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CONTENT Editor: Seth Barton seth.barton@biz-media.co.uk +44 (0)203 143 8785

Gaming’s greatest horde Congratulations: you’ve made it to the third and final trade day of gamescom! It’s been a brilliant show, with early indications showing that its bigger and better than ever. For many our jobs are done, but our thoughts are with those who stay on for the weekend to both herd and serve the masses who will descend on the Koelnmesse. The industry is far better than ever at recognising that it’s ‘For the Players’ or similar such sentiments. But compared to say football with its stadiums, gaming has an often unseen audience. A morning spent in gamescom’s consumer halls soon puts paid to that illusion. And it’s now certain that we’ll all

Senior Staff Writer: Marie Dealessandri marie.dealessandri@biz-media.co.uk +44 (0)203 143 8786 Designer: Tom Carpenter tom.carpenter@biz-media.co.uk

be back here next year as the deal has been signed between the German trade association Game and Koelnmesse for the next three years. It’s great news – while the idea of a new venue and city might be seductive, the consistent growth of the show here in Köln should be rewarded. It’s now the second largest consumer show in Germany. Finally next year’s show appears to be moving a week later in the calendar. This moves it out of the school holidays locally, and should ease somewhat the pressure on tickets. So we look forward to seeing you next year for another great show and wish you a safe journey home!

Seth Barton, editor of MCV

Production Manager: Claire Noe cnoe@datateam.co.uk

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Today @gamescom

MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu – Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source

04 News and interviews The biggest stories at gamescom

12 What’s in the pipeline

Biz Media Ltd, Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen St, London SE1 1YT

Natalya Tatarchuk on Unity’s HDRP

16 Spin that record

Cord Worldwide talks music and vinyls

23 Regional spotlight

Destination: Hamburg, Germany

27 Exhibitor listings Plus trade hall plans

42 When we made... Two Point Hospital

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48 Gamescom in pictures The best pics from around the show

50 The final boss

Football Manager supremo Miles Jacobsen

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Bandai Namco’s Hoerdt on how Epic Games Store and subscription models are potential ‘threats’ Bandai Namco’s Hervé Hoerdt, SVP of marketing, digital and content for Europe, tells Marie Dealessandri about the rise of new ways to engage with content and the threats it could represent, while embracing what streaming can bring to the table

“We’ve been swimming in the same pool for years and this pool is made of 200m, 300m people and obviously the vision to be able to address 2bn or more tomorrow is very exciting.”

BANDAI Namco Entertainment Europe’s SVP marketing, digital and content Hervé Hoerdt (pictured above) believes the value of content available via subscription models is “too low” for the company to invest in the idea. While discussing the rise of new platforms with MCV@gamescom, he said: “Subscriptions are more of a threat, that’s for sure. Because the business model behind subscriptions will be based on two things: the number of hours played on your game compared to the total hours people played, and the number of games played compared to the total number of games.

“So, in the value chain, we see a lot of cascading and the value in the end is too low for us to be able to invest further in the content. So that’s a threat we see. But otherwise, generally speaking, it’s exciting, it’s appealing, it’s more opportunities going forwards.” Talk of new platforms inevitably progressed to discussion of the Epic Games Store, and the opportunities that Hoerdt recognised it presents the industry, even if he did make it clear that Bandai Namco simply isn’t interested. “It’s an opportunity to be honest, of course,” he started. “We’ve been swimming in the same

pool for years and this pool is made of 200m, 300m people and obviously the vision to be able to address 2bn or more tomorrow is very exciting. I think that’s also why it’s attracting a lot of money at the moment in the industry. People trust the gaming market to grow even bigger. So we see this as an opportunity and a way to address more consumers. “Having said that, we also see this as a threat, but we need to invest more. While we invest for the current generation, I think it’s no secret that there’s a new generation coming, so we need to put the money in and invest for this

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new generation. On top of this, for the first time in 30 years, there are streaming platforms like Google [Stadia] emerging, so we need to invest even further. “We cannot do everything and Japanese [companies] are not risk averse but we’re going slowly. So we have a full platform strategy. The main focus for us is the consumer and the brand. And for each brand we decide what’s the best way to satisfy the consumer and to engage the widest audience possible. So for instance, I don’t see any point of putting Tekken 7 (pictured above) on Epic Store. Epic is just another store. It’s fantastic, they have a lot of strength and [lots of] users, the business model is attractive to us because it’s more profitable but still, their interest is, if I’m correct, exclusivity. And this is not our vision. We want our content to be available for as many fans as possible. I don’t think we’ll deal with Epic in the short term, while we have this strategy. But of course, if they’re open, we’ll go there.” This also comes on the back of Dontnod announcing in June a partnership with Epic

Games Store for its next title, Twin Mirror, which will be an Epic exclusive for a year on PC – a PC version that until that point was going to be published by none other than Bandai Namco. The latter will still publish Twin Mirror on consoles, while Dontnod has acquired the rights to the IP.

“We just want our content to be available for as many fans as possible.” However, one business model that Bandai Namco does want to embrace is streaming, Hoerdt continued. “I think there’s a misconception: streaming doesn’t mean subscription. It’s not mandatory. And we’ve put some games there, we’ve made

some tests, we have Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 [coming to Stadia] but we also have more projects in the pipeline. Not on the first wave, but there will be three or four waves in the coming years so we’ll have some titles then and I think this is important for us to make this bet and to see how it reacts.” Still on the topic of how the gaming landscape will evolve, Hoerdt said Bandai Namco could be looking into different ways of presenting its titles as well, in order to make a foray in emerging markets. “We’ll also need to be investing in different content. If we think about India or Africa, they have smartphones [rather than] computers or consoles. And they won’t pay €60 to play Tekken on a smartphone. So we need to think about different ways to develop the games, maybe like a free-to-start, I don’t know… A Tekken with five stages and ten characters and then different business models that exist: subscriptions, advertising, in-game currencies to upgrade the game up to the full experience... It’s challenging but interesting.”

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Ubisoft praises ‘fantastic freedom’ from Vivendi and wants to invest in new IPs Alain Corre, Ubisoft’s EMEA executive director, tells Marie Dealessandri about the firm’s renowned ambitions, with a particular focus on family-friendly new IPs, and the lessons the publisher has learned from Starlink’s overambitious launch UBISOFT’S EMEA executive director Alain Corre (pictured right) shared the firm’s ambitions of doubling down on new IP during an interview with MCV@gamescom, and we can fairly assume that this new lease of life is connected to Vivendi selling its last shares in Ubisoft in March, after years of aggressive attempts to take control of the company. “Freedom is fantastic,” Corre beamed when we asked how Ubisoft’s future was looking now that Vivendi was out of the picture. “We are an independent company, we want to remain independent, that’s the best way we can grow, and we have proven that already, many times, so we are super happy to be able to decide what we want to decide, when we want to decide it, in the future.” With new ambitions in sight, Ubisoft now has to find a balance between trying new things and servicing its existing live games. “It’s a challenge because we need a lot of talent to do that, so we are going to continue hiring talent in the studios, we plan to have more in the next five years,” Corre said. “We cherish our fans that are following our brands like Assassin’s Creed or Ghost Recon going forward, but we feel that it’s also a good moment now to go onto investing in new IPs. There are lots of new technologies appearing; PC is still developing fast, there are new consoles coming next year, the streaming technology is there, cross-play is also something that will excite players, so we feel it’s the right time to create new genres, and new IPs for us. After all, if the sun can shine on these ones, we’ll have them for a long time to come.”

