EA didn't impose Firemonkeys merger, says former IronMonkey MD Tony Lay

Studios themselves made the decision

EA didn't impose Firemonkeys merger, says former IronMonkey MD Tony Lay
EA's move to merge Firemint and IronMonkey to form the rather fiercely named Firemonkeys seemed to many to be a decision driven by logistics.

With the two Australian studios now operating under one banner from the same office, time and money efficiencies appeared to be the main motivator.

However, according to Tony Lay – former IronMonkey MD and now GM of Firemonkeys – parent company EA actually had very little to do with the studios coming together, and there will be "no changes to either team" whatsoever.

We caught up with Lay to find out why, in his view, Firemonkeys is a studio formed out of mutual enthusiasm and respect.

Pocket Gamer: How long has this merger been on the table, and did the idea come solely from EA?

Tony Lay: We – both IronMonkey and Firemint - decided to merge about a month ago.

We have been working on a name that would be suit our new combined entity and there was no better conclusion that honoured the legacy of both the studios, that being Firemonkeys.

On a practical level, will all of IronMonkey's staff be staying on board? Will positions overlap with staff brought in from Firemint?

There are no changes to either team.

How compatible are the two studios?

We're extremely compatible. IronMonkey was stronger with art and Firemint was stronger when it came to technology. So it was a perfect pairing.

The skills are similar but most importantly, what we stand for is similar. We aim to be always produce world class entertainment that is centred around quality, innovation and consumer focus.

So it's easy to bring the two together when at the core we strive for the same results.

Is this a path you imagined IronMonkey going down when you signed on with EA?

No, but the merger wasn't imposed by EA.

We had planned to stay separate, but once we co-located it made a lot of sense. This is driven by a strong mutual respect from both studios.

On a personal level, will you be sad to see the IronMonkey name disappear?

IronMonkeys was a company I grew from a two man shop with Toby Charlton. So, yes, there are always going to be memories, but being able to grow a stronger entity that respects both the successes is exciting.

I know a lot of people like both the entities and will be sad to see this merger happen, but this is a positive step.

Working with the Firemint guys have been great and you’ll see the benefits from the combined studio reflected in our future products.
Thanks to Tony for his time.

You can find out more about the newly merged studio on Firemonkeys' website.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.