UK-based independent video game developer Frontier Developments announced this week that it would be opening a new Canadian office to increase its North American presence and to further its work in mobile and tablet gaming.
The UK developer chose Halifax as the new home of its first international studio opening outside of its chief operation in Cambridge, England. The company is at the forefront of the UK gaming industry and president David Walsh said that Cambridge and Halifax shared a lot in common, making it an ideal choice for its new studio.
“Halifax has been on our radar as an attractive geographic and commercial environment within which we could create games since we met Nova Scotia Business Inc. a few years ago,” Walsh said.
Frontier is looking forward to taking advantage of tax breaks in the region—something that has attracted significant gaming development talent and investment to parts of Canada over the years. But Walsh made it clear that the tax breaks were definitely not the reason why the company chose the location. It was chosen because of the people of Halifax.
“It’s people that make games, not tax credits,” he emphasized. Halifax benefits from its strong academic communities and growing reputation as a hotbed for technology and media, and Frontier is bringing on about 20 new staff at its new Canadian studio—those of which include developers, artists, programmers and database specialists.
“The local universities produce talented graduates and the area is home to a growing cluster of indie developers, tech and media companies. This helped us to quickly establish the foundations of our studio in Halifax with a team that has a great mix of skills to complement our people in the UK, and expand our overall capacity.”
President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business, Stephen Lund, said that Frontier’s expansion to Halifax gives the province a massive boost as being a regional leader in technology and video game development.
“Frontier is exactly the type of world-class developer we want to attract to the province,” Lund said. “Nova Scotia is now globally recognized as fertile ground for leading game development companies.”
Specializing in the development of interactive gameplay designs and striking graphics, Frontier has best been known for popular Wii platform games like Lost Winds and Kinectimals. Walsh said that the company has a good spread of projects available, and new plans of moving more toward mobile, smartphone, and tablet development is in store for the future.
Frontier is currently in negotiations for a lease agreement on a property that’s “within walking distance” of downtown Halifax. Most new employees brought onto the team are expected to start working by as early as the end of August.