It’s been a while since we last posted, but here it is – the coverage of Lobotomy Software in the UK Playstation Magazine (PSM) issue 19.
“‘You guys have gotta come into the back room and play this. it’s just the greatest thing.’
So goes our welcome to Lobotomy Software, writers of first-person shooter Exhumed. Your PSM correspondent shuffles into a darkened room, somewhat bleary-eyed, the internal flight from San Francisco landing in Seattle not half an hour since.
Inside, six long-haired guys are seated on sofas and facing a giant, 57” TV screen. They’re all playing multiplayer, 2D combat game called Death Tanks which one of the team knocked up as a hidden game for the US version of Exhumed. It’s a bit like Worms, only not turned-based, so everyone is furiously exchanging bullets, missiles and whatever else comes to hand. And it’s bloody great fun.
Death Tanks is part and parcel of working at Lobotomy Software, a company geared to work, but relaxed enough to find time to play. The music studio kindly houses a pool table, classic coin-ops line the entrance and despite the relative modernity of the building, there’s an air of videogaming history about the place, a sense that these guys ‘know their games’.
Seattle’s environs include Redland, Washington which houses the little known companies of Microsoft and Nintendo of America. Ho hum. Lobotomy’s co-founders, Paul Lange and Brian Anderson, are ex-Nintendo employees themselves but left in search of nirvana, as it were, as Paul explains. ‘Although Nintendo was a great place to work, there was no way we could do games development there. But we had it drilled into our heads what a good game is. So in ’92 I left the company, where I was in product analysis and development, and hooked up with Brian, while he was at Nintendo, to do some art stuff for a design we were working on at the time.’
Paul and Brian have moulded their environment, working in a way which suits them. ‘The main attraction to Lobotomy is our unusual way of doing business’, reckons Paul. ‘We’re a close group. Even when there’s 20 of us, the people really mesh well and talk to each other and we have a comfortable environment which is attractive to a lot of people. And aside from that, we offer other benefits, so if the company is successful they’ll be successful. Either people can get a real job or they work for Lobotomy.’
Exhumed is their first Playstation game (reviewed PSM18). It’s an excellent 3D shoot ’em up with a storming engine and a project which game them the opportunity to convert Quake and Duke Nukem for the Saturn. Success in business usually leads to expansion. Surely if Lobotomy take on board more projects, the working environment they’ve created would be ruined? Paul is keen to ensure that things stay the same. ‘A typical company would hire more people so they can make more money. Most of the people that are here, don’t want to see us go over 25 people. The best answer is to maintain what we have – we don’t want to grow too much.’ Judging by the quality of Exhumed, Lobotomy are going to be around for some time to come. PSM”