Aardvark Swift Spotlight: Warp Digital

A hidden gem in the industry, Warp Digital is a triple threat when it comes to video game development; specialising in porting, co-development, and production support. Since their formation off the back of Curve Digital in 2014, the studio has ported over 30 titles, assisted in the development of Sea of Thieves, and are on the brink of discovery by the masses after collaborating with Funcom to develop the newest rendition of the Dune franchise for the video games space.

“We’re a very engineering-heavy outsourcer” summarises Senior Producer Piers Duplock in a chat with Aardvark Swift, as he discusses Warp Digital’s continual evolution as they adapt to the demands of an ever-changing industry. While the studio was established in 2014, the close-knit core team behind Warp actually banded together over 15 years ago. “With just over 20 people, many of our team are generalists with extensive skillsets. Originally from Curve; they’ve been around the industry a long time”, says Piers.

In its early days, Warp found its feet with porting, as they focused their efforts on establishing themselves as a new entity in the industry. “It started off with one or two clients, Curve being one of those”, explains Piers. “As we expanded our roster of porting clients, we slowly evolved into a co-development studio as well, bringing in more developers to the studio and giving us the opportunity to work on high-profile projects.”

Warp’s move into co-development came somewhat serendipitously; initially taking on additional responsibilities with the occasional client, before realising the potential opportunity to transition into a new market, as Piers goes on to say. “We didn’t originally plan to move into co-development. We noticed that some of the studios we were working with needed that extra hand whilst we were porting their project, and we were happy to provide it.” Piers continues, “When we looked at the industry as a whole and as it is currently, we found that co-development is one of the biggest boom areas, because everybody needs talent, and they can’t hire it directly. They come to smaller studios like ours who have a talent pool they can attach to their project.”

With co-development becoming a more prominent addition to their arsenal, Warp are set to be propelled into public consciousness within the video game sphere as they work on one of their biggest titles to date, joining forces with Funcom on a new instalment in the Dune franchise “Funcom have brought us on as a feature team, where we fully integrate into their studio and their culture”, says Piers. “We provide them with engineers and artists; it’s probably one of our biggest teams that we’ve ever had on a single project. The fact that we’ve worked with Funcom in the past on Conan: Exiles combined with the Warp studio being filled with old-school Dune fans, it’s safe to say we’re definitely excited to be working on this huge project.”

In anticipation of the number, and scale, of projects landing at the feet of Warp, the studio has plans of expansion for the near future, including developing new areas of specialisation. “With the level of work that’s coming in, we feel like we could easily double the size of the company, it’s just about getting candidates through the door,” notes Piers. “At the moment, we’re small, we’re not very well-known, which I think is a barrier to candidates finding us, but one of our core expansion focuses is building a design team. While we do have some art staff, we’re planning on expanding our level of outsourcing services that we can provide to our clients”.

You can listen to Aardvark Swift’s full conversation with Warp Digital’s Piers Duplock through 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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