Smite developer Hi-Rez Studios has announced Red Beard Games, the first of three planned studio expansions. Located in Brighton – where the company’s current European HQ is already established – Red Beard Games told GI.biz it selected Brighton because “it’s a cosmopolitan town that inspires creativity and encourages new ways of thinking, two values that we at Hi-Rez hold dear”.
The new studios come as Hi-Rez expands beyond the success of titles like Smite and Paladins – for which it has now established distinct development brands – as well as its new esports venture, Skillshot Media. “Plans for two other unannounced studios” intimate the company has at least three unannounced projects planned or underway, with Red Beard Games’ unconfirmed game expected to be another online IP which will reportedly include “cross-play” and “cross-progression”.
“As an international company we, like many others in the industry, are concerned about the impact of Brexit, but will continue to closely monitor the situation, work with industry bodies to mitigate any possible negative effects, and are committed to ensuring the most positive outcome within whatever constraints we may face,” said European general manager, Veronique Lallier.
The firm, which has its roots in Atlanta, Georgia, will reportedly establish a compact team at first, but hopes to expand as its projects develop. Whilst there’s no confirmation yet on what that project might be, Lallier said the start-up will have “the freedom to explore many different creative approaches” as with the company’s other studios.
“Our intent with Red Beard Games is to ensure it can function independently, creatively and with all the agility of a small studio, but with the backing and experience of a much bigger business,” Lallier said.
“This enables each of them to fulfil their maximum potential and stay hyper-focused on serving their individual player communities. By giving each major game its own dedicated studio and identity, we empower them to control their own destiny… while still having access to our publishing services. Red Beard Games will form following this philosophy.”
“We are a developer-led publisher,” Lallier added. “We acknowledge that great games businesses are built on great games. That means ensuring that creative talent is given the space and resources it needs.”