When you think of the gaming industry, you might think of huge teams with thousands of developers in major cities. But Antimatter Games (AMG) is quickly changing the idea of what a game development studio looks like.
As the largest game development studio in the South West, AMG is a fast-growing company based in Cornwall with a team of nearly 50 people, ranging from expert developers to creative artists. The company was recently been acquired by the Swedish development company Toadman Interactive – now part of the parent company ENAD Global 7 – and received investment to expand its team and work on some exciting new projects.
Heading up the studio is Managing Director Rich Barham, an experienced games industry executive who has worked in studios of all sizes across the world. From building a team at Blizzard in California for World of Warcraft, to managing studio operations on IO Interactive’s Hitman in Copenhagen, Rich brought years of experience to Antimatter Games – and Cornwall has been one of the main reasons he’s stayed.
Despite most of the UK’s major game studios being in Liverpool, London, and Guildford, AMG remains just as connected to the world’s game industry in its offices in Cornwall. “Most major game releases are put straight onto digital platforms like Steam and the Epic Games Store, which means you have access to a worldwide market wherever you’re based,” says Rich. “And thanks to Cornwall’s impressive transport options, it’s easy for me to fly out and meet with the other studios who are part of ENAD Global 7.”
AMG have recently moved to new waterside offices in Truro, which boast superfast internet speeds, close proximity to Cornwall Airport Newquay, direct trains to London from its nearest station, and are just a stone’s throw away from some of the region’s stunning beaches. And with multiple games development courses at Falmouth University, there is a great source of graduate talent on the doorstep.
“Our unique location attracts some of the industry’s top talent looking to escape from the huge teams at major studios to somewhere that fuels their creativity,” says Rich. “It’s a competitive market and experienced developers are in demand, but nearly everyone who’s joined us has stayed with us – our staff turnover is very low.”
It’s not just AMG’s location that sets the company apart from other studios in the industry – it’s the company’s culture too. Many development studios are frequently featured in the news for their stressful work environments and long working hours, but AMG proves the industry can follow a different business model.
The company is focused on striking a healthy balance between work and personal life, doing everything it can to make work feel as close to a hobby as possible. AMG hosts regular office social events like Beach BBQs and Dungeons and Dragons sessions, encourages a dog-friendly working environment, and even sent out personalised gifts during lockdown. Also on Wednesdays and Fridays colleagues have the option to work from home, meaning they never have to work more than two days in a row in the studio.
“We strongly believe that when people are happy, they’re more likely to be creative, and ultimately produce better results – that’s why we’ve dedicated 25% of our new office to leisure space,” says Rich. “We want our team members to love where they work and feel like they’re making a difference to the final product.”
Since being acquired by Toadman Interactive and joining ENAD Global 7, AMG’s opportunities have continued to expand. “The investment from our parent company has given us the opportunity to significantly grow our team and source both experienced and graduate-level talent,” says Rich. “It’s also given us chance to create our own intellectual properties, and work on some projects our teams are truly invested in.”
One of these projects is a Cold War based multiplayer first-person shooter named ’83, which has already gained a major following in anticipation of its launch. And following that, the company is working on I.G.I Origins – a sequel to the 20-year-old cult classic Project I.G.I – which has more than 2.1m views on the announcement trailer alone. “We’re lucky to be able to look two or three years in advance and identify what we want to make as a studio. We have creative freedom, and we’re able to fully take advantage of all the skills in our team,” says Rich.
If you want to explore how your business could thrive in Cornwall, get in touch with Cornwall Trade and Investment today.
Antimatter Games is currently hiring for a diverse range of new roles, from Senior Programmers to Technical Artists. If you’re an experienced professional in the games industry – or you’re a graduate that’s just starting out – take a look at what Antimatter Games has to offer.
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