And that’s very much the vision for Ubisoft’s upcoming new IP Gods & Monsters, created by the team behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and out in March next year. When asked if Ubisoft was seeing it as a franchise, Corre replied: “That’s the dream of every publisher. We are going to feed this game with new things along the way. Ideally, if the fans respond positively, it can have a long life in the future.” Gods & Monsters is also an attempt to appeal to families and tap into a younger audience, with the game itself rated 12+. That’s reminiscent of Ubisoft’s similar attempt last year with toys-to-life title Starlink: Battle for Atlas, though the firm had to stop manufacturing the physical toys that accompany the franchise after sales for the game fell below expectations.

But Corre said Ubisoft learnt a lot from Starlink and is now ready to approach the family market once again: “I think we gain a lot of experience working on this franchise, also for the family. And it helps us shape plans for family games that are coming for us. We always capitalise on everything we have done in the past. We have a lot of fans still playing Starlink and that are happy playing Starlink, and that’s what’s most important for us,” he said, before adding: “We were expecting more out of Starlink but it’s a step in our creation process and, again, all the experience we have garnered out of creating and marketing this game, we are very rich in this experience to market, and well placed to create better products for this type of consumer in the future.”

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Koch Media: ‘We are committed to our strategy of local representation’ CEO Klemens Kundratitz talks to Seth Barton about its greater reach and broader offering, with its latest office opening in Poland plus the acquisition of games merchandise specialist Gaya Entertainment KOCH MEDIA just keeps on expanding. It recently acquired Italian racing specialist Milestone for instance, but it’s also growing both the reach and breadth of its publishing and distribution services – both for its own titles and those of its many partners. At the beginning of the month it announced a new regional office in Poland and CEO Klemens Kundratitz explained to MCV@ gamescom the key rationale behind that move: “We believe you need to be close to the market, you need to be there in order to be effective. And while other people think you don’t need to be locally represented because of the digital dissemination of games, we believe that it’s absolutely vital to be there.” More specifically on the Poland office he expanded: “For us, Poland was a missing piece in the jigsaw of Europe, to truly offer a panEuropean publishing service, not only to our own studios but also our business partners. Poland has a very robust and growing economy, it has a large player base, a vibrant PC business, as well as a console business. “Building our Polish business up was a strategic step for us, and I think it also shows our dedication to our partners and to the industry that we are committed to our strategy of local representation, despite some markets having a decline of the physical business it doesn’t stop us needing local representation,” Kundratitz stressed. He noted that this is just one part of “a general growth strategy,” with a similar move into Australia in February, with the acquisition of distributor 18Point2. And with this increase in reach comes another increase in the breadth of its services, with the acquisition of Gaya Entertainment, the German merchandise producer and

distributor, which has more than a decade in the sector. “It’s an interesting step for us, that we can compliment our video games offering to retail with game merchandise. We have long-standing relationships with other game merchandise companies, like Rubber Road and they will continue as before, but also having a merchandise offering in our own house, enables us to offer our publishing partners a route to that segment of the market, not only manufacturing and distributing games but also help them on the game merchandise side. “It’s becoming clearer when we talk about ‘we can be an all-physical solution’ that means global reach to retail, that means not only games but everything around games,” he said. Finally, we had to ask about the expansion of its development teams with Milestone, to which Kundratitz suggested it will be business as usual at the developer.

“It’s a good studio, it’s a business that has a leading position in the racing niche. THQ Nordic Group has an active M&A agenda for companies that are well managed, on solid ground business-wise and sharing our larger company strategies, and that was the case with Milestone. “We feel the company is very well run and we don’t really see the need to change it, it’s really unlocking potential that’s the name of the game. I think there’s growth potential in many areas. Being a larger company you have a larger network of business partners and further reach than if you are smaller. We wonder whether Milestone’s titles will now come through Koch’s own distribution channels, but surprisingly that’s not the case: “The publishing stays as it is, they have different distribution partners in different countries and it’s down to Milestone to decide whether they want to change anything or leave it as it is,” he finished.

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Sega cuts content from Yakuza remasters: ‘The perception of the LGBTQ community was different to how it is nowadays’ Sega is remastering Yakuza 3, 4 and 5, with the first title having launched at gamescom, but not all of the content made the cut, series producer Daisuke Sato tells Seth Barton SEGA is tying up its long-running Yakuza series with the re-release of the middle three entries in the series: Yakuza 3, 4 and 5. These were originally on the PS3 and will be remastered to 1080p and 60fps, with the original PS2 titles already having been remade to modern standards – this will enable fans to enjoy the whole series on the PS4, with Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6 being native to the platform. While the updates are largely technical, developer RGG Studio has taken the chance to make some edits to the original games, producer Daisuke Sato (pictured right) told MCV@gamescom (please note, that this interview was done via a translator): “There are technical issues, but also content issues that we need to change because they don’t fit the modern mindset anymore,” Sato said. When asked for examples he continued: “The first game is ten years old, back in the day the perception of the LGBTQ community was different to how it is nowadays. It’s a different topic, with different ways of looking at it and talking about it, and so there are some substories that didn’t fit this modern spirit and so they had to be cut.” While ten years ago isn’t a huge amount of time, and maybe such content shouldn’t have

“We’re not putting content in to satisfy western customers, but over time we’ve put more effort into localisation.”

been there to begin with, it’s good to see the studio rectifying its previous errors. Speaking of cultural sensibilities we also asked Sato if he thinks differently about his western fanbase as opposed to those who are playing the games in Japan itself. “Personally, I don’t think that the western territories will completely grasp the concept of the Yakuza clans in Japanese culture,” he replied. “But then I also like the Godfather movies for example, although I don’t entirely grasp the concept of the mafia. But there are human interactions, there are two rival groups, there’s a very nice storyline around it, and I think the same applies for the Yakuza series,” he explained. However, western audiences are a greater consideration today than they were when the

games were first launched: “We’re not putting content in to satisfy western customers, but over time we’ve put more effort into the localisation. To ensure that the localisation is more smooth, more understandable, the games have been re-localised by the teams that worked on Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6. So western audiences can grasp it better, to make it more enjoyable,” said Sato. The games release is very much aimed at long-term fans of the series. The initial offering is a digital season pass called The Yakuza Remastered Collection, with players able to download Yakuza 3 immediately, then Yakuza 4 in October and Yakuza 5 in February. And with that a physical special edition of all three games will also be released, and the titles will go on individual digital sale as well.

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Mattel Creative on emerging streaming platforms: ‘We want to be everywhere; this will be a new frontier for the company’ Having successfully launched its free-to-play mobile title, Hot Wheels Infinite Loop, Mattel Creative talks to Robert Hutchins about its desire to conquer new streaming platforms HIGH on the successful launch of its free-to-play mobile title Hot Wheels Infinite Loop this gamescom, Mattel Creative, the digital arm of the global toymaker, has hinted heavily towards taking its wealth of IP to emerging streaming platforms in the near future. Google, HTML5, Facebook and even Alexa are firmly on the radar for the unit that is only now seeing the fruits of the past 18 months’ labour of digital development with the arrival of its Hot Wheels title. Infinite Loop is somewhat of a departure from the norm for the Barbie doll maker, targeting the over 16s market with a free-to-play title that features in-app purchasing and ad-based rewards, that looks to simultaneously drive nostalgic fans back to the franchise. And while Mattel Creative’s focus for the title and its upcoming launches this year will remain on PC, console and mobile, its head of digital, Andrew Chan (pictured), is keen to get IP up and running on emerging streaming platforms such as Stadia, too. “We want to be everywhere, and we really like those spaces,” Chan told MCV@ gamescom. “So we will be licensing our brands to people who have done things in those spaces, all the while building our franchises on PC, console, and mobile. This will be a new frontier for the company.” Two years into his role with Mattel’s expanding digital team, Chan heads up a

unit that itself is a relatively fresh endeavour for a toy company that has previously made little secret of its desire to be recognised as a “high performing, IP-driven entertainment business.” This mission statement is likely why the firm is now eyeing new platforms within the games space. On top of this, there’s hint that a grander plan is at play for Mattel Creative. “We may not be in the business of hiring or building out a game development studio today, but we would love to get there,” added

