Californian studio looks to North Carolina for new autonomous unit

Insomniac to open second studio

Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Studios has announced plans to open a second studio in North Carolina.

The location is fast becoming a hot centre for technology and game companies, featuring headquarters or branch offices of the likes of Epic, Emergent, Red Storm, cdv, Funcom and Virtual Heroes. It’s also home to many high-ranked universities – from which Insomniac is hoping to draw the 25-30 staff it plans to place at the studio, reports GameDaily.

Heading up the new arm will be Chad Dezern, Insomniac’s art director, while current gameplay lead Shaun McCabe will become production director. Both are currently working on Resistance 2, and will leave to open the studio – which plans to open its doors in January 2009 – once that project wraps up.

Insomniac is planning for the studio to not be an ancilliary studio but an independent unit in its own right, sharing technology with its Burbank, California parent but working on games of its own despite the small size.

"What’s great about this team is that it’s an opportunity for Insomniac to expand without increasing our number in Burbank," said Insomniac president Ted Price.

"It’s great to have a team that has that start-up mentality with a small group of people who are very focused on creating AAA games, but on the other side of the country."

The small team size will work, he says, because the studio’s PS3 specialisation and focus on project management and pipelines has enabled them "to develop AAA games with smaller teams."

Speaking on the decision to base the new studio in North Carolina, Dezern explained: "We looked at a lot of different locations, but when it came down to it, the Raleigh Durham area had a great combination of talent with all of the schools there, great quality of life and great cost of living."

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