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MumboJumbo Acquires Ritual Entertainment

Casual games developer MumboJumbo announces they have acquired Ritual Entertainment, capping a period of change at the Dallas-based developer that has seen the departure of some long-time employees:

DALLAS, TX – January 24, 2007 – MumboJumbo(TM), a leading developer of premium casual games, today announced it has acquired Ritual Entertainment(TM), a veteran game development studio with expertise in game design and artistic quality. In addition to the strategic importance of the deal, which strengthens MumboJumbo’s(TM) ability to deliver the best games to the casual gaming audience, the acquisition further solidifies the company’s presence as one of the largest casual game studios in the industry.

“MumboJumbo(TM) established the casual games category at retail, and the purchase of Ritual Entertainment(TM) is consistent with our strategy to bring high-quality casual game content to the major platforms,” said Ron Dimant, who left his post as chief executive officer of Ritual Entertainment(TM) in 2001 to found MumboJumbo(TM). “The combination of Ritual’s(TM) high-end, multi-platform expertise and our own industry-leading publishing model will set the bar for quality and sophistication in casual games and create a major industry powerhouse. The casual games market is beginning to mature as evidenced by an increase in consumer expectations. Ultimately, the companies providing the best content will win, which is why we are investing so heavily in the development of technology and original IP.”

“The disciplined structure of high end game development requires an in depth understanding of sophisticated tools and design techniques,” said Robert Atkins of Ritual Entertainment(TM). “Ritual’s(TM) expertise in these areas complements MumboJumbo’s(TM) mass market approach to casual game development and gives us a true competitive advantage.”

With over 30 employees and more than 10 years in the games industry, Ritual Entertainment(TM) has contributed and developed several mainstream, hit titles on all platforms including "25 To Life," "Delta Force - Black Hawk Down," "Counter Strike," "Painkiller," "Quake 4," and the "SiN" franchise of games, among others. In recent months, MumboJumbo(TM) has brought the popular "LUXOR(TM)" franchise and other top-selling titles such as "Super Collapse" and "7 Wonders of the Ancient World" to numerous platforms including Xbox Live(R) Arcade, Nintendo DS(TM), and the Sony PSP(TM) (Playstation(R) Portable) handheld. The acquisition of Ritual(TM) marks the most significant instance in casual gaming history of a mainstream game development house migrating to a casual game publisher.

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36. No subject Jan 25, 2007, 04:50 Rockn-Roll
 
My first thought was "WTF is a casual game?"

I looked at their web site:

http://www.mumbojumbo.com/

Their web site looks like something for a 1st grader to look at...plastic toy looking icons...alphabet letters, etc. This isn't what Ritual does...they've been a project studio which began as Hipnotic Interactive in 1997 with a contract to develop Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual_Entertainment

Quake MP1 was awesome...lava nails, multi-rockets, gremlins, scorpions, and excellent music and atmosphere...it's still worth playing if you can afford to keep a DOS or Win98 machine around.

On their own they just don't seem to have the drive or initiative to keep things going. I have no clue what they will be doing for Mumbo Jumbo, but I doubt that they will be developing kiddie games...or what they are calling casual games.

It's my guess that Ritual didn't want to get bought by a competitor like so many other studios and get disbanded. It appears that they disbanded themselves and then sold their holdings and name to the highest bidder. So, that's the last that we will hear from "Ritual Entertainment" I suppose.

I also think a lot of people got Ritual confused with Rogue, another Dallas Studio, who did Quake Mission Pack 2...more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Entertainment
 
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35. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 22:27 Beamer
 
Remember this recent topic:
http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=73955

I think we all assumed Ritual was done after that. Well, that combined with the enormous lagtime between Sin E1 and Sin E2.

And the fact that pretty much no one enjoyed the business model Ritual had established for themselves, content aside.



"If there's an opportunity to have them do something on the SiN episodes, we would look at that, but that will not be the focus of the company," explains Mark Cottam, CEO of MumboJumbo. "The combined companies will focus exclusively on casual, unless opportunities present themselves that we think are strategic from a business standpoint."


