Rare to open new UK studio

Rare to open new UK studio

By Rob Crossley

March 2nd 2010 at 10:14AM

New Birmingham office looks to house 90 staff initially, as studio head calls for a new approach to game production

Longstanding UK developer Rare is set to open a second studio in Birmingham, marking the first time the developer has ventured beyond its Twycross headquarters. 

Rare wants to see some 90 staff at the studio, though as the outfit will be used for QA testing and usability tests, the workforce is bound to fluctuate.

The new offices will open in April, and the Microsoft-owned developer says the move comes as part of a “change to the current model of games development working practices.”

Rare Birmingham is positioned to attract contract staff from a large pool of talent, the firm said. It will "accommodate Rare’s evolving methodology in game creation”, the group said.

“Rare believes that the current model of massive teams has lead to a boom and bust cycle in staffing terms and sees a film production model as a far better and more efficient way of creating AAA games going forward," read a statement.

Rare points out that the new studio is close to several universities and colleges; “ideally placed for recruiting new staff.”

Rare studio head Mark Betteridge said “the old way of making games just doesn’t work anymore, we need to be much more flexible in how we staff a team and setting up new facility in Digbeth will help us to do this.

“Its central location and the nature of other businesses in the area make it a very appealing environment in which to work. While we are committed to keeping our headquarters in Twycross, we feel a second studio in a more urban location will be appealing to some staff.”

Jane Holmes, an investment manager at regional body Advantage West Midlands, said that Rare’s move is “fantastic news for the West Midlands, not least because it will bring 90 high technology jobs to the region, along with a major, globally successful company.

 “The West Midlands has a long-established video games industry, accounting for one quarter of the UK games workforce,” she added.

“Rare’s arrival will further strengthen the region’s reputation around the world for excellence in computer games.”