Former Ubisoft exec Chris Coates joins Team17 as head of studio

Team17 has appointed Chris Coates as its new head of studio.

Coates joins from his prior post as studio design manager at Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington. With over 20 years experience and experience in senior positions at Codemasters and EA Vancouver,  Coates will now lead the development teams at the company’s Wakefield and Manchester studios, as well as “co-produced titles created hand-in-hand with external partner studios”.

Chris Coates
Chris Coates

The company says Coates joins Team17 “at the start of a considerable 12 months” during which the firm will celebrate its 30th anniversary and release a number of key titles including the latest game in The Escapists universe, The Survivalists. “2020 also represents the 25thanniversary of Team17’s iconic and much-loved franchise, Worms, and has already seen the company complete the acquisition of Manchester-based studio, Yippee Entertainment”, the studio said.

“Team17 has been an iconic developer and publisher in the UK games industry for three decades, and I’m proud to join now and help it continue successes over the years to come,” said Coates. “I want to thank Debbie and the team for the warm welcome to the company, and I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into the many projects and games we’re developing both internally and with external development partners.”

“We’re delighted to unveil Chris as our latest senior recruit. His wealth of knowledge and experience across so many facets of game development made him the perfect choice to lead our development teams,” added Debbie Bestwick MBE, Team17 CEO. “Our 30th anniversary year is a significant milestone for everybody involved with the company, with key titles set for launch over the next 12 months, including Moving Out, The Survivalists, Neon Abyss, and many more. Chris is a strong people person with a proven track record of working with a diverse range of studio sizes and will help realise our ambitions.”

Team17 was founded in 1990 and is an international developer and publisher, with a portfolio that includes titles such as The Escapists, Overcooked, Yoku’s Island Express, Yooka-Laylee, and the Worms franchise.

Team17 acquired Yippee Entertainment earlier this month. Yippee is a software developer and digital publisher based in MediaCityUK, focused on “end-to-end production and creation of third-party games alongside its own IP”. The £1.3 million deal comes via a combination of £922,407 in cash and the issue of 114,000 consideration shares worth £433,200, “subject to a lock-in over a three year period from the date of the Acquisition”.

Yippee will reportedly work on a combination of Team17-owned, original, and Games Label partners’ IP and operate under Team17 as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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