Aardvark Swift Spotlight: Outerdawn

With ambitions to become a household name across the southern hemisphere and beyond, New Zealand-based Outerdawn are a new PC and mobile development studio who’ve embarked on that journey with their projects Mana Monsters, Goblins of Elderstone, and their flagship title, Grimguard Tactics leading the fleet.

Aardvark Swift recently sat down with Outerdawn’s people operations manager Caley Staveley, studio manager, Gustav Seymore, and 3D generalist Alex Udjur, to gain insights from all angles into their studio rich with culture and creativity, revamped for a new era.

Founded in 2014, then under the name Artrix, Outerdawn has truly been built from the ground up. With an empty office and just a single employee, people operations manager Caley Staveley, the team has grown exponentially to almost 30 strong, as Caley describes.

“Our CEO has always loved the idea of Kiwi ingenuity and creativity, which is why he decided to start a studio in New Zealand. I came on board as employee number one to an empty office, but with the closure of a few local studios, we were able to hire some of these developers – about 13 in two weeks. It’s been amazing to be part of the studio growth, from me and the CEO, to now nearly 30 people”, says Caley. “We then rebranded in April 2020; we were changing direction, changing our games, it was a rebirth of the studio.”

A major contributor to the re-imagining of Outerdawn was studio manager, Gustav Seymore, who joined Outerdawn’s mission over four years ago “I joined to give the studio a little bit of direction and a change, and that was around the time that we started thinking about rebranding”, says Gustav. Boosted by a rebrand and some fresh blood to boot, the studio began firing on all cylinders with their new title, Grimguard Tactics, an epic, dark fantasy RPG with an expansive Hero summon, and turn-based tactics gameplay, as Gustav notes. “Grimguard is our first game in the era of Outerdawn, with lots of new people on board, and a new energy”. After a successful soft launch in Australia and New Zealand, you can expect to hear more from this project soon.

Alongside direction, Gustav brought his own indie title, Goblins of Elderstone, with him to Outerdawn. Now with full studio backing, the project is in the process of being released to greater extents than its original potential. “Goblins of Elderstone was an indie project that I did with a friend at the time. The project went through many hands, publishers, and investors, a real typical indie rollercoaster ride. But eventually it found a new home, here at Outerdawn”, notes Gustav. “Outerdawn now owns the IP, and the game has since gone from a small indie title that was overly ambitious, to a very polished, still independent but larger game that only a studio could really bring out. At Outerdawn we’ve been able to maintain the indie spirit in development, and I’m still the creative director of the project, as I’ve been from day one.”

The independent and collaborative spirit at Outerdawn continues to remain at the heart of the studio; with a range of people from diverse backgrounds and experience, they’re united as one in their goal of taking the industry by storm. “We’ve got a really good mix of really talented, passionate young people and older veterans that have experience that they’re learning from,” says Gustav. “We’re a studio that iterates, we’re allowed to fail, which I think is vitally important but also rare in the industry, and allows us to work toward the objective of building long-lasting IPS. In the long term, our mission is to become the best game studio in the southern hemisphere, and then, we want to rival any studio in the world”.

You can listen to Aardvark Swift’s full conversation with Outerdawn’s Caley Staveley, Gustav Seymore and Alex Ujdur through the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, third-party apps, and the aswift.com website.

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