A new Austin-area game developer is jumping into mobile gaming with the relaunch of a 1990s-era tactical franchise.
The new game, “Battle Isle: Threshold Run,” is an upcoming release from Stratotainment, a developer and publisher started by industry veteran Thomas Hertzler.
“Having observed the rise of the mobile platforms in the last few years, combined with my personal interest in the turn-based genre in general, I decided that it was long overdue to reboot Battle Isle,” Hertzler said.
Hertzler’s career in gaming dates back to the 1980s, and his last venture was Blue Byte Software, which was known for its regarded “The Settlers” and “Battle Isle” series. Blue Byte was based in Austin when it was purchased by publisher Ubisoft in 2001.
For the past decade, Hertzler owned an aviation business in Arizona, but decided to return to gaming a few years ago — encouraged by the rise of crowdfunding websites that help fund projects. He also pointed to cheaper, more available development tools, which make it possible to produce mobile games in months instead of years, as part of the reason.
Hertzler started researching locations for his new company and the Austin area drew him back, he said.
“We always liked it here as far as quality of living and all that, and obviously I’m very familiar with the fact that there’s a lot of entertainment (in Austin),” he said.
Hertzler was eventually able to reacquire the rights to the “Battle Isle” franchise. The game is scheduled to be released on Apple iOS devices in the fourth quarter.
Company vice president Mark Hall said the series has “legions of fans all over the globe.”
“When we first formulated a plan for the company, Thomas and I wanted to make more than a game; we wanted to build a franchise.”
Hertzler is working out of his garage in his Georgetown home and the company currently has just a handful employees. The development is being outsourced to local developers Thunderdog – part of a goal to work with as much local talent as possible, he said.
“We’re building a gaming universe that should last us for years to come,” Hertzler said.