The developer behind crowdfunding phenomenon Star Citizen is to move its UK development studio into new premises next year, with a view to creating 700 new jobs by 2023, rising to more than 1,000 over the subsequent five years.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Cloud Imperium Games maintains studios in Austin, Frankfurt and Montreal, but the majority of it’s 700-strong workforce is located in Wilmslow, Cheshire. It is hoped that the 400 current UK-based employees will begin filing into the new Enterprise City studio space next May, prior to which new UK roles will be advertised for programmers, artists, animators, writers, designers, and producers to join CIG, as well as a number of entry-level and administrative positions.
At full capacity, the new CIG studio will be one of the largest game development outposts in Europe, a prospect not lost on Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester:
“Greater Manchester is an ambitious tech hub and has become a magnet for digital talent, with a community of industry pioneers, specialist academics and creative minds. We look forward to welcoming Cloud Imperium Games to the city-region in 2022 – in a move set to bring 1,000 jobs over the next five years, along with the opportunity for the region to play a new role in the future of gaming.”
Star Citizen was announced by CIG’s co-founder and CEO Chris Roberts nine years and one month ago this very day, with an initial release set for 2014. Roberts, famed for the Wing Commander series during the 1990s, raised an initial US$6.2m in crowdfunding finance, hoping to make the ultimate space game. Today that crowdfunding figure is about to break US$400m, and while Star Citizen remains deep in development, it is accessible to its 3.3 million backers in an increasingly-evolved alpha form.
Previously based in LA, Roberts is said to be in the process of re-establishing himself in the Manchester region to help accelerate efforts on Star Citizen, as well as its star-studded Squadron 42 spin-off, which was previously expected to arrive in beta last year, but has since been relieved of any release window.
“Manchester is where I started my video game career” said Roberts, “So it makes me very happy to announce that we have signed a long-term deal for our biggest office yet, in downtown Manchester. The new Enterprise City space is the perfect home for game development, with its deep investment in businesses focused on media, technology and creativity. Manchester joins Los Angeles, Austin and Frankfurt as home to Cloud Imperium’s team, working in partnership with our community of players on Star Citizen and Squadron 42.”