While High Score’s main studio is based in the leafy Oxfordshire town of Banbury, the audio specialist also has a studio within the capital.
“It doesn’t really help for music or sound design, but for voiceover recording, most of the talent is here in London,” explains founder Hugh Edwards.
“It becomes unfeasible to bus down 40 actors to a studio in the country, and so we record in the capital. But you can still achieve great results in London without having to break the bank. Our business model is designed around just that. There is a very good tube system in London; you don’t need to be in Soho – doing that just makes things untenably expensive.”
Cost is something that High Score takes very seriously, doing its best to drive costs down without compromising on quality. And costs, of course, are a key concern in London.
“Games nowadays have very large budgets. Although the comparative audio budget is a small part of the whole budget, bad audio can literally break a game and ruin the thousands of man-hours of development that have gone into it. Gaining an audio contract to us is not just about getting the work – it’s about respecting what the game is about and what its best interests are. It’s about enhancing the good work that’s been done already and adding our creative touch in the right and appropriate way.
We always deliver on-time and in-budget. We respect our clients and the audience. We deliver to the highest quality standard. I know that sounds quite obvious – to deliver high quality audio – but it reminds me of one developer who shall remain nameless who, having quoted for a music job, replied to us saying that actually they knew someone who would do it for a hundred quid and a crate of beer. We are very competitive, but you do get what you pay for.”
And as for 2010, it’s a case of keeping on trucking, keeping the existing customer base happy and seeking out new ones. “We haven’t lost any clients so far in our five-year-span, and we aim to keep it that way. We are expanding our staff, our studios and our toolsets. We’ve also got a couple of very interesting plans for the future which will be very beneficial to people when they come out. But really, our main aim is to forge new relationships with people we haven’t yet worked with, and to maintain the relationships with clients we already have. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”
Number of staff: 3 perm – up to 8 contract
Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire and London
Previous projects: IL2 Sturmovik Birds of Prey, Beijing 2008 Olympics, Fallout 3
Currently working on: Iron Man 2 for Sega, Nat Geographic Quiz: Wild Life for Gusto Games/National Geographic