Another of Sega’s UK studios is targeting ambitious expansion, with Creative Assembly looking to add 50 new staff to its roster – but producer Jonathan Court thinks the team can brush aside the current clime’s tough recruitment market.Acquired by Sega in March last year – after 18 years as an independent – Creative Assembly has since settled into a comfortable place amongst Sega Europe’s new pantheon of UK-bred talent that includes its dedicated Racing Studio, recent acquisition Sports Interactive and a host of other development partners.
“Being bought by Sega has given us the financial backing to start putting into place some expansion plans, which has included expanding in Australia, but also significantly in the UK. It makes it easier in that we know who our publisher is going to be, so we don’t have to go through that process of touting a product around to find deals, which allows us to develop in a logical fashion. We don’t have that pressure to make something visible to sell quickly, which means we can approach projects more sensibly,” explains Court.
The UK team, currently around the 70-man mark, is expected to grow to around 120. It’s currently split into two teams, one dedicated to Total War (which works with the Australian studio also working on the series) and another dedicated to console titles.
Although the studio has Medieval II: Total War as its only current announced project, it’s inevitable that more are in the works, especially given that Spartan: Total Warrior, the company’s first action-adventure game, debuted strongly last year.
Adds Court: “That team will be continuing along that line.”
So with a lot going on behind closed doors, Creative Assembly is ripe to grow, says Court. “We’re looking to hire across just about every role at the moment. We’re looking for virtually everybody of all experiences. We’re a very long-running company, that’s extremely stable and situated in a great place – you could work here and live in Brighton or live in Guildford – and we’re quite centrally located to where the industry is based.”
Court admits that the recruitment market is currently very tough for games – “I’ve never seen it as difficult as this,” he says – but is realistic about what’s possible, conceding that some studios demanding years of talent may not have their priorities right, or their eyes on a long-term way to build talented teams for the future.
“It’s unrealistic to be experienced on next-gen platforms, but not unrealistic to want someone experienced in the games industry,” he says, adding that there’s plenty of potential in bringing in younger staff: “As for other roles we’re looking to bring in graduates from university. Really it’s good to get a good mix of experience into the company.”