Sounds like SiN is mostly done. Except maybe SiN Solitaire or SiN Minesweeper.

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34. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 22:20 Jerykk
 
Human Head made Rune. The single-player was pretty boring but the multiplayer was good fun.

 
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33. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 22:08 CreamyBlood
 
What a shame. Ritual may not have been the greatest developer but did they develop some good games. Star Trek: Elite Forces 2 and Heavy Metal: FAKK2 come to mind. Can you imagine a sequel to FAKK2 with bump mapping, normal mapping, parallax mapping and of course, depth of field? *drool*

I just finished Elite Forces 2 awhile ago and it was a fun romp and I really enjoyed it. It was a basic shooter, but had a lot of exploration (at least different environments), cut scenes and what not.

I also remember really liking FAKK2 as well. It was one of the first third person shooters I played, I think, besides tomb raider back on the 486. I also liked Rune as well (can't remember who made that). So'd I'd have to go with the map-making/environment thing, as that's what I liked most about those games.

Another elite force, FAKK2 or Rune would all be welcome to me.

 
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32. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 20:20 Krovven
 
an industry stalwart like Ritual being gobbled up by some unknown "casual gaming" company

I think you need to scroll down and read my post...they aren't unknown to Ritual. It's their former CEO and President of Ritual.

I only see this as a good thing for Ritual.

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31. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 19:47 dubfanatic
 
Ouch, what a way to go. Casual games.. is that what they're calling it now. Maybe Ritual will make the next version of Bejeweled.. oh that sounds soo wrong.

Jesus... an industry stalwart like Ritual being gobbled up by some unknown "casual gaming" company. This is a sad day for real PC gamers...


 
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30. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 19:32 PHJF
 
The "What is love" joke hidden in the network hub room was hilarious. Reminded me of the kind of easter eggs you saw in Duke 3D

YOU HAVE FOUND DOPEFISH!

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29. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 18:43 Jerykk
 
What a shame. Ritual may not have been the greatest developer but did they develop some good games. Star Trek: Elite Forces 2 and Heavy Metal: FAKK2 come to mind. Can you imagine a sequel to FAKK2 with bump mapping, normal mapping, parallax mapping and of course, depth of field? *drool*

 
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28. No subject Jan 24, 2007, 18:41 Lactose The Intolerant
 
They said casual like 15 fucking times.

 
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27. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 18:40 Icewind
 
Could still go either way, but if their new boss is a former member of the Ritual team, then I definitely doubt they will throw out Sin Episodes.

Good to hear, I just hope they haven't thrown away too many of the alreayd finished assets...or else I'll be waiting even longer for resolution to the cliffhanger.

Loved Sin:episodes even more then HL2EP1, mainly because it was a bare bones type of shooter with an emphasis on gory headshots.

The "What is love" joke hidden in the network hub room was hilarious. Reminded me of the kind of easter eggs you saw in Duke 3D

 
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26. No subject Jan 24, 2007, 18:22 tweakboy
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Jan 26, 09:08.
 
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25. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 18:12 MMORPGHoD
 
Could still go either way, but if their new boss is a former member of the Ritual team, then I definitely doubt they will throw out Sin Episodes.

Yeah, the acquisition makes more sense now.

http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?show=108

I see that Mumbo Jumbo developed Myth III.

This comment was edited on Jan 24, 18:12.
 
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24. Karma is a bitch... Jan 24, 2007, 17:47 Jesus Presley
 
You reap what you sow, Rob Atkins.

 
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23. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 17:46 Krovven
 
From... http://ritualistic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18878

Family reunions are fun, right? Well, you may remember that in early 2001, Ritual Entertainment announced that it was deporting its then-CEO Ron Dimant to a new island to create MumboJumbo along with then-president Mark Dochtermann. It seems that the venture paid off in more ways than one, as today MumboJumbo announced that it is not only awesome at creating so-called "premium casual games", but also that it has acquired Ritual Entertainment, merging the Tribe into its operations and (re-)creating a big, though somewhat more casual, happy family.

