Internally developed projects at Codemasters are due a massive boost with the addition of just under 70 employees from last week's Swordfish Studios acquisition – allowing the group to realise its ambitious growth plans.
The UK publisher and developer behind global hits Race Driver: GRID and Colin McRae: DIRT intends to ramp-up in-house projects, with plans for both the newly-christened Codemasters Birmingham and the year-old Guildford studio to work on three titles each within as many years.
"The internal studios have had an enormous amount of success, with the technology base that we've got and the games we've been delivering," revealed Gavin Cheshire, VP of Codemasters Studios, in an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "And that's obviously fuelling a growth at Codemasters for us to do more internal projects."
"Swordfish has been together for a long time and so it's already a studio with a team and a project, but our plans are to grow that with another two to three projects over the next two or three years," confirmed Cheshire.
The publisher's Guildford studio has grown from one member of staff – former EA Criterion exec Adrian Bolton opened the doors – to over 50 team members. Currently working on brand new IP for the publisher, Guildford will also split to develop three projects over the next few years
"It's fair to say our plan has always been to grow the group, but we've never been able to hit our ambitions of doing that because it's really hard to find really good, talented people, particularly en masse," offered Cheshire.
Although Codemasters intends to create more projects internally, it won't be dropping external partners any time soon.
"It's all about balance. We can't ever not publish externally developed products, and we've got some brilliant products, so why wouldn't we? But, there's a different kind of risk associated with external development," added Cheshire.
"What Codemasters is trying to do is balance its portfolio a bit better – certainly we want to work with very talented external development groups – but at the same time we want to do a lot more internally developed titles as well.
"If you look at a lot of other publishers, not just us, there is a certain amount of wanting to do a similar thing. It's testament to how hard it is nowadays to develop product compared to what it used to be like. How you control it, how you get the most out of it. Asking an external developer to do the amount of things required to get a game in front of an audience is just enormous. You need that flexibility that internal development can certainly do."
The full interview with Gavin Cheshire, where he discusses the freedom of using Codemasters own technology, the talent in Birmingham, and new intellectual property, can be read here.