Aardvark Swift Spotlight: Nequinox – “It’s vitally important that our team knows that they’re part of an inclusive, equal and diverse culture.”

Propelled by its debut work on AAA title Crackdown 3, Nequinox is making a name for itself straight out of the gate after just celebrating its 3rd anniversary. With the prospect of several new co-development partners on the horizon, and the potential of its own IP development becoming a very real possibility, it’s a studio that is laying the foundations to become a major player within the industry, and is already the go-to studio for technical challenges and AAA co-development and porting.

Matt Knott, Development Director, Nequinox

Aardvark Swift caught up with Matt Knott, development director at Nequinox, in the light of the studio’s recent successes, to discuss how the company has bolstered their continued growth, and where their upward trajectory will take them.

Breaking away from Sumo Digital and bringing with it many years of technical expertise, the studio was founded by industry veteran Stephen Robinson alongside his son, Anthony Robinson. “The company was created out of love for games,” says Matt. “We were set up to really push the boundaries of video game technology for all of our co-dev studio partners.”

Since their fruitful beginnings, the studio has only continued to shift from strength to strength, augmenting their arsenal of talented developers from 6 to 21 within the last year, and bringing aboard several new co-development partners. Matt Knott credits three fundamentals to the studio’s sustained success.

“Firstly we’re a partner focused on engineering – this is not all that common in the industry; with many co-dev studios split between art, engineering and production.” Matt continues, “Secondly, we have a very specific way in which we build relationships with our co-dev partners; we make sure it’s absolutely the right time when we start working with them, we have a clear vision of their project and the resources to back it.

“Finally, and most importantly, we build teams with other studios. We assimilate into those other studios seamlessly; that’s not to say that we don’t have Nequinox DNA, which is absolutely vital, but we hone in on finding ways to best support and understand our co-devs in the games that they want to make, providing them with the best advice, resources and people for their project.”

To provide their co-development partners with the optimal team for the task, Nequinox has first had to get the best talent through their doors at their Manchester-based studio, and as development director, Matt is tasked with just that. However, it’s not just a candidate’s skillset that Matt takes into account. “We search for people with the right values and the right attitude; skills can be taught. There’s no doubt that skillful individuals are pivotal to success, but equally, finding people with the right values is more important than ever. In some cases, we’re getting to know people through a screen – we have to work harder than ever to build that trust and relationship, so ensuring developers fit our values and culture is vital”.Working alongside Associate Producer Hannah Williamson, Matt creates, develops and supports these teams, whilst instilling the overarching company values. “We are a small company, but we already have a champion for EDI (Hannah) – it couldn’t be more relevant right now.  It’s vitally important that our team knows that they’re part of an inclusive, equal and diverse culture. We’ve been very clear as a company that this needs to be part of our DNA from the beginning.”

With a core team now in place, Nequinox is now exploring the future direction of the company. “We’re going to continue to build a reputation, as well as building capability and capacity into the studio. Co-dev and porting is where we are at right now (Autumn 2021), we’ve bought on one co-dev partner in May 2021 and we’re about to bring on another. But every studio has the ambition of making their own games and that’s something we are seriously looking at.”

You can listen to Aardvark Swift’s full conversation with Nequinox’s Matt Knott through the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, third-party apps, as well as the aswift.com website.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably 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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