One of the UK’s newest studios Foundry42 is quickly staffing up its Cheshire base to work on one of the biggest and most famous games currently in development, Star Citizen.
The new developer was formed late last year and is working on the ambitious multiplayer title that has so far raised $46 million in crowdfunding, and is taking the lead on the single-player campaign, Squadron 42.
“The UK has got a huge amount of history,” Foundry 42 studio director Erin Roberts tells Develop. “Development in the UK is very strong and the quality is really strong as well. And also where we are in the North West there’s a good bunch of people you can pull on.”
Since the start of February, the studio has brought in eight employees. This includes former Crytek level designer Michael Barclay as lead game designer, ex-TT Fusion lead environment artist Matthew Johns as senior 3D artist and lead programmer Jens Lind, who also previously worked at TT Fusion.
Robbie Elms, Ed Marsland and Luke Pressley have joined as designers while Simon Davies has joined as a programmer and Philip Howlett has been recruited as environment artist.
Roberts says the headcount could go up to a maximum of 50 staff, but is reticent to go much higher through risk of destroying a close-knit studio culture he is trying to forge.
“50 is almost that magic number where everybody knows everybody, everyone communicates well in an area which is small enough so communication is very easy and people can just walk round and talk to each other, and not off at different floors and different areas of the building. So you have a very tight knit group and quick turnaround on stuff,” he explains.
The studio is also set to stay around for the long-term, even once development is ‘finished’ on the single player experience for the space sim, Squardon 42. Roberts says there are plans to keep expanding the Star Citizen universe regularly with battles and new campaigns, and there’s still a huge amount to do over the next few years.
“The Star Citizen plans is it’s a ten year plan,” he states. “As far as we’re concerned we’re obviously creating Squadron42, and we’re supporting the actual persistent universe as well in other ways. Then after Squadron42 is done we’re going to create other scenarios.”
Cloud Imperium Games, which Foundry 42 is part of, has studios based across the world, including in Austin, Texas and Santa Monica in California. Development is also being outsourced to various companies given the huge work crafting the title’s epic and fully detailed capital ships.