalent philosophy, and we can now be resolute in applying it to create original video game ideas designed for the Western market."
In addition to Mr. Valdez and Mr. Ulm, High Moon’s senior management is Rick Olafsson, CFO, Clinton Keith, VP, technology director, Farzad Varahramyan, creative visual director, and Paul O’Connor, lead game