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Play Well Studios

Overview

Play Well Studios was a game development division of The Lego Group.

The company was originally founded as NetDevil in 1997 by Scott Brown, Peter Grundy and Steven Williams in Denver, Colorado (USA). In June 2007 the company announced to relocate to Louisville, Colorado.

Netdevil was established as an independently owned and operated game development company dedicated to the construction of massively multiplayer universes. It grew from three part-timers to over thirty full time developers. Their first game was Jumpgate (2001), the world's first massively multiplayer space simulator universe. Other titles by the studio were Auto Assault (2006), Warmonger: Operation: Downtown Destruction (2007), and LEGO Universe (2010).

In July 2008 the studio was acquired by Gazillion Entertainment, Inc., but it lasted until March 2009 until this was made public. Brown and Grundy, the two remaining founders, left the company at the end of 2010, along with Ryan Seabury who led LEGO Universe. Brown and Seabury went on to found the game development studio End Games Entertainment.

In February 2011 there were two rounds of layoffs at the company. The first ended the development on the then upcoming title Jumpgate Evolution, first announced in June 2007. The second affected the development team of LEGO Universe. Gazillion Entertainment sold the game to The Lego Group and they rehired the NetDevil team to continue development at the original Colorado location, but using the name Play Well Studios. This was announced on 24th February 2011.

On 4th November 2011 The Lego Group announced to shut down the studio and close the LEGO Universe game on 31st January 2012. Play Well Studios employed 115 people at the time.

Also Known As

  • Netdevil, Inc. (from 1997 to Feb 25, 2011)


Trivia

Some background information on how the company has got its name: NetDevil was chosen as a name because of our obsession with cool scary things that live in the deep dark waters of the world. All of the company's principals are certified SCUBA divers, including one certified dive master. We love exploring the mysteries of strange worlds, different from the everyday world we are used to... a passion we carry into our game world designs.

The name is then further explained:

netdevil - (net' - dev - uhl) - n. [Linophryne, Linophrynidae] One having a large flattened head and wide mouth with a lure on the head and fleshy mouth appendages used to attract smaller fishes as prey, a deep sea anglerfish.

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