Aardvark Swift Spotlight: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios – “I think they’re that passionate and proud about what they are doing, that any avenue to talk about it they want to jump on.”

Toby Gallagher, Studio Community Manager

The studio’s original moniker of Free Radical Design brings a cult level of brand equity from devotees of the TimeSplitters franchise, so too with its Crytek UK past and subsequent involvement in the popular Crysis series. Since becoming Dambuster Studios back in 2014, when it was acquired by Deep Silver, the studio has continued to deliver quality, high budget, and narrative-driven experiences to the gaming masses, making its hometown of Nottingham, and the game development community within the midlands, proud.

James Bowers of Aardvark Swift speaks with studio community manager, Toby Gallagher, about the studio’s culture, how it’s ensuring the next generation can transition to success within games, as well as how the team has found working remotely.

“I’d actually only been in the studio for about two weeks before we moved to remote working,” says Toby. “It was lovely to see everyone rallying together. The IT team, HR, and the production team did really well to get us all set up from home. Rob, our studio development director, and several other members of the production team, were driving to people’s houses, dropping off computers, and making sure everyone had what they needed. We’re still working at full capacity, which is great.”

As a relatively new addition to the Dambuster family, Toby saw his role as a natural progression to his previous marketing experience. It has allowed him to continue to be creative, and he’s been impressed by the internal culture and dedication on display from the rest of the team.

“Having worked in other content roles, I’ve had to literally chase people around the office, with the people I need information from actively avoiding me,” Toby says with a smile. “At Dambuster, people come to me with ideas. I know passion is a word that gets thrown around, but I think they’re that passionate and proud about what they are doing, that any avenue to talk about it they want to jump on.”

The supportive undertones of the studio struck Toby as early as his first interview. “They offered to pay for my travel and board the night before my interview, as they knew I was travelling in from Manchester; I’d never heard of anyone doing that before. Once I got the job, they offered me so much help and assistance with relocating locally. They helped with my bond and put me up in the studio apartment for two weeks, which they retain for new starters to make relocation easier.”

It’s not just financial support that Deep Silver Dambuster Studios is willing to provide to their team, it’s also the willingness to allow time for personal development. “Every other Wednesday afternoon our engineering team has a learning development window where they are given free rein to explore new things that they might be able to transfer over to work one day. It is completely free form and not something strictly on their task list.”

In the 2020/21 academic year, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios are also assisting the next generation, working hard to ensure the transition from education to employment is as painless as possible. “We might not always have a specific job vacancy, but the content pieces we’ve published about how to get specific jobs in the industry, and the work we’ve been doing with both Grads in Games and Into Games, is something we’ve really enjoyed. Having partnered with Grads in Games, a number of our team members have been involved in their webinars to students up and down the country.”

As well as growing their sphere of influence in employability and industry accessibility, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios is also actively expanding. “We’ve got quite a lot of vacancies in the studio at the minute, across the whole spectrum of disciplines,” adds Toby.

The studio is hard at work developing the next instalment in the Dead Island franchise, but for now, they don’t have any further details to share.

You’ll be able to listen to the full conversation with Toby Gallagher in an upcoming episode of the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, third party apps, and the aswift.com website.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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