Evolution Studios producer aims to kill exhaustive overtime with new company

I’m done with crunch, says ex senior Sony dev

A former senior Sony developer has launched a new micro studio with a bold plan to eliminate enforced crunch work.

Andy Gahan (pictured), who since 2000 has held several senior positions at Sony’s UK arm, is the newest name on a growing list of experienced British developers who have quit triple-A work on indie, mobile and social games.

And the twists and turns of his new start-up, called The Pixel Bullies, will be documented in a new series of Develop Blog posts, starting today.

Gahan has assured Develop that his weekly diary will offer an open, honest and unedited account of life as a start-up.

“The idea behind The Pixel Bullies is to develop games differently than we have for the past 20 years,” he said.

“What I wanted to do was have complete freedom to develop the games that I really wanted to make, in a way that I wanted to do it, with likeminded people, and enjoy the journey. By no crunch, we mean setting our own deadlines and deciding to release when we want to or when we’ve polished the games as much as we feel we need to.

“Personally, I didn’t want to jump from large AAA crunch style development, only to then crunch myself but without all the AAA benefits.”

Gahan wants The Pixel Bullies to build games in the same manner as the world’s most successful mods – with freelance developers remotely cooperating on projects when their free time allows.

A fairer profit sharing scheme, as well as flexible working hours, is also promised.

“If some team members wanted a break, that’s fine,” he said.

“They can take as much time off as they like and jump back in on a project when they are fully rested, or want to make some more cash. Then we can bring new people in to help wherever we need them or restructure for the new project.

“To be an indie developer for me means freedom to work on what we want, when we want. If it’s sunny this week for example – I might take my son away camping for a few days and work over the weekend if it’s raining.

“As we have people working in the UK and USA, we need to be more agile in the way we work and use Skype, Google docs and other online resources, meaning we don’t all have to be in the same location at the same time.”

The Pixel Bullies already has two projects in place, Gahan said, with a grand third game in the pipeline.

Before he established up his new studio, Gahan had worked as senior SCEE development manager since 2008. Prior to this he was worked at Evolution Studios as producer since 2000.

He is calling for interested indies to get in touch to collaborate on various projects.

A uniquely equal profit sharing scheme is in place, he added.

“By this we mean that, if four people work on a game and do roughly the same amount of work, all profits after costs will be shared equally. Just because I’ve set everything up, doesn’t mean that I should get the lion’s share of the profits.”

“We want to extend an open offer to freelancers and other small teams or partnerships to talk to us if they want to get involved in our games, or if they have a great idea themselves, but don’t quite have the man power to pull it off.”

Andy can be emailed here.

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