Chan. “For now, we are working with the best-in-class partners in the kids’ space, in the all-ages space, and then across our brands.” Hot Wheels Infinite Loop is not the first digital effort for the toy car franchise, however, but follows the global launch of Hot Wheels ID earlier this year – Mattel’s own leap into the challenging world of toys-to-life. A physical track-building and car-racing play-set, Hot Wheels ID uses NFC and AR technology to tally stats racked up by the toy’s use in the physical, which will then directly impact play within the digital and all in real-time. “We are seeing physical and digital colliding, and at a faster rate,” continued Chan. “And as you start to see those worlds collide, you start thinking: how do you make a culture where both of those can thrive? That’s what we’re trying to do at Mattel.” While toys-to-life has been a difficult space to pin down by those before it, Mattel has faith in its abilities to progress the market for future consumers. “Someone is going to make a product where you don’t even know you’re playing with a physical-digital product. No one had to tell you to scan your car, no one had to tell you that you had to do something, you are just doing it,” he prophesised. “That’s when someone has cracked that product, when it is seamless – and I hope it is Mattel.”

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Pictured: Abe, the star of Oddworld: Soulstorm, showed off the character rendering prowess of Unity’s HDRP at GDC earlier this year



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Unity’s move from mobile and indie titles to graphically-intense console games has begun. Seth Barton talks to VP graphics Natalya Tatarchuk about the company’s new graphics pipeline and the big-name games it’s powering


hat do System Shock 3, Oddworld: Soulstorm and Harold Halibut have in common? Well, all of these incredible-looking upcoming titles are built on Unity, and more specifically will utilise Unity’s High Definition Render Pipeline or HDRP for short. HDRP is the core graphics tech that’s bringing Unity out of the mobile and indie space and into the area of high-end PC and console releases, which adds huge potential to the innumerable studios and developers with Unity experience around the world. That process is being led by Natalya Tatarchuk, VP graphics at Unity, whose previous experience includes an eight year stint at Bungie, during which she designed and lead on Destiny’s renderer architecture, and time spent at ATI/ AMD as a graphics software architect. As with any major new feature, HDRP has been circulating for a while; most notably in Unitycreated demos such as Book of the Dead, with its stunningly lifelike forest environment. And at GDC earlier this year, the Unity’s demo team wowed us with The Heretic, which combined a lifelike human with a dynamic environment, incredible VFX and lighting effects. “This pipeline offers a huge leap in graphical realism and ease of use and will be production ready for all developers in 2019,” enthuses Tatarchuk. “It is designed to benefit games shipping on current generation consoles and modern PC hardware, and we see ambitious high-end titles adopting it as it offers tremendous visual fidelity and power of performance. It benefits games today, and games in the future that will use it.” HERETIC OR PROPHET? Tatarchuk is rightly bullish on what Unity has achieved with its new graphics workflow. She demonstrates The Heretic to me in the editor, where she’s able to edit and iterate at the final render quality, even with all the effects that are packed into the demo. “For us it’s so ingrained that we could just do this in the editor, we forget to emphasise it

enough. Putting my triple-A developer hat on, we were never able to do final frame quality operations in the editor.” And that power translates directly into better final results: “[The demo team] is iterating on that high-fidelity content with all the final assets in editor, they’re seeing exactly what the final frame will be while the editor’s running. They’re moving everything around, that’s why they could get to this result... They don’t have to spend hours baking.” That means they don’t have to spend time pre-rendering any of these effects before they can tweak them. “HDRP is allowing game creation teams to do some incredible work that would have been much harder – or even impossible – before. HD lights are physically-based, with real-world units, which lets artists use their real-world experience to guide light setup. You know light bulbs, the sun, and you don’t need to translate exposure into arcane units. It just works! “So they’re able to work directly on the final triple-A quality,” she pauses and adds: “Triple-A plus plus in fact – because nobody in triple-A ships at this quality yet. I’ve worked in that and they’re not doing it yet. And that’s why this team can do these types of things.” The workflows are undoubtedly there then, the results speak for themselves, but demos are one thing and actual games are another. So it’s heartening to see the very first instances of titles using HDRP coming from studios.

“HDRP is allowing game creation teams to do some incredible work that would have been much harder – or even impossible – before.”

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME HDRP is still in development and will not be considered fully production-ready until the 2019.3 release of Unity this fall (currently in alpha). Despite that, some studios are already in production using the pipeline. “We are getting to the point of maturity with HD pipeline that you can be producing actual shipping projects on it. That was the core point of ensuring that performance is tiptop, ensuring the content creation flow is natural, intuitive and convenient, that it’s efficient, that we’re able to give a gamut of rich features to developers.”

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Pictured above: Natalya Tatarchuk, VP graphics at Unity

Pictured below: Otherside Entertainment’s System Shock 3 is one of the titles to be shipped using Unity’s HDRP

Tatarchuk won’t tell us just how many such projects there are, only saying: “We’re certainly working with a number of creators to ship games on HDRP. And we are supporting them in full force to prioritise and ensure that those titles are in a happy place.” One likely such Unity-based title is Campo Santo’s In the Valley of Gods. Tatarchuk agrees with our assertion that we should see finished titles based on the technology over the next year or two, and that they’re doing their utmost to ensure the quality of that first wave: “It’s like a good console launch, right? You make sure to invest in developers who put their trust in you.” The GDC keynote in March showcased two such titles, both with huge fanbases. Otherside Entertainment’s System Shock 3 sees the return of the franchise after twenty years (though numerous spiritual successors have helped to bridge that gulf), while original protagonist Abe returns in Oddworld: Soulstorm from developer Oddworld Inhabitants. The visuals on both titles are impressive, and those results were doubly impactful for Unity itself, with team members on stage showing their work in progress live in the editor. More impressive still was how the teams are already finding creative ways to utilise the toolset to generate specific effects for their titles. “I am forever rejoicing by the variety of ways that creators are using our features,” Tatarchuk enthuses. “As someone who used to write algorithms for a living. That

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was the most fulfilling element, where somebody would take an algorithm or a feature we put together and then they come up with an outrageously different way to think about it. We’re not attached to specific uses, we’re creating a tool to give a baseline for people to do whatever they wish. And personally for me that is the most fulfilling thing to see. It’s all about the end result replicating whatever is in their head, their vision, their world.” Of course, not everything comes straight out of the tools Unity provides, with developers building on top of what Unity ships both in C#, Unity’s chosen programming language going forward, and by writing custom shaders. “Moon Studios, on Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is an example where they’re taking the C# and shaders, and creating a drastically different look. They’re doing 60fps rendering with a completely rethought approach. They’re getting tremendous performance,” Tatarchuk tells us of the platformer scheduled for February next year. Then there’s more unusual projects, such as the stopmotion animation of Harold Halibut by Slow Bros. “Those guys [are using] the new post-processing stack. It really gives a state of the art, Pixar look, like cinematic frames. And that’s a good example where they took HDRP and made it their own, made it really special,” she says. Between what we’ve seen from Unity’s own demo team, and the early efforts of a handful of developers, things are looking very bright for HDRP, and all at a time when we’re about to see another huge leap forward in graphics horsepower for the industry. LIGHT YEARS AHEAD Google’s Stadia has already announced that it’s wielding a massive ten teraflops of graphical muscle per server blade – a big jump up from the current top dog, the six teraflop Xbox One X – and it seems almost certain that Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles will be in the same ballpark in terms of performance. So what kind of advances might we see in games with such power on offer? “What I’m excited about it is you can really do dynamic worlds at that compute, you can get a lot more interactivity,” Tatarchuk says. “I think ten teraflops can let you be a lot more creative in your usage. That’s a

