With government backing nowhere to be seen, UK studios need to rely on each other more.
Ian Johnson, the head of Codemasters’ new studio in Guildford, says that British developers need to do a better job of working together in order to better compete with overseas rivals. He thinks that UK studios need to share resources, rather than hoarding them like “golden eggs.”
Johnson said that Guildford, which has a high concentration of developers, could set the benchmark for inter-studio co-operation, and that it would help offset advantages that developers in other countries had. “There’s obviously enticing tax incentives in places like Canada,” he said, “so the way that we can compete with those is to be efficient.”
Johnson isn’t alone in having high hopes for the “Guildford Cluster,” Lionhead’s Stuart Whyt also thinks that having so many developers in such a close proximity will be beneficial for the UK videogame industry. Whyt said that as studios expanded and contracted over the course of game development, the pool of skilled talent that the studios could draw on would be very large. This, in turn, would have a very positive effect on the games made in the area.
Of the two, Whyt’s scenario of talent moving between studios seems more likely, as convincing Microsoft, which owns Lionhead, that it should share resources with Sony and EA, in the form of Media Molecule and Criterion seems like a difficult task. Of course, it’s not impossible that the studios in the area could come to some sort of arrangement, in which case, it’s really hard to see a downside.