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The Chinese Room has grown 10x since Sumo acquisition

Two founders have hired 17 new staff in the last three months for new project

The Chinese Room has increased its team size by a factor of ten since its acquisition by Sumo Digital last year.

Sumo bought the Brighton-based independent studio for £2.2 million in August 2018, less than a year after it was forced to lay off almost its entire team following a difficult period -- both financially, and in terms of the stress of game development.

At that point, The Chinese Room was left with only its two founders, studio director Ed Daly and creative director Dan Pinchbeck, but the studio now appears to have been revitalised.

Over the last three months, 17 new staff have joined across design, art, animation and programming, including a handful of hires in very senior roles. New art director John McCormack, for instance, has a track record that includes EA and Lionhead, and new technical director Nick Slaven was formerly head of tech at Stainless Games.

"We've got a brilliant mix of industry veterans and rising stars and it's really exciting to see the studio keep evolving"

Dan Pinchbeck

The Chinese Room's other new hires bring experience from a broad range of studios, including The Creative Assembly, Rare, Rockstar, Frontier and Ubisoft Milan.

"We're hard at work on a great new game and it's fantastic to have brought together such an amazing bunch of talented developers to help realise it," Dan Pinchbeck said in a statement.

"We've got a brilliant mix of industry veterans and rising stars and it's really exciting to see the studio keep evolving and growing."

This also appears to be the realisation of Pinchbeck's goal when The Chinese Room fell on hard times.

"We're makers, fundamentally, and our roles were increasingly making it very difficult to be practically involved in doing the things we love and we started the company to be able to do," he wrote in a blog post at the time.

"We're taking time to figure that out; how we get to be creatives, not managing directors."

The Chinese Room's next project has yet to be announced, but Sumo was clear that the it would be allowed to, ""[continue] to create the unique, innovative games they are known and loved for."

The studio's previous work includes the enormously influential Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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