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really exciting point for developers because then you can combine it with all of the tools for example, like the Visual Effect Graph [the new GPU-powered particle system launched with Unity 2018.3].” Referring back to The Heretic demo, she tells us: “This is the example of what people are going to able to accomplish – that’s exactly it. You get the scope of the richness of the scene. And then you can really really amp up, you saw everything was moving. There’s lots of things, lots of wires. The world is becoming dynamic. That’s a good way to spend teraflops, from my point of view.” We ask whether we’ll also see real-time, ray-traced lighting, which has been much-hyped by both Unity and Unreal over the last year, on this kind of next-generation hardware: “That’s up to the creator ultimately,” she answers. “Certainly you could do some really amazing ray tracing.” She goes onto explain that you could take Unity’s ray tracing tech and drop it into The Heretic today, because it all runs on HDRP: “And then you [can] put in some really amazing refraction and transparency,” she adds. Though at ten teraflops she also notes that “you would still have to be mindful about the complexity of the scene.” Making the landmark moment of real-time ray tracing a reality is as much a testament to the flexibility of modern hardware and software as it’s to its sheer power. “Fundamentally the reason we have reached this landmark is because there is now performant hardware under the hood that allows us to have really fine-grained execution change between rasterisation and ray tracing. One of the challenges for ray tracing was you were locked into one or another. And that made it really difficult to actually take performant advantage of it.” So it’s the ability to switch between high-speed and high-quality solutions that will allow ray tracing to be used, where needed, to improve the appearance of the scene. But control over those decisions must then be easily available in the editor. “That’s actually one of the key things that we build in our solution. Say I want to render this super complicated

transparent glass with refraction and water, “ she points at glass of water on the table between us. “I will send that through to ray tracing. Now this object is opaque [picks up a phone speaker], so I don’t care, I’m going to send it to rasterisation, but its shadow will go to ray tracing. Fantastic! Best quality shadows, really high resolution, super detail and best performance,” she smiles. “That’s one of the things that we focused on, the content creation story for enabling ray tracing… And that’s what’s gonna take it out from the cute demo, where I have to spend 50 grand on a rig, to a practical thing that people can actually ship. And that’s always our focus, how we enable people to ship.”

Pictured above: The Heretic, Unity’s demo at GDC this year, combined a lifelike human with a dynamic environment, incredible VFX and lighting effects

ENGINE ROOM Rebuilding the graphics engine at the heart of Unity over the last few year is only the beginning though for the team: “We’ve certainly come to the maturation of this stage. But we’re very far from thinking that we’re at the end of the process. Our creative juices and imagination have just started flowing… It’s just the beginning of our real evolution,” Tatarchuk says. “With my team, there’s a roadmap for the next five years worth of effort. [At the lower end] there’s a tremendous amount of work we’re doing to get even more performance both on GPU and CPU so that we can continue to expand the complexity of the worlds that one can render.” And the team is working with Unity Labs, the in-house research team, to bring new shader technologies to Unity: “It’s a higher fidelity material representation. So you can do much more rich surfaces with that. Current consoles would have a bit of a challenging time with performance, but upcoming generations will be able to take advantage of it.” With graphics about to take centre stage again as a new generation of hardware is launched over the next year or so, Unity has timed the launch of HDRP well. By bringing such high-end console graphics to the platform, it can empower legions of Unity developers.

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Marie Dealessandri talks to the games music experts behind Cord Worldwide and Laced Records about how to choose the music for your game, the pros and cons of licensed soundtracks versus bespoke scores and how the digital shift in games has made the future of vinyls (very) bright


p until recently, Cord Worldwide was a provider of music and audio solutions such as sonic branding for the film and advertising industries. Meanwhile, record label Laced Records was delighting video games music fans with its great catalogue of indie and triple-A scores such as Doom and No Man’s Sky. These two worlds collided in April 2018 when games services provider Keywords Studios bought the two companies from Cutting Edge Group. This move enabled Keywords to branch out in music services and Cord to branch out in games, with Laced Records sitting perfectly at the end of the supply chain. Danny Kelleher, Laced Records’ CEO and Cord Worldwide’s MD, tells us that Laced was “already having bigger conversations with bigger publishers” when the acquisition happened, but having the Keywords’ label now further facilitates the firm’s business. “Publishers would say: ‘Oh that’s great, we actually already have a contract with Keywords!’ So that makes the process of collaborating easier. Businesswise, Keywords is very very different obviously – they’re a services business and Laced is

essentially a reseller and record label. But what we want to have with Laced now is an extension to Cord services.” Enters Alastair Lindsay – this industry veteran has spent a whopping 20 years at Sony, most recently as head of audio, having first started as sound designer and composer then becoming music production manager and then head of music. He joined Cord in January 2019 as head of audio. “My passion is the creative side of music and audio for games so it’s just something that I wasn’t doing much over the past few years at Sony and I really wanted to get back into being able to find new interesting solutions and ideas for music, for games,” Lindsay explains about his move to Cord. Since the Keywords acquisition and now stronger with Lindsay’s expertise, Cord works with publishers and developers on trailers, music and audio direction for games – from working with composers to supervising scores to licensing music to recording sessions, all the way through to Laced releasing the soundtracks and monetising the music. “I’m working a lot with Alastair on the Cord stuff now,” Kelleher confirms. “So obviously we want to provide

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Pictured left: The Dead Cells vinyl was a big hit, with the story leading to its creation involving Bethesda’s divine intervention

very good music from start to finish but with Laced as a bolt-on to that, looking at how we monetise the assets that [developers] have actually paid for. So it’s an end-to-end service where it’s not a client spending money on services: we can actually generate revenue for them off the back of releasing these soundtracks commercially as well. Cord has a proven history in other fields, in Hollywood, in television and advertising, and I think those skills are very transferable into video games.” THE WIPEOUT EFFECT If music and audio directions have similarities between film and games, there’s still one major difference between the two creative fields: developers, especially indie studios, don’t necessarily know where to start with music. And that’s when Cord enters the game, Lindsay explains. “They probably have some idea of what they want but this is where we really like to be involved and give them some suggestions or, if they do already have some suggestions, offer up some alternatives,” he says. “If they thought about licensing the music, we ask them: have you thought of working with a composer? Have you ever thought of working with the recording artists themselves to create something bespoke for your game? So basically anything’s on the table – and creative solutions too. “Video games is a creative space and it’s such a diverse world, so let’s try to offer something original, something different that’s going to make that game stand out, make it sound different from everyone else.”

