Sharkmob London
Left to right: Fredrik Rundqvist, Sam Barton, Martin Connor and James Dobrowski (not pictured: Benjamin Penrose)

Tencent’s Sharkmob opens AAA London development studio – announces veteran core team

Left to right: Fredrik Rundqvist, Sam Barton, Martin Connor and James Dobrowski (not pictured: Benjamin Penrose)

Exciting and unexpected news today as Malmo-based developer Sharkmob announced that it was opening a London-based development studio to make a new triple-A title. 

Sharkmob was wholly acquired by Tencent last year, and while it’s been scaling up, with two unannounced projects on the go in Malmo, this new studio and a third project to boot show that it’s shaping up to be a major player in European development. Accepting the fact that it’s still early days for the developer, with no announced titles to date.

Sharkmob in Malmo was founded by Massive Entertainment veterans and is led by CEO Fredrik Rundqvist – previously COO at Massive. Rundqvist sees big opportunities in a developer in the capital:

“London is one of the greatest cities in the world and the United Kingdom has an amazing development community. We see London as a global city – with good national and international connections – and though 2020 has posed exceptional challenges to us all, as we look beyond these, – the UK will always be a key location for game development.”   

The new London studio will be led by managing director James Dobrowski, who moves from CCP London, where he was VP product development, having previously worked at Mediatonic, Playground Games and others. 

Alongside him is a senior management team consisting of design director Martin Connor (Wargaming, Sumo, Playground, Rockstar), live game director Sam Barton (Digit Game, CCP, Mediatonic) and art director Benjamin Penrose (Playground Games). 

 “Our plan over the next few years is to add another industry leading studio in the heart of London, which is also close to some of the UK’s development hubs such as Guildford, Leamington Spa and Cambridge,” said Dobrowski. “Our new team will have unprecedented levels of creative freedom plus the full support of like-minded veteran developers back in Malmö. The London studio will fully embrace Sharkmob’s approach to studio culture and be encouraged to push boundaries in craft, expertise and creativity.” 

It’s been quite a while since anyone opened a sizable new console and PC studio in the capital, which in recent years has largely seen a growth in mobile studios. Yes, CCP and Mediatonic are in the capital, alongside stalwarts such as Rocksteady and Sony’s PlayStation London Studio, but London is a very big city. 

The team will be working up its own title, as well as partnering on development for the two games already in production in Malmo.

We’ve talked to the team and will bring you greater insight into this exciting addition to London’s development community later in the week. 

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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