Halifax’s video game developer scene just got a little more crowded.
Frontier Games, a studio based in Cambridge, U.K., has opened their first North American office on Barrington Street. Their operation is fairly small right now, but CEO David Braben expects it to grow.
“We’re at 23 staff here now, but we’ve got room for over 60 people, and we hate empty spaces,” Braben said, while enjoying his first taste of Tim Hortons.
Frontier Games employs more than 220 people in Cambridge.
Although Braben couldn’t divulge what project the team in Halifax is working on, he did say they’re already working on a new game with developers across the pond.
Braben said they opened their new studio in Halifax because all of the stars seemed to align.
“We’ve thought about other places, but with Halifax we had the great opportunity with the team here and also it’s roughly midway between the west coast of North America, where we do a lot of business, and the U.K., where we’re headquartered,” Braben said.
Chief Operating Officer David Walsh said Frontier chose Halifax because of a unique opportunity with an existing studio and the city’s wealth of young creative professionals.
“If you look at Montreal 10 years ago, it was a down in the dumps, rustbelt town, I don’t mean to denigrate it, but I just have,” he said with a laugh. “A lot of the heavy industry, like car manufacturing went away, and the government, very foresightedly, encouraged a lot of technology and entertainment companies to set up shop there.”
“I’m not saying Halifax is in that same situation,” Walsh said. “But the point is, Montreal is now a real centre of excellence in creative arts and it’s a thriving city, and with the opportunity of that, hopefully we will be a small part of Halifax’s digital renaissance.”
Frontier absorbed an existing developer headed by Chris Pink, which worked with Frontier before under a contract basis.
“In terms of going from nothing to up and running in seven weeks, it’s been fantastic,” said Chris Pink, studio head. “It’s been great for the guys enjoying some of the more creative stuff and we now get to work on projects with a broader spectrum of audiences.”
“In the 10 years of hiring in this area, I’ve found that there’s a great deal of talent here looking to stay. They like the roots they’ve made here.”
Frontier will be launching a new game this holiday called ‘Coaster Crazy’ for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Players can customize their own roller coaster track in various environments and modifications.
Popular Frontier Games Products Include:
Roller Coaster Tycoon
Kinect Disneyland Adventures