Cord’s services don’t stop at creating a soundtrack for your game, it offers technical suggestions as well, with Lindsay explaining that sometimes developers don’t see how they can implement music in certain ways that make it a more seamless and more engaging soundtrack. Said soundtrack can be licensed tracks or a composed score, with both having pros and cons – the choice will depend on what you want to bring to your game: cultural relevance and marketing push or a bespoke sound and interactive atmosphere? “Licensed music, if you have the budget for named artists, that can always be a little bit of a pull,” Lindsay says. “An example when I was working at Sony was the Wipeout franchise – it was always known and respected for its music. So there was a lot of work getting the right music in it. It brought some fans to us as well because people knew the franchise because of the music. The artists have their fans, they have their PR channels so you can then do some cross promotion, so it can help market the game, especially if it’s a smaller title. The downside of licensing a track is what you can do with it is limited. You can potentially get hold of stems [the individual instrument files and vocal channels] for the tracks and get permission to do some edits or some remixes, but where a bespoke, composed score trumps licensed music is you’re starting from scratch. “If you’ve got a very interactive soundtrack that you want to do, you can basically make the music to fit the system that you’re creating. So it’s going to be a more

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Pictured above from top: Alastair Lindsay and Danny Kelleher

seamless integrated experience. The composer could be a recording artist too, somebody that you would have potentially licensed the music from but who will then write something bespoke. The downside of composing music is it can take a very very long time. Especially the bigger titles where they’re wanting hundreds of minutes, maybe even eight to ten hours of music.” A licensed soundtrack can sound quite tempting to indies thanks to the potential marketing push – however, studios need to be aware of the challenges of licensing, as Lindsay highlights. “With commercial music, negotiations with the rights holders can be [challenging],” he says. “There’s been many occasions in my time at Sony where people wanted to license certain tracks, they know what they want, but you can’t license them for various reasons. There’s either too many rights holders involved and then the cost may be prohibitive as well. You can get some good deals but a lot of the time, if you want a big name, then you have to have the money – and budgets can be quite restrictive in games. So that’s the main challenge really. And then it’s just negotiating and having those relationships with the rights holders, the record labels, the publishers, the artists managers. You have to have everyone on board – so it’s part relationships, part good negotiation skills.” Cord’s job is precisely to facilitate these relationships though, whether you’re going the licensed or composed route, with Lindsay’s experience in the industry then becoming an invaluable asset for the company. “Over the years I’ve met and spoke to hundreds of composers so there’s a lot people out there very keen to work within video games,” he says. “So it’s about understanding who’s out there and what they have to offer. There’s also a bit of being at the right place at the right time because it’s been cases where someone would just get in touch with you and then it just so happens you’re looking for somebody for a particular title. That happens a lot.”

When you go down the composer route, Lindsay points out that you might want to choose to work with well-known film composers, thinking that adding a big name next to your game will undoubtedly benefit it. Well think twice, as he warns that “that has its own challenges,” adding that he doesn’t think “it brings too much value to the game.” When we ask why, he answers: “I don’t think game players are generally that interested. I think game composers have a bit more credibility than film composers do in games. They’ve been around for a long time, they’ve built a fanbase and listening to video game music is very niche but very popular and it’s a certain crowd... They’re not necessarily people who are into film soundtracks I don’t think. They’re buying into a whole world, a whole game experience, they want everything. So it’s definitely an interesting audience. That’s something Danny could explain: the people who buy vinyl records and game soundtracks.” YOU SHOULD GET IT ON VINYL Danny Kelleher definitely has a lot to say about that and about the added value of releasing special edition soundtracks and vinyls. “The merchandise numbers seem to increase every year,” he says. “And people are obviously still very keen to get their hands on collector’s edition box sets. So I think with the vinyl side, as music gets better and better in games, it’s opening up another opportunity for the consumer to hold something physical for a franchise that they really love which they are now downloading from the PS4 or Steam rather than going into a traditional brick and mortar store and picking that game physically off the shelf. It’s just an additional thing which goes towards the game consumers’ need to collect.” But releasing your soundtrack on vinyl doesn’t mean instant success though, as Kelleher points out. “I’d love to say it all comes down to how good the music is, but unfortunately that’s not always the case,” he smiles. “In terms of commercially being viable, for a vinyl release especially, which is very expensive to manufacture, you do rely a lot on the IP and the franchise being a success. “We worked on a couple of great soundtracks where the music was absolutely beautiful and so much work and effort went into it but unfortunately the game wasn’t a hit with fans. So you had this beautiful element of music but unfortunately the franchise just didn’t get big enough for people to care about buying that merchandise.” That leads us to discussing one of Laced’s successes, the Dead Cells soundtrack, which I will literally take every opportunity to talk about. Its vinyl is sold out and that all comes down to... Bethesda. “[Dead Cells] was is in early access and we were working on Doom and there was a lot of back and forth

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on getting that vinyl together and the head of licensing in the US for Bethesda said: ‘Oh, I’ve sunk quite a lot of hours into this game Dead Cells and it’s got this amazing soundtrack, you should get it on vinyl!’ And I checked it and I thought ‘Actually, that’s pretty cool!’,” Kelleher laughs. “So I got in touch with Twin Motion and they were really happy to put something together.” Another type of release that’s meeting success is powered by nostalgia, with publishers getting in touch about older titles. “It’s not your traditional soundtrack album,” Kelleher explains. “Back in the day we were just being given a lot of cues basically. These could be ten or 20 seconds long and then there would maybe be some pieces of music which would be more like a traditional music release of around three minutes. But mainly it could be 40 tracks of ten seconds. And when I first looked at these I thought: ‘Well, how do you sell that on vinyl?’ That doesn’t sound to me like a listening experience that I personally would buy. But what we’re finding is actually the consumers are so attached to the IP, they hold on to that vinyl and listen to some of those songs – it might not necessarily be like listening to a whole album of singles but it’s these tiny bits of cues and music which they associate with that franchise and they really do want to own it.” Lastly, the success of Laced’s vinyls sometimes has literally nothing to do with music. “I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess on the percentage of our customers that don’t actually play our records...” Kelleher starts with a smile. “But I know for a fact that some customers don’t play the records. We have people contacting us regularly saying: ‘Can you recommend a good frame that would hold the vinyl? I don’t have a vinyl turntable but I want to display it as a piece of artwork on my walls’. “We’ve worked with Abbey Road Studios quite a lot in terms of mastering the music, remastering it again for the vinyl format which is obviously very different from digital. So we put so much effort and time into the music that it just makes us a little bit sad that people are like ‘I’m just going to put it on my wall’,” he laughs. “But at the same time, we put an equal amount of effort into the artwork and actually the artwork on any title we release probably takes longer to do than getting the music up to scratch for a vinyl. We try and steer away from using

traditional packs shots. We want to have a bespoke, unique piece of artwork.” BIGGER IDEAS When you ask the pair about their ambitions for Cord Worldwide, you can see the PR training showing through for one split second as Kelleher answers it’s to “be the goto agency for end-to-end solutions for music and sound in video games releases.” But in the bat of an eye, we’re back to happily chatting about what is obviously a work of passion for them – they’re both absolutely dedicated to music and games. Kelleher continues, touching upon licensed soundtracks: “One of the main obstacles is sometimes the music is a little bit of an afterthought so developers might have had a great idea but don’t have the knowledge of how complicated it can be, with the publishers and record labels, and getting approved and so on and so forth, so some of those ideas just die. “There could be ten different writers on one song and they all have to approve the use of it. So the sooner you have those conversations the [more likely] we can deliver exactly what you want. But the main thing we want to do is actually come up with bigger ideas around a track: so how can we remix it? How can we integrate it into the soundtrack? Can we look at the artist doing something bespoke around that track? The more time we have, the more creative we can be.” And Lindsay to conclude: “We’re forward thinking as well and obviously with Google Stadia and games coming to streaming platforms, there’s definitely going to be some issues there with regards to music and rights. So we’ll be there to guide people through that process. We know what’s up and coming, we know the music industry and how it all works.You don’t want games pulled off shelves because of these things, so we look into the future of what’s happening within both games and music.”

Pictured above: It’s not just trendy indies that want vinyls, as Dawn of War 2 proves

“I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess on the percentage of our customers that don’t actually play our records...”

