Playtonic Games, the studio behind the Yooka-Laylee series, has opened a second office in the UK town of Leamington Spa.
Playtonic – which was founded in 2015 by former Rare staffers – recently gained investment from the Chinese giant Tencent. It has released two games so far, Yooka-Laylee and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, but also has its own indie publishing arm, Playtonic Friends.
Leamington Spa is something of a hotbed for UK games development talent. Codemasters is based there, as is the spin-off studio Kwalee, which was founded by former Codemasters co-owner, David Darling. The Oliver Twins established Blitz Games Studios and Radiant Worlds in the town, and the Microsoft-owned Playground Games is also local to the area.
Simon Geges, head of software, spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about the expansion:
I've been pushing for a second studio for a while. Leamington is a great place to be and it's full of game developers. We want to broaden our reach, without going too far. We want to stretch our reach across the midlands. We've got a number of senior roles that we're looking for, and it would be good to have Leamington as an option.
We're looking at a hybrid way of working, but we still believe in the power of office working. We have a small office that fits up to ten initially, and we'll see how that goes. It's a really amazing office called 1 Mill Street, where Mediatonic was for a while.
Also, Leamington is an amazing place to live. I absolutely love it. And I think that anyone who wants to up sticks and move, they might be more willing to move to Leamington.
Playtonic Boss Gavin Price adds:
We are going to remain hybrid, which we were before. But we are going to be even more flexible. It's about the task. If it's a task that requires being around people and gesticulating, then go into the office. But if you're working on a task that doesn't require a presence, then don't come in. We are not going to set an arbitrary time or metric about how often you should be in.
Price also admits that additional offices could be on the agenda:
We're very open-minded and we know that if we want talented people, if we want strong leadership, then you have to go to them. People have all the power. We have to pitch ourselves to them.
The studio – which has its headquarters in Burton-on-Trent – is currently working on another entry in the Yooka-Laylee franchise.