Despite a strong heritage in traditional games development, the Yorkshire area of the UK has moved to keep up with the latest industry trends. Craig Chapple asks local studio heads how collaborating has helped herald a new era for the area
THE YORKSHIRE REGION in the UK is home to some of the UK’s most longstanding and successful studios. The likes of Revolution Software – formed in 1990 and famous for the Broken Sword series – and Team 17, founded in 1987 as 17-bit Software before a change in name in 1990, show that the Northern county has a strong history in games development. It is this heritage from a number of
developers, and the likes of the now defunct Gremlin Interactive, that has meant Yorkshire has been able to grow into something of a development hub for the industry.
LITTLE AND LARGE The region now boasts a plethora of studios large and small, such as GTA: Chinatown Wars outfit Rockstar Leeds, LittleBigPlanetVita developer Double Eleven, Oddworld dev Just Add Water and Sumo-Digital, responsible for portable titles such as F1 2012 and Split/Second: Velocity. “Yorkshire has a strong game making heritage stretching back to the ‘80s and ‘90s. Many large studios have been based here, and a lot of the talent has remained,” says Double Eleven technical director Rob Ware.
developer and middleware outfit Four Door Lemon, agrees that the area now has a wealth of talent, in part thanks to its roots, and believes many industry veterans from that period are now returning to a positive and resurgent county.
Our companies are masters of
their own destiny; they can release stuff and get 70 per cent of the profits at once.
Jamie Sefton, Game Republic “We always seem to have a great wealth of
home-grown talent here. Some of it has perhaps moved away but many of those people also find themselves returning to the region,” says Barratt. “I guess 20-to-40 years ago there were a lot of bored kids in the area with a passion for computers. Certainly, internally we have a
lot of people from the immediate area who have worked at very senior levels in some of the biggest studios in the world and they come back home and love working as part of the team.” Many of the local developers also speak
glowingly about the cost of living and quality of life in the region, which offers up both rural and urban areas to accommodate for all different types of lifestyles. The area is also home to a number of universities that offer courses in programming and games development, of which the University of Hull and Sheffield Hallam University are accredited by Skillset, which has only awarded its certification to nine such courses in the UK. But far from being just content with what
it has, Dubit’s CTO Matthew Warneford says that the studio’s in the region are exceptionally hard working, with devs often coming together to help one another on development problems when required, creating a sense of togetherness not often witnessed in the rest of the UK. “Yorkshire has some brilliant studios
working on great games. I don’t know why but historically Yorkshire seems to foster these kind of enterprising companies,” says
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