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Hamburg: shipping games around the world For this regional spotlight, Marie Dealessandri takes you to Hamburg. Following a successful transition from free-to-play browser games to much more, the ‘epicenter of gaming in Germany’ has a lot to offer, from an excellent quality of life to the support of an incomparable cluster of games talent


amburg isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the German games industry. And yet. Maybe it should. The northern Germany city is home to over 200 games businesses and a breeding ground for creativity and growth in the industry. Some of the biggest German games companies have chosen Hamburg as their base of operations including Bigpoint, Daedalic, Fishlabs, InnoGames, and many many more, with free-to-play and browser games historically being the city’s forte. Michael Zillmer, chief operating officer at InnoGames, tells us a bit more about what led the now development giant to Hamburg. “What first attracted us were the opportunities and resources available for a growing company,” he says. “What is now InnoGames began as a hobby in 2003 in the suburbs of Hamburg, in a place called Stade.

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Pictured above from top to bottom: Christoph Hillermann, Michael Zillmer and Phillip Schuster

“With the success of the first game, Tribal Wars, we decided to work full time on the development of the title and in 2007 InnoGames was founded. As the company grew and became more successful, we needed to move to a larger location that would help us attract international talent. In 2008, we moved to Hamburg and then into our current office in 2016. Hamburg has a strong reputation in the games industry and offers an extensive network with many other companies in the games and digital industries located here.” Leading games publication 4Players, launched in 2000 and that also owns player engagement platform Scill and server provider 4Netplayers, ended up in Hamburg a bit coincidentally but has not looked back since. CEO Phillip Schuster says: “The decision to move from Munich to Hamburg was made around 13 years ago. Originally, we were brought in to be closer to our former parent company, but since then we found love for the Hamburg way of life and being part of an active video games industry.” There are indeed many things to love about Hamburg, as highlighted by Christoph Hillermann, director of human resources and operations at Deep Silver Fishlabs, founded in 2004 and acquired by Koch Media/Deep Silver in 2013, saving it from bankruptcy. “Although Hamburg is pretty big with its 1.8m inhabitants, it still feels familiar and everything is close by,” he tells MCV. “The maritime Hamburg is unique with the Alster directly in the center, offering water sport opportunities or just cool locations to relax – and the Baltic Sea is only one hour away. And being close to the German capital also doesn’t hurt. It reflects manifold ways to live. The public transportation system is very good and due to the harbor and the airport, you can go wherever you want pretty fast. So it is easy for us to sell Hamburg as a potential new home for future employees.” Schuster also points out that “a good work-lifebalance is important to [4Players] and Hamburg has a lot to offer.” But the main benefit is simply that it’s the heart of the German games industry, giving access to an unrivalled network of talent and business opportunities – or, as InnoGames’ Zillmer puts it: “Hamburg is the epicenter of gaming in Germany.” He continues: “It offers a high quality of life. This helps us attract talent, both nationally and globally. Another benefit is the community in Hamburg. There are a number of game studios, as well as media, tech and creative companies with a focus on gaming in the area and our location allows us to connect and collaborate with others.” In order to facilitate the connection between these companies, Gamecity:Hamburg was launched in 2003 to support games businesses in the city and their growth

(read more from them opposite). Gamecity:Hamburg has helped grow the number of games jobs in Hamburg from 800 to over 4,000 since its inception. An evolution that our interviewees have very much noticed. “Hamburg continues to grow in size and quality, the northern way: slow and steady,” 4Players’ Schuster says. “And with some of the biggest Germany-based game development and service companies, Hamburg is as strong as ever.” InnoGames’ Zillmer points out that there’s a virtuous circle taking place in Hamburg, made possible by the games industry’s solid foundations, and profiting the entire tech industry. “The region has developed in all regards and much of the development is interconnected,” he starts explaining. “The community continues to grow and global giants like Google, Facebook and Dropbox are choosing Hamburg for their German headquarters. Accordingly, the number of people working in the games industry has increased. The decision to locate a business in Hamburg can be attributed in part to the infrastructure as it provides a solid foundation to grow upon. In return, this growth has also allowed for the quality of business to develop. Gaming has advanced over the years and is now not only competing with others in the games sphere, but also in the digital and tech industries.” CROSS-CULTURAL BONDS Like in any games industry cluster, finding and retaining talent is key, with local universities not only crucial to recruit but also to “continue to educate existing talent,” as rightly pointed out by Zillmer. As of 2017, there were 19 universities in Hamburg – six of them public. Zillmer adds: “Keeping in mind that it is an ongoing challenge to attract the right job candidates, there is a need to focus on education and ensuring individuals have the right skillset.” The more specific and the more senior the role is, the more difficult it is to recruit in Hamburg – a problem that applies to the industry at large really. “Hamburg offers great talent when it comes to marketing, PR, community and product managers,” 4Players’ Schuster says. “If you are looking for programmers of any kind, it is much harder and competition is fierce. There simply aren’t enough good talents available – here or elsewhere.” Fishlabs’ Hillermann concurs: “Some people you can find in Hamburg, like Java or C++ developers. The more specific it becomes, the harder it gets. Our last hires, a cinematic designer and an Unreal technical artist, you probably will not find at a browser game developer. And therefore, these colleagues come from abroad.” Hillermann explains how Fishlabs attracts such talent, also highlighting some key competitors: “Hamburg is

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Your friendly neighbourhood Gamecity:Hamburg WHETHER you’re looking into relocating your company in Hamburg, just hunting for a partnership or already working there, Gamecity:Hamburg is the right partner. This network founded in 2003 supports and develops the local games scene through various measures, with a big focus on events, which wasn’t failed to be mentioned by some of our respondents. 4Players’ CEO Phillip Schuster says: “Beside events like the Online Marketing Rockstars Festival, Gamecity:Hamburg organises some great networking events. Hamburg also has a very active indie scene, which meets every two months and attracts a good mix of video game students and professional alike.” InnoGames is a main sponsor of Gamecity:Hamburg, “aiming to support businesses in the games industry and bring them together by hosting events throughout the year,” COO Michael Zillmer says. “We collaborate with them to present the annual Sommertreff, a large industry networking event. Additionally, we host the Games Compass Hamburg event series, which consists of biannual events designed to promote and support the industry.” There are obviously other meetups outside of Gamecity:Hamburg, such as those held by the Hamburger Indie Treff organisation, which consist in a series of lectures designed to promote the exchange of knowledge, strengthen relations and serve as a point of contact for new developers. But Gamecity is an essential part of the Hamburg community life.

a very open, multicultural and international city and has always been connected to the rest of the world historically. So usually, everybody who comes to Hamburg will like it and find quarters where they will feel at home. “For our hiring, there are no borders. We just invite good candidates from wherever they come from. We currently have more than 20 nationalities working at our studio. Within Germany, Berlin might be the strongest competitor because there are many gaming, media or tech companies. Nordic cities like Stockholm in Sweden or Helsinki in Finland I also see as competitors. There are great studios there and those countries have a culture that I rate as being comparable to Hamburg.” InnoGames’ Zillmer continues, saying that they’re not only “competing for talent within the games industry, but also within the larger tech industry.” So with this need to attract talent from abroad, offering a good relocation package is crucial, he adds: “Companies need to find ways to stand out and gain the

Pictured above: Networking event Gamecity Sommertreff 2019 Dennis Schoubye (pictured left), project manager at Gamecity:Hamburg highlights once again the importance of the industry in the city: “Hamburg is Germany’s biggest hub for game developers and innovative digital companies. Next to leading mobile and free-to-play developers, we have a flourishing indie scene, PC/ console studios, and a strong VR/AR focus. Also Google, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch chose Hamburg for their headquarters in Germany, which further strengthens the local gaming cluster. “Gamecity:Hamburg aims to foster the cooperation between the local companies and media industries. We also assist studios plus founders to settle in Hamburg. With a new team for Gamecity:Hamburg we will build on existing offerings and are also looking to further expand cooperation with international gaming clusters.” If you are interested in such cooperation, you can send an email to office@gamecity-hamburg.de.

