Leading publisher Electronic Arts plans to invest UKP 250 million in its European studio over the coming five years, with 200 further staff to be hired in the next two years, studio general manager Rory Armes has revealed.
Speaking at the ELSPA International Games Summit in London, Armes reaffirmed the company's commitment to internal development in Europe - announcing that its staff in this sector is now 480 strong, having hired 120 new staff in the past year.
EA currently operates four development locations in Europe - the headquarters of the European studio in Surrey, the North-West studio near Warrington and the Criterion studio in Guildford, along with its only non-UK studio, Digital Illusions CE in Sweden.
Armes hinted, however, that the firm may be planning to extend its reach outside the UK and into continental Europe, and commented that he was committed to "small creative places, keeping the culture of that place intact."
The studio head - who prior to his EA role was founder of Radical Entertainment, recently acquired by Vivendi-Universal Games - also described European studios as being "well-poised from a development perspective," thanks to a culture which has kept them small and highly focused.
"I'm very excited about European developers of games," he said. "I think they're very creative, very disciplined, and look at the world in a very simple way... Great ideas and innovation will come from small developers across Europe."
Armes also commented that he believes that the next-generation transition will provide a major opportunity to small independent developers, as publishers focus their internal studios on next-gen work and seek external partners to continue developing their major franchises on current-generation platforms.