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Fruit Ninja developer Halfbrick swoops for animation studio

Monday, 18 July 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Adelaide-based animation studio the People’s Republic of Animation has been partially acquired by Halfbrick, the developer behind the popular Fruit Ninja iPhone game.

 

PRA said the details of the deal were confidential, but that its six-strong team wouldn’t be fully subsumed into Halfbrick’s offices.

 

However, managing director Sam White says that PRA could leave South Australia in an attempt to grow the business.

 

“Nothing is planned at the moment, but it has always been a challenge here because of the size of the talent pool and the fact that a lot of clients aren’t based here,” he says.

 

“We will spend a lot of time up there (Queensland) with Halfbrick and they will give us a lot of marketing help.”

 

White says that the partial takeover was designed to give PRA greater clout in the iPhone and iPad market.

 

“There will be a strategy change in that previously we focused on feature films,” he says. “This can be very expensive and it can be a very long process and we didn’t have the resources to keep doing that.”

 

“So we have to change to take advantage of smaller opportunities around IP development. We’ve always done IP work, we just have to do it more efficiently.”

 

“Halfbrick are well positioned to provide those opportunities, while we can provide the narrative storytelling.”

 

Halfbrick marketing chief Phil Larsen and CEO Shainiel Deo were both unavailable for comment on the deal at the time of publication.

 

PRA was launched in 2003 by six university students. However, a management re-jig in April means that only two of the original six directors, White and James Calvert, remain at the company.

 

Its major clients include Sony Computer Entertainment and THQ. The studio also created the Cat Piano, an award-winning short film narrated by Nick Cave.