When long-standing UK studio Frontier set its heart on international expansion, it chose Canada. And, within the globally significant hub, it chose the province of Nova Scotia.
Here Frontier’s chief operating officer David Walsh explains why the outfit picked the East Coast region.
Why did Frontier choose to set up a base in Canada, and why Nova Scotia in particular?
Strategically we felt North America was an obvious choice for a first studio outside the UK, because of its huge importance in the video game industry.
Canada has risen dramatically to the forefront of games development over the last few years, and as such offered us an excellent new talent pool from which to recruit.
So it gave your studio what it wanted out of a region?
Our business is about talented people and teamwork – we spoke to several Canadian provinces, and Nova Scotia clearly articulated its benefits: it is Canada’s ‘University Capital’, and the universities are keen to partner with industry to provide a good pipeline of potential recruits, is home to a growing cluster of indie developers, tech and media companies and its geographic location is very convenient, being only four hours of time zones and a six hour flight away from the UK, as well as being a short flight from both Boston and New York, and a ‘half-way house’ to the West Coast.
There is a very well thought out and administered Digital Media Tax Credit system, and ever-increasing successful momentum in the province’s plan to build flourishing digital media and financial services industries alongside the more established shipping, military and ICT sectors.
And you feel Nova Scotia’s future is healthy?
Nova Scotia is on the up, it’s a great place to live, the people are very welcoming and friendly, and in addition to the skilled indigenous workforce, we felt we would have no trouble attracting people to the area, too, if necessary.
How well supported were you by Canadian authorities and such in setting up your Canadian operation?
Incredibly well. Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the province’s business development agency, and is specifically set up to both attract companies like us to set up in the province and then facilitate their on going operational development.
So what, specifically, did they do?
They pro-actively reached out to us in the first instance, supported our decision making process and then made many invaluable introductions to the province’s established business community to get us up and running with minimum delay and fuss. NSBI is still providing exemplary ‘after sales’ service to us – our whole experience has been exceptionally positive.