attention of potential talent. At InnoGames, we value diversity as we have over 400 colleagues from over 30 nations. We look to attract talent from all around the world and as part of an attractive benefits package, we assist with each step of the relocation process. From the logistics of moving to Germany and getting a visa, to language courses and even selecting schools and day care options; nothing is left out. Comprehensive benefits make a difference in attracting talent, especially those who might be looking in light of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit in the UK, for example.” And these people are certainly out there. If you are one of them, you’ll be reassured that you don’t necessarily need to speak German to join a games business in Hamburg – though, should you move to Germany, we obviously strongly advise to learn the language because that is just the right thing to do. “Here at Deep Silver Fishlabs, English is the company’s language,” Hillerman confirms. “Most of our recent hires come from abroad and do not speak

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Pictured above: Innogames’ office in Hamburg

German. And that is absolutely fine. Having said that, we are offering German classes for our foreign colleagues – but not because they would need it at our studio, only to make general integration in Germany easier for them. We see diversity – especially from a cultural perspective – as a benefit for building successful and flexible teams and hence for developing games that will be loved all over the world.” English is also the official language at InnoGames, Zillmer says: “Our workforce is multilingual. In 2012, just five years after our founding, we made English our official language. While our internal communication is conducted in English, we recognise the importance understanding the local language plays in integrating and forming cross-cultural bonds.” DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE So are there any drawbacks to Hamburg? “Other than frequent rain and hardly any direct flights to the US, not really!” 4Players’ Schuster tells us. On the other hand, InnoGames’ Zillmer highlights a bigger issue: “Compared to other locations, there is a lack of local funding programs available for game studios and businesses in Hamburg. Programs such as these not only help smaller companies within the industry, but also safeguard Hamburg’s future as the gaming hub in Germany. We need to re-establish dedicated funding programs. From our perspective, it is a paradox that such programs were in place when the market was less competitive than it is today.” Not in the downside list but still ambiguous and divisive is Hamburg’s reputation as the capital of free-to-play and browser games. “This reputation is both a blessing and a curse,” Hillermann says when we mention it. “Deep Silver Fishlabs recently changed strategy and direction –

away from mobile games and free-to-play to focus on console games. And we still feel like [we’re in] the right place in Hamburg. Overall it is still games, which means at least a similar mindset plus dedicated and talented people. That is definitely a plus. Furthermore, there is also political awareness of games as an important business factor. “It is of course a difference whether you work on free-to-play browser games or on a double-A/triple-A console game. We are happy to contribute to the latter part of the Hamburg games industry now. And we also see smaller studios or indie developers going in both directions. So, Hamburg obviously offers a good and creative environment for all.” 4Players’ Schuster says that this reputation “is true,” before adding: “We do have some of the biggest players in the industry located here. But the games industry in Hamburg continues to grow in various areas and is able to attract more and more people to join development, media, esports and other games related services.” InnoGames is also keen to highlight the other trends of the local games industry: “Hamburg is the gaming hub of Germany. Not only are new gaming companies being founded here, but there are also many large global brands, growing companies and start-ups within the gaming and digital industries located in Hamburg. In total, we count around 200 companies in the gaming sector alone,” he emphasises again. “One of the key trends is the transition to mobile. InnoGames is one of the few companies that have successfully mastered this transition and we offer cross-platform availability for many of our games, as well as one mobile-only game.” From its roots in free-to-play browser games, the Hamburg games scene has successfully transitioned into the place to be, regardless of the side of games you’re on. To conclude our chat, Zillmer has a few words of advice for developers who are considering relocation to Hamburg – and reminds them that InnoGames is on the lookout for talented teams, should you be tempted: “We would encourage studios to attend industry events and network in order to establish themselves and to develop key connections within the industry. It can be difficult when first starting out, but the right connections can make a difference. InnoGames is interested in cultivating these connections, including the possibility for the acquisition of a game and game team.”

“Hamburg offers a good and creative environment for all.”

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Exhibitor guide 2019 Your complete guide to who’s where at this year’s gamescom




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COMPANY Bigben Interactive S.A. Bloober Team S.A. Blue Microphone - Logitech Europe S Centounopercento Srl CI Games S.A. Click Entertainment Ltd

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

A010 C039 D020 E029 A010 C039 C059 A010 C039 D014 E015

CLICK ENTERTAINMENT HALL 2 LEVEL 1 BOOTH NO. D014 E015 Distributor Click Entertainment is ready to connect with existing and new customers at gamescom, and share its plans for the peak season and beyond. You’ll find the team located in Hall 2.1, Stand D-014.

CreditPilot PLC Darfon Electronics Czech s.r.o. Destreamworld OU Dubai Media City

2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

C065 D041 C065 E049

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COMPANY EBANX S.A. E-CONCEPT SAS Enixan Ukraine LLC Epic Games Inc. Ethoscorp DWC LLC Exquisite Gaming Limited EZ Games/ EZ Cards Distribution, In Fokus Bilgisayar San.Tic.Ltd. Sti. Foshan Unique Furniture Co., Ltd. G2A.COM Sp.z o.o. Gamekit S.A. gamesAHEAD e.V.i.G. Gameye B.V. Giant Network Gravity Media Guangzhou Andaseat Technology Co., Half Moon Bay Ltd. Hatch Entertainment Oy Helpshift, Inc HORI (U.K.) Ltd Imagination S.C. Lukasz Kubiak, Bartosz Moskala INCA Internet Co., Ltd. (corporation) INNO3D Insane Irdeto B.V. Jeton Wallet k3i.Co, Ltd. Kalypso Media Group GmbH Keywords International Link Distribution (UK) Ltd LLC Weplay Merchandise Logitech GmbH Marketpoint GmbH Marvelous Europe Limited MoGi Group Ltd Moloco, Inc.

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

D055 D010 E046 E014 D048 A010 C039 A051 B060 C061 B052 C011 C053 A050 D040 E041 E042 C054a A010 C039 D051a A010 C039 A060 A040 A062 C050 C052a C044 B058 C051 B050 D013 C010 C052 D018 E019 D050 E051 A010 C039 A010 C039 E008 B061 B051

COMPANY MSM.digital NBG EDV Handels- und Verlags GmbH Nero AG Nitrado (marbis GmbH) Nordic Game Supply GmbH Omnyex E Commerce DMCC On Point Panda Network Payssion Phoenix Games Holding GmbH Plantronics Prepaidforge B.V. Progress Distribution GmbH RABCAT Computer Graphics GmbH Rainbow Horse Limited RAM ROM GAMES, S.L. Razer (Europe) GmbH Roccat GmbH Rubber Road Ltd. Sakami Merchandise GmbH Servers.com B.V. Setapp Sp. z.o.o. Shikenso GmbH Sky City Y2K Limited Smartgrip GmbH SMIT ELECTRONIC snakebyte distribution GmbH Staramba SE Sumo Digital Ltd Supernova Capital Symantec Deutschland GmbH Teejay Games Limited Tegway Company Limited Tencent Game Without Borders Tilting Point Media LLC Trust Deutschland GmbH

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

A010 C039 A010 C039 A010 C039 C038 A010 C039 B041 E048 A054 A059 B048 C049 A010 C039 D058 A010 C039 D052 E057 C030 A042 D039 A010 C039 A011 C050a D040 E041 C055 C054 C041 D030 A010 C039 A010 C039 E048 A010 C039 C060 D069 A010 C039 A052 B040 B056 D059 A010 C039

