Finishing off our week-long look into London's most prominant developers, we bring you a guide to six of the bestSports Interactive
Based in Old Street, Sports Interactive formed in 1994 and currently employs 44, with an additional 1,500 part time researchers across the globe. Most famous for its phenomenally successful Football Manager series, Sports Interactive is currently working on Football Manager Live, a massively multiplayer online football management game.
In 2006 the East London studio was acquired by Sega, which had long published Sports Interactive’s output.
As well as courting a reputation for generous support for charities like Warchild and Games Aid, Sports Interactive counts nine of its creations in the UK's top 20 fastest-selling PC games of all time.
Highbury-based developer Rocksteady is currently working on the hotly-tipped Batman: Arkham Asylum game for PS3, 360 and PC.
Most famous for its work on PS2 first-person shooter Urban Chaos, Rocksteady is based in a specifically-converted factory in North London, which now includes its own on onsite motion capture facility equipped 30 Vicon MX F40 cameras.
Founded in 2004, over 55 people are now employed at the company, many of whom are senior industry professionals who have worked together for many years. Co-owners Sefton Hill (game director) and Jamie Walker (studio director ) have both been involved with games since the 1990s.
Beautiful Game Studios
Set up in 2003 to work on Championship Manager 5 and all subsequent entries to the series, Beautiful Game Studios is an internally owned Eidos studio. It shares offices with its parent company in Wimbledon.
The development house boasts 40 staff, with over 150 cumulative years of experience creating sports games behind them. Roy Meredith serves as studio manager.
Having developed five Championship Manager titles for PC along with several builds for other formats including 360 and PS3, Beautiful Game Studios is currently hard at work on the 2009 addition to the series, which is due for release in April.
Rockstar London is the second most recent development house to join the Rockstar family, which counts nine studios amongst its ranks, including GTA creator Rockstar North.
The London operation continues to expand in the wake of the tumultuous release of its debut title, the controversial Manhunt 2 for PS2 and Wii. More recently the team at Rockstar London worked with their colleagues from Rockstar San Diego on Midnight Club: LA Remix, a PSP port of the latest racing game from the American studio.
Rockstar London was nominated for a Develop Industry Excellence Award in 2008 for Best New UK/European Studio.
This new Hammersmith studio is headed up by Paulina Bozek, former director of the SingStar franchise as Sony’s London Studio.
Located to take advantage of the huge talent pool in London, no specific titles have yet been confirmed to be under development at Atari London. However Bozek and her colleagues are planning to focus mass-market consumer games and services for online-enabled devices.
The studio is still very much in its formative months, currently with a headcount of around just six who are coordinating the expansion – but the outfit is expected to grow to up to 150 staff in time.
Xbox Live London
Little is known about this new Microsoft team, except that it has been assembled this year to ‘focus on creating Xbox Live interactive platform content along with social experiences’. While details of what exactly is in production has yet to be confirmed, a job posting this year revealed ‘there are specific projects underway’. It is also expected that as the Xbox Live Studio grows it will liaise with partner developers on creating Live content.
Concentrating on content tailoured for the markets in the UK and surrounding countries, the employees at Xbox Live Studio are expected to amplify the vibrancy of each of the European markets.