The press release is a little unspecific about Ritual's immediate future and has no information on SiN Episodes at all, but hopefully Ritual's new supreme commander (no, not that one, this one) will have some information for us soon.

Could still go either way, but if their new boss is a former member of the Ritual team, then I definitely doubt they will throw out Sin Episodes.

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22. Re: No subject Jan 24, 2007, 17:39 STATIC3D
 
Based upon some of the (behind the scenes) stories I've heard about the companies I mentioned in my previous post, it's likely there was one of two main reasons for these people leaving. One would be, like you said, they knew in advance of what was coming with the other company (i.e. the change of what they would be "allowed" to work on). The other is possibly that something during the development of SiN Episodes just didn't sit well with them and they decided to leave after seeing the project thru release. That has happened with a LOT of development teams/companies over the years.

Either way, it's more than likely Rit is not going to be the same place it was back in the day. Then again, it's pretty likely Rit "hasn't" been the place it once was for a few years now. There's only so many other people's projects you can take on and work thru (without them being something you have a real personal interest in) before you just start to feel like the guy on the assembly line just turning screws. Sure, it's a paycheck in the gaming industry, but still, without some kind of vested interest, it's harder to get the best out of people sometimes.

 
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21. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 17:36 Krovven
 
Based on the interviews I've read is that the groundwork for SiN Episodes is done, their plan was for 9 episodes, but what they didn't count on was keeping up with Source engine and Steam changes. Being a small developer, they simply ran out of money to keep it going, and MumboJumbo could be the financial backing to keep it going...with modifications to the plan (I'd assume).

I just don't see the business sense to buy a company and their only IP that is in mid development and then to just scrap it all. I'm sure we'll know soon enough...and I'm gonna go check out the 2 main Ritual forums and see if anything is being said over there.

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20. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 17:23 Scottish Martial Arts
 
But to flat out state that they are saying Episode 2 isn't going to be released based on those two phrases you highlighted, is pretty thin.

If Episode 2 is already done then it wouldn't surprise me if it will be released. But given whats in the press release I highly, highly doubt that there will be any Sin episodes beyond that, certainly not the 9 separate episodes that were originally talked about.

 
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19. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 17:19 Krovven
 
Most of the work Ritual does IS casual gaming. Majority of their work to get development money is by outsourcing themselves to other companies projects.

I could be wrong, time will tell. But to flat out state that they are saying Episode 2 isn't going to be released based on those two phrases you highlighted, is pretty thin.

As I read over those statements more...it could go either way. It's quite possible MumboJumbo is looking to make a move into more mainstream games, and they view Sin Episodes as a platform to do that.

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This comment was edited on Jan 24, 17:27.
 
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18. Re: ... Jan 24, 2007, 17:14 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Please show us with all your infinite wisdom where it says anything to do with this?

From the press release:

The combination of Ritual’s(TM) high-end, multi-platform expertise and our own industry-leading publishing model will set the bar for quality and sophistication in casual games and create a major industry powerhouse.

and

The acquisition of Ritual(TM) marks the most significant instance in casual gaming history of a mainstream game development house migrating to a casual game publisher.


To me that sounds like from here on out Ritual will be making "casual" games.

This comment was edited on Jan 24, 17:17.
 
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17. Re: No subject Jan 24, 2007, 17:12 Krovven
 
That kind of bleeding often attracts sharks in hope of an easy meal.

Actually I think this is WHY those people left the company. Company changeovers like this don't happen overnight, and I'm sure this has been in the works awhile...but that's just my best guess.

Edit: Just for the record, I really enjoyed SiN Emergence, the Arena mode (needs more maps!). Wanting to play Ep2 and very looking forward to the multiplayer if it plays like Arena.

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This comment was edited on Jan 24, 17:14.
 
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