Local industry claims silver lining in vibrant sector as the number of new studios rises
Scotland’s leading developers have praised the resilience of the country's game industry in the wake of a plethora of new and successful start-ups after the collapse of Realtime Worlds two years ago.
APB and Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds was once Scotland’s largest independent studio and housed over 200 employees before it was shut down in 2010.
But discussing the state of the Scottish development scene in Develop’s latest region focus, the country’s leading developers praised the region's current healthy mix of studios and approaches to game creation.
While home to one of the world’s biggest and most famous studios in Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North, during the last few years the country has formed a vibrant array of indie, console, mobile and middleware studios such as Denki, Tag Games, YoYo Games and Axis Animation, and continues to grow.
“Scotland’s development scene is thriving, absolutely,” said University of Abertay’s professor Louis Natanson.
“Realtime Worlds’ collapse sparked off a huge number of new start-ups focusing on different areas of the industry, which produces a healthy mix of different revenue models and approaches. It all helps make the Scottish scene much more diverse and much more resilient.”
Tag Games CEO Paul Farley added: “The impact of Realtime Worlds can still be felt in areas such as recruitment. However, one silver lining from that particular cloud has been the number of start-up studios that it has either directly or indirectly spawned.”
EeGeo studio manager Phil Wilson, whose company is creating a stylised 3D replica model of the real world and providing it as a flexible platform for apps and games, said Scotland had reinvented itself in the wake of the Realtime Worlds' collapse, rather than carrying on in the same way and ignoring the potential underlying issues of the developer’s closure.
“I think, rather than ploughing on regardless, we’ve collectively reinvented ourselves,” said Wilson.
“And I still see triple-A right across the local scene. Sometimes in the most unlikely places and on budgets that some wouldn’t get out of bed for – the rate of change in the market is accelerating, but I think we’re doing better than just keeping up.”
You can read our full region focus on Scotland's development hub here.