OverviewKaiko was a German development studio founded in autumn 1990 by Chris Hülsbeck (sound), Frank Matzke (graphics) and Peter Thierolf (programming). The studio started as A.U.D.I.O.S (Art Under Design, Imaginations Of Sound) and Kaiko was created as a label for it until it became the main name.
The studio created three games: Gem'X (1991), Apidya (1992) and Software Manager. A fourth game called Super Gem'Z that was in development was eventually never released. Publisher Software 2000 refused to published it after the Amiga master was stolen at a fair in Cologne. The first two games had a typical Japanese anime style because of art director Matzke's interest in Japanese comic book culture. The arcade-style approach of those games can be traced back to the work of Factor 5 where Hülsbeck previously worked.
Kaiko also had the label New Bits on the Ram where two budget games were created and published through magazines: The Adventures of Quik and Silva (1991) and Metal Law (1992).
None of three members was good at management and by 1993 the company was deep in the red numbers. Kaiko reached out to Software 2000 for funding and support, but in an interview Hülsbeck says he feels that company systematically dismantled Kaiko. It was ultimately disbanded around 1995. It took Hülsbeck until 1999 before all debts were paid.
Three other games were started but eventually never finished: Elfquest (PlayStation), Ninjas in Space and Miss Honeybee. Thierolf moved on to co-found the development studio NEON Software GmbH, Matzke became involved with marketing at Havas / Sierra and currently ZeniMax Germany, and Hülsbeck emigrated to California in 1998 and went on to work as a composer for Factor 5.
Kaiko re-appeared in 2015 with the release of Legend of Kay Anniversary, a HD port of the 2005 PS2 game Legend of Kay.
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Related Web Sites
- Kaiko history (History of the team, interviews with the founders and an online-playable version of Gem'X.)