The Swedish Sharkmob has opened a triple-A game studio in London and is starting to hire developers for it. Given the former Ubisoft developers, the studio has credibility when it comes to making quality games.
This move shows that it is still possible, if not common, for new triple-A game studios to hit the market. Sharkmob has more than 200 employees in Sweden and has built so much because Tencent acquired Sharkmob in May 2019. With funding from the massive Chinese conglomerate, the company can work on several ambitious games at the same time.
Sharkmob is already working on a few games and could be working on a third soon, CEO Fredrik Rundqvist said in an interview with GamesBeat. He has hired James Dobrowski as Managing Director of Sharkmob London to work on more titles. Dobrowski previously worked as Vice President of Product Development at Eve Online developer CCP in Iceland.
“It was an incredible game, very successful, but also quite exhausting,” said Rundqvist. “We had the dream of starting our own studio. We left Ubisoft and took a leap of faith. We founded the company without any funding and got going in 2017. We just believed we wanted to make games. It was a crazy ride. “
Dobrowski has already hired several game developers in London from Mediatonic, CCP, Wargaming and Playground Games.
“We met at a GDC and kept talking when we shared the same passions,” Dobrowski said in an interview. “We got to know each other better. I realized we could do something interesting online. I am excited about building new intellectual property, new worlds, and creative property. “
Creative ownership means employees can make decisions about the parts of the game they are working on.
Initially, the studio will support the teams working in Malmö and help these developers with their games. This will help the team get used to working with Sharkmob. After that, Dobrowski said the London studio would start its own game.
“Personally, I think it’s the right way to go to build the studio as I’ve seen studios that their people build when they have to go into production,” said Dobrowski. “It works, but it inevitably slows down the entire pipeline. And on the other side of the spectrum, I’ve seen the studio staff working on projects very quickly, assuming they can put a concept together very quickly. “
The leaders said they were open to hiring people anywhere, given the pandemic and the need to work from home.
The London team consists of Design Director Martin Connor, Live Game Director Sam Barton and Art Director Benjamin Penrose.
Rundqvist said London has a lot of talent for games. It is close to game centers such as Guildford, Leamington Spa and Cambridge. The UK has more than 2,200 game companies, according to the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment.
Rundqvist said the company is working on some major multiplayer games with social interaction, large open worlds, and new IPs. He expects them to be cross-platform. But he said the company wouldn’t be ready to talk about the titles until 2021.
Rundqvist acknowledged that games are expensive to make, especially in London. Because of this, the company needed a backer like Tencent, the world’s largest game company with investments in dozens of game companies.
“Hopefully people will find this new studio exciting as it will have the ability to create a brand new triple-A IP,” said Dobrowski. “We have something exciting to offer the London community.”
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