FACTFILE: Stainless Games
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Number of Employees: 30
Key Personnel: Patrick Buckland, Shaun Smith, Ben Gunstone, Matt Edmunds, John Cook
Recent Softography: Novadrome, Crystal Quest (Xbox 360), other titles under NDA (Xbox 360, Xbox, PC)
Currently Working On: Titles for Xbox 360, PS3, PSP and Vista
In an industry as fast moving as the games one, timing is everything – which must make Stainless’ achievements in the past year and a half all the more sweet.
In that time, Stainless has been probably the quickest independent studio on the planet (perhaps aside from the Steam-owning Valve, at least) to respond to the rise of digital distribution – when the Xbox 360’s launch demanded a complementary relaunch of the Xbox Live Arcade service, the studio was one of the first there, producing launch title Crystal Quest.
Timing – the studio was there from day one, see.
While taking advantage of the here and now, it’s worth remembering that Stainless’ past successes include creating the best selling (and controversial on its arrival) vehicular action game Carmageddon – the release of which, along with trailblazing on download services, is a major milestone in the team’s history.
"The affection that gamers sill have for it makes us proud," says Matt Edmunds, COO.
Nevertheless, the studio isn’t relying on that heritage. Indeed, with racing title Novadrome now out on Xbox Live Arcade, the next priority is the busy slate of upcoming games that includes Atari’s wave of retro releases and remakes for XBLA and a number of unannounced games for 360, PS3, PSP and Vista.
"We specialise in innovative, creative developments of both new IP and clients’existing IPs," explains Edmunds.
"Our mature and proven technology enables rapid development of games across multiple platforms and genres, which has proved ideal for the new wave of downloadable games such as Xbox 360 Live Arcade and Sony PS3 EDi."
Such activity demands growth, of course, and as the team expands its programmer count it too has seen the trials and tribulations on an expanding sector and what that means for the talent base – which is to say, it isn’t big enough.
And while the studio has seen the ‘recruitment crisis’ first hand, like many others its work on e-distributed games means it has had better fortunes in the turbulent world of finding new staff.
"We have been undergoing planned, steady growth for the last 24 months and have a long-term recruitment policy which reflects this," explains Edmunds.
"The next-gen ramp up has certainly caused a shortage of quality candidates," he concedes, but adds: "Overall it has not affected us as we continue to attract new staff through a combination of pleasant working environment, fun projects and attractive benefit package."