All posts by Martin Waldau

Volker Wertich honoured at German Game Developer’s Awards

At the German Game Developer’s Awards (Deutscher Entwicklerpreis) a “Special Award of the Jury“ was given to Volker Wertich, to honor his contribution to the development of games in Germany.

Volker Wertich is a self-taught game designer and programmer. He started his career at the age of 14 in 1983, writing small games for Disk-Magazines. And went on to start two strategy game series Germany is famous for: The Settlers and SpellForce. During his 30 years in the industry he has designed and developed more than 20 games and expansions from start to finish.

A recurring theme in his work is innovation, especially the innovation of strategy games. Volker singlehandedly invented a new genre with ‘The Settlers’. That was followed by the international smash hit SpellForce, the first to create a meaningful blend of RTS and RPG and he developed the first free-to-play RTS with BattleForge.

’Regardless of which criteria you apply, be it sold games, revenue or awards’, Teut Weidemann said in the laudation, ’Volker Wertich is one of the most successful game designers in Germany, possibly the most successful.’

Volker Wertich accepted the Award with the words: ’I am very honored. I’m glad that I could do my part to aid the rise of german game development during the last ten years.’

This is no ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, the ‘Special Award’ is given only to persons or organizations making a difference in active business. It’s the same with Volker Wertich: He recently founded a new development studio named Envision Entertainment with Dirk Ringe, Boris Kunkel and other veterans of EA Phenomic. The studio is focused on persistant online strategy games on PC and mobile plattforms.

New German game development studio up and running

A new studio has risen from the ashes of EA Phenomic, formerly Phenomic Game Development. Envision Entertainment was formed in Ingelheim, Germany by veteran developers. From Phenomic Game Development to EA Phenomic to the brand new Envision Entertainment there’s an unbroken line of dedicated key personnel: Dirk Ringe, Boris Kunkel and Volker Wertich, who were the original founders of Phenomic in 1997 and later the senior management of EA Phenomic, are still on board and eager to lead their newest endeavor to success. Dirk Ringe and Boris Kunkel accepted the responsibilities of CEO and COO, respectively, while game design mastermind Volker Wertich (best known for the iconic ‘The Settlers’ series) took the mantle of Creative Director.

The new studio has acquired Ubisoft as their first business partner, working together on a number of projects. Other Envision clients will be announced soon.

Envision has a 25+ strong team as well as very good network of freelance personnel and is able to handle small and mid-sized projects, from mobile to browser to client.

»We formed this new company to do what we do best«, says Dirk Ringe, CEO, »to build deep online strategy games. We envision games that last for years, that are places that gamers return to frequently to find new challenges and meet like-minded people. Social strategy, so to speak.«