The immediate connection may not be obvious, but video game titles Mortal Kombat X, Toy Story Mania, LEGO® Racers, Ben 10: Protector of Earth and the Saints Row series have something very important in common. High Voltage Software (HVS), one of the nation’s leading independent game developers, created each of the games.
Soon, HVS will be producing popular game titles in Louisiana, where the Chicago-area firm will expand, joining a host of digital media firms that have selected the state in recent years for its best-in-the-nation digital media and software development incentive.
After a national site selection search, the firm announced in December 2014 that New Orleans will become the home for its second game development studio.
“When considering sites, we narrowed our search down to a couple of different states including Louisiana, Texas and Georgia,” said Jake Fitch, High Voltage Software’s chief financial officer. “We were obviously looking for a favorable business climate, but we also wanted a place where employees could have fun — a place with music, history, food and culture. New Orleans was the best fit and the State of Louisiana really wanted us to be part of the community.”
The HVS creative team boasts a pedigree of over 95 titles shipped to date. HVS works regularly with such franchises as Warner Bros., Marvel, LEGO and Microsoft. Recent months have found the HVS team extraordinarily busy — hence, the need for expansion.
Company officials are optimistic about a pair of recently released projects. HVS debuted its latest effort in the Saints Row series with a next-generation “open world” design that allows players to roam freely through a virtual world, where they have the ability choose how, when and where to interact with the game’s challenges.
Another new release, the Egyptian-themed Gummy Mummy, showcased the company’s creative range to much acclaim at the March 2015 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Gummy Mummy is a new puzzle game targeting a wider market beyond hard-core gamers.
HVS also is developing multiple games for producers of cutting-edge virtual reality headsets. The gear allows players to step inside their favorite games and virtual worlds. Since 2007, HVS has used advanced motion-capture equipment in the production of its games, and the company recently ventured into providing these effects for motion picture productions. With Louisiana ranked among the nation’s top movie-producing states, the HVS team hopes to expand its services further in the film arena.
“New Orleans has such a wonderful, creative atmosphere that lends itself to making great games,” said Eric Nofsinger, High Voltage Software’s chief creative officer. “The response we’ve had has been fantastic. In fact, we received thousands of applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco — talented people attracted to our products and culture who want to come to New Orleans. We’re excited to be down there.”