Interview: Michael Devine from Ziggurat Games

Many classic games that were revived by Ziggurat Games have already found their way to GOG.COM, giving us the opportunity to revisit them or discover them for the first time. We had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Michael Devine, SVP of business development at ZIggurat, to learn more about the company’s interesting past and plans for the future.
GOG.COM: Ziggurat Games has been around for 2 years, yet it has already made a name for itself in the video game market. Can you tell us how it all began? How did a passion for classic games become the cornerstone of the company?
Michael Devine: Our founder, Wade Rosen grew up an avid gamer and fell in love with games for their ability to bring us into magical and imaginative spaces. Despite his many successful businesses, he always wanted to return to games and share his love for the classics. It was from that inspiration and passion that Ziggurat began.
Not content to let classic games sit in the vaults of history, Ziggurat brought together an incredibly talented and committed team to resurrect classic game titles and give them the life and rebirth they deserve. In just two years, our small team has worked with development partners around the world to publish over 100 titles on PC and consoles.
We still connect with that original passion for games, bringing these games back to life as enhanced, HD, reimagined, and even brand new forms from the archives of video game history. It truly is an honor for our entire team to be a part of this work.
Each classic game that we release on GOG.COM that was revived by Ziggurat Games is quite popular among our users. How do you choose the classics that will be re-released next? Can you shed a little light on the whole process?
Our team starts the process by diving into our game library of currently unavailable or neglected content. Many of our IP’s come from now defunct game studios, but where possible, we try to work with original developers to resurrect and enhance their original games.
We investigate the history of the games, find what’s unique, and work to make them ready for new and old audiences alike. We aim to have something for everyone in our catalog, so we jump at the chance to work on games that are a little quirky, unexpected, or of historical importance.
Which video games do you consider the company’s biggest success? Were there any titles that sparked more interest than you anticipated at first?
Certainly there are quite a few. Krush, Kill and Destroy, Advent Rising, even smaller titles like World Championship Boxing really exceeded our expectations. But it was the Bloodrayne series that has been in a category all by itself. We were blown away at the response to the re-releases and upgrades given to Rayne and her franchise. We truly want to honor Rayne and her place in the history of video games, while also modernizing her for contemporary audiences. The opportunity to work with Terminal Reality and WayForward has been so rewarding and has helped forge partnerships that we hope will continue long into the future.
I would also say another big success for us has been reaching our two year anniversary with the milestone of over 114 published games – with 65 just released in the last year. We are a small team here at Ziggurat and most of us can’t believe that number! We have such an amazing team and to work alongside such a high caliber committed group makes it exciting to go to work each day.
Now for a more personal question – what is your favorite classic game that you can play over and over and why?
It’s really hard for me to separate the games from the people and companies that made them after 30 years in this business.
For me, Heroes of Might and Magic 3 is an almost perfect Turn-Based Strategy Game, but it’s also my sentimental favorite, as I thought the folks at New World Computing were among the best, nicest, and most talented developers I’ve ever met. Also, I’ve been playing HMM3 on and off for almost 25 years.
Can you tell our users what they can expect from Ziggurat Games in the upcoming months? Which games should they get excited for?
A Boy and His Blob is back and it is a really exciting release for us. The Nintendo Switch version is coming out this week and it’s just the beginning of a number of announcements about this wonderfully innovative, inclusive magical world.
We are also extremely happy to be working with Limited Run Games. They have been such a great partner in helping us bring Retro and Classic games back to life, and can’t wait to tell gamers about even more physical releases of classic games in the coming months.
Do you have any favorite games that were brought back to modern computers thanks to Ziggurat Games and GOG.COM? Let us know in the comments!