A new mobile gaming startup that's yet to release a single game isn't the sort of thing we'd normally cover 'round here, but the story behind Los Angeles-based Innovative Leisure is anything but ordinary. The man behind the company is the co-creator of the Xbox, Seamus Blackley, and he's brought with him eleven industry veterans that he calls "the dream team from Atari," including the likes of Van Burnham, Ed Logg, Rich Adam, Tim Skelly, Owen Rubin, and Ed Rotberg. While those names may not be familiar to everyone, you'll surely recognize some of the games they were responsible for: Asteroids, Centipede, Gauntlet, Missile Command, Battlezone, S.T.U.N. Runner, Major Havoc and Space Duel, to name a few.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Blackley describes mobile devices as "the new arcade" and 99 cent games as the "new quarter," adding that he's aiming to carry on where Atari left off, "focusing on innovation in gameplay." To help with that, the company has secured backing from THQ, which has reportedly agreed to an initial slate of ten games, seven of which are now in development (with only the iPhone and iPad mentioned as supported platforms so far). Unfortunately, details remain light beyond that, with Blackley only offering late summer or fall as an estimated release date for the first titles. In the meantime, you can find more of the backstory at the links below (THQ's press release can also be found after the break).
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THQ Announces Strategic Agreement with New Digital Developer Innovative Leisure

Development Studio Featuring Legendary Games Industry Talent Collaborating with THQ to Create Digital Games


AGOURA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--THQ (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced a strategic agreement with digital development studio Innovative Leisure, a new company formed by games industry veterans. The agreement will focus on creating and publishing digital games available through digital and mobile platforms. The agreement gives THQ the right to publish multiple Innovative Leisure titles starting in 2012.

Innovative Leisure comprises games industry icons with experience on some of the industry's biggest games through its history. The team includes Seamus Blackley ("father of the Xbox"), Van Burnham (Supercade), Ed Logg (Asteroids, Centipede, Gauntlet), Rich Adam (Missile Command, Gravitar, PGA Tour Golf), Tim Skelly (Rip Off, Star Castle, Reactor), Owen Rubin (Major Havoc, Space Duel), and Ed Rotberg (Battlezone, S.T.U.N. Runner, Steel Talons). The team's experience designing and developing highly popular pick-up-and-play gameplay mechanics will be leveraged to innovate and iterate brand-new, modern games on mobile, social and downloadable platforms.

"We are always looking to work with the best creative talent in the video games industry and we feel this relationship with Innovative Leisure reinforces our goal," said Danny Bilson, executive vice president, Core Games, THQ. "We are committed to delivering creative games through digital distribution and Innovative Leisure has the expertise to deliver remarkable and cutting edge games for a new generation."

"It's a great honor (and a lot of fun) to get the opportunity to work with so many of the designers responsible for the gameplay mechanics that form the basis of our whole medium," said Seamus Blackley, President of Innovative Leisure. "We're excited about getting to make and release a bunch of awesome games."

About THQ

THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) is a leading worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. The company develops its products for all popular game systems, personal computers and wireless devices and the Internet. Headquartered in Los Angeles County, California, THQ sells product through its global network of offices located throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. More information about THQ and its products may be found at www.thq.com. THQ and its logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of THQ Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About Innovative Leisure

Innovative Leisure, LLC, is a game development studio in Los Angeles, California, that specializes in novel mechanics and designs for mobile, social, and casual platforms.

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Xbox co-creator brings together Atari 'dream team' for mobile gaming startup