What’s better than matching three like-colored gems together and watching them disappear? Watching you warrior hit a rat in the face with his sword after it happens! This scenario explains the central joy inherent in Puzzle Quest. The role-playing, strategy, puzzle game mash up series has been quiet in the past couple of years since its creator Infinite Interactive has been bounced around between studio mergers and acquisitions since the beginning of 2011. The studio is independent once again and promising that there’s more Puzzle Quest on the way.
At the beginning of 2011, Infinite merged with Flight Control and Real Racing developer Firemint. Electronic Arts then bought up Firemint in its mad dash for mobile game developers later that year. This week EA merged Firemint and Mass Effect Infiltrator developer IronMonkey, but as Joystiq reported on Wednesday, the best news to come out of that merger was that Infinite Interactive was once again a free agent in the game market.
“I think everybody agreed that Infinite does its best work when it’s independent, and so we headed back out into the wilderness to work on our own stuff again,” said Infinite founder Steve Fawkner.
“While I don’t have a specific announcement that I can make at the moment, if you shook a Magic 8-Ball and asked it, ‘Will Infinite’s next game be a Puzzle Quest title?’ then it would probably say, ‘All signs point to yes!’”
That sounds like a strong confirmation that Puzzle Quest will be back before too long even though Fawkner describes the intellectual property rights to the series as “a little more complicated” in the wake of the studio’s shuffling about the business world.
“In the short term, we will continue to build and innovate in genres and settings that we know and love. That means games that combine fantasy, puzzles, strategy, and tactics,” said Fawkner.
Puzzle Quest is a great series but the most encouraging part of this story is that not only will Infinite Interactive remain an independent entity in a brutally competitive industry, it will also likely retain its property. Infinite rose to success in 2007 and 2008, the moment when the video game industry changed dramatically. The rise of mobile gaming thanks to outlets like the iTunes App Store coincided with the peak and subsequent crash of the home console market. Many independent studios from that time were either bought up, stripped of their intellectual property, or closed outright. Infinite is a laudable survivor.