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Turtle Beach Unbabel Lda United Label S.A. Unity Technologies ApS UnityAds UNYQUE GmbH Urus London Limited VRiday Werkmeister & Company GmbH Whisper Interactive (Xiamen) Co., L Xtreme Spa zeuz GmbH

2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1

A010 C039 E040 A010 C039 B059 A058 B059 A058 E031 C051 E048 A010 C039 C058 C042 E010

4players Acer Computer GmbH adspree media gmbh Adyen N.V. Alliance Distributors ally4ever Event GmbH Amazon Web Services AMD International Sales & Service LTD. AOC International (Europe) B.V. Barunson E&A Beiten Burkhardt Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH Bethesda Bezant Foundation Ltd Boffin Language Group Inc. CAPCOM Entertainment Germany GmbH Caseking GmbH Changeling GmbH / Supply Drop CLD Distribution Computec Media GmbH Cool 2U Corsair GmbH Cosmocover SARL Cosmocover SARL Cowana GmbH CyberLink Europe B.V. DataMagic Dell Inc. Destructive Creations J. Zieliński i wspólnicy spółka jawna Difuzed DMARKET Limited DotEmu SAS DTA Affelski i Paplinski sp.j. DXRacer Distribution Europe DXRacer Germany GmbH EASTERN TIMES TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD Enarxis Dynamic Media Ltd. epay (Transact Elektronische Zahlungssysteme GmbH) Epulze ESPORT MANAGEMENT Factory-C GmbH Factory-C GmbH Factory-C GmbH Fnatic Freaks 4U Gaming GmbH Frontier Developments Plc Fyber N.V. Gaijin Entertainment Galaktus sp. z o.o. GamerLegion GmbH GBG Global Brands Group GIANTS Software Entertainment GmbH GL Entertainment Distributions Limited GL Events Exhibitions Fuarcilik A.S Hadean Supercomputing LTD Happy Worker Toys & Collectibles IFSA Management INSTINCT3 GmbH

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

D048 B020 C029 B020 C029 D049 A042 B020 C029 A020 B029 A060 B069 A060 B069 A060 B069 D048 B020 C029 A060 B069 B044 B020 C029 B020 C029 B035 A011 D048 D059 A060 B069 D039 C030 D028 B020 C029 D057 A052 C059 D020 A021 A046 C046 D018 C060 D061 B040 D041 D010 D040 C069 D060 A060 B069 C060 D061 D060 C060 D061 A060 B069 B020 C029 C051 B049 D020 B020 C029 B058 B020 C029 D027 C053 B057 A044 A056 A060 B069



Intel Corporation UK Ltd. JFI Games Inc. Jinx, Inc. Jöllenbeck GmbH Kingston Technology Europe Co LLP Kolibri Games GmbH LatinDV, Lda Leogaming Level Up! Interactive Ltda LifeXpress/ Medion AG Making Games, Key Players medialounge GmbH MMD Monitors & Displays B.V. Modus Games LLC Nvidia GmbH Overwolf, Ltd Paymentwall, Inc. paysafecard.com Wertkarten Vertriebs GmbH Payvision PDP Pearl Abyss Pole To Win UK Limited Pqube Limited Proxima Beta Pte. Limited Pyramid International QIWI Bank (JSC) RAD Game Tools Inc. SevenOne Media GmbH StarLadder SteelSeries ApS Stillfront Group AB Ströer Media Brands GmbH Studio Surgical Scalpels Sun Technolgies, Inc. Tent Works Interactive Thrustmaster / Guillemot GmbH Utomik Development BV Valve Corporation Versus Evil wa | co mediahouse GmbH Wargaming Europe S.A.S WePlay! Esports Western Digital Deutschland GmbH Wirecard Technologies GmbH Wired Productions Wolcen Studio World International Trading, LLC Xsolla (USA) Inc. Xsolla (USA) Inc. YachtClub Games Yoozoo Games ZEN Studios Ltd. ZOTAC Technology Ltd.

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

C060 D061 B052 C042 C060 D061 B039 A060 B069 C060 D061 D012 A060 B069 A058 D048 B020 C029 A060 B069 A060 B069 B020 C029 D060 B011 A030 D051 A060 B069 C047 D029 C060 D061 C060 D061 A036 C048 C044 B020 C029 A060 B069 D020 C060 D061 C060 D061 D016 B050 D014 B020 C029 A060 B069 A045 A041 B020 C029 D025 C020 C069 D042 B059 C050 C060 D061 D027 A050 B051 A049 B020 C029 C028 A060 B069 A060 B069

HALL 3 2x2 Games (Dvaput dva d.o.o.) 34BigThings 360 KE JI JI TUAN YOU XIAN GONG SI 505 Games Ltd. 9M Interactive Aardvark Swift AESVI Agens AIXLAB Alpha CRC Ltd Altergaze Amber Studio SRL AMC Ro Studio Amiqus Limited Another Coffee Games SL

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

A011 D010 E019 A043 C020 E039 C040 F049 C020 E039 D010 E019 E020 F029 C040 F049 C020 E039 C020 E039 F010 F010 C020 E039 E010 F019

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COMPANY Apprien Armaggeddon Arte Artefacts Studio Auroch Digital Ltd Back to the Game BadFly Interactive, a.s. BadLand Games Publishing, S.L Bastion Battlebrew Productions Beijing ELEX Technology Co., Ltd. Beijing Topjoy Technology Co., Ltd. BEIJING YUNCHANG TECHNOLOGY CO., LT Belong Gaming Arenas (part of Game Retail LTD) bHaptics Inc. Bifrost Entertainment Big Games Machine BigRadar Co., Ltd. Billy Goat Entertainment Ltd (Northern Ireland area) Black River Studios Blade Representaciones SL Boacompra Bohemia Interactive a.s. Bossa Studios Bountie Holdings Pte. Ltd. Brain and Nerd Ltd Go Testify Limited Brazil Games Abragames Brgames Business France ByteDance Capsule Studio Caret Games Catalyst Esports Solutions Pte. Ltd CCCP CGE Digital Changyou.com Limited Changzhou Baiyu Auto Parts Co., Ltd Cheetah Mobile Chengdu pushan technology co. LTD. Cherry Pop Games ChilliConnect City of Helsinki Clan of the Cloud Code Wizards Coffee Box Games (Northern Ireland area) Comboid Labs SL Comercial Bekho Team Game Developme y Compañía Limitada Comercial Leo de Sol SW Limitada Connection Events CONSIGCLEAR LLC Coutts Critical Charm Croatian Chamber of Economy Croteam (Abest d.o.o.) Cupboard Games Limited (Northern Ireland area) Curve Digital Ltd. Czech Game Developers Association Czechinvest Investment & Business Development A state contributory org. subordinate Datascope Recruitment Limited Dead Good PR deltaDNA Ltd Detis Dezign Format Pte Ltd Digital Tales Dirección General de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales Dorado Games Stillfront Dovetail Games

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E020 F029 B020 C025 B012 B023 C020 E039 F030 E059 E010 F019 C020 E039 B020 C025 A043 A043 A043 C020 E039 C040 F049 E020 F029 C020 E039 C040 F049 C020 E039 F059 E010 F019 F031 E059 C020 E039 B020 C025 C020 E039 F059 C040 F049 C015 A043 A028 C040 F049 B020 C025 A026 E059 A043 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 C020 E039 C020 E039 E020 F029 A020 C020 E039 C020 E039 E010 F019

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

C050 C050 A022 B020 C025 C020 E039 E020 F029 A011 A011 C020 E039 C020 E039 E059

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E059 C020 E039 C020 E039 C020 E039 D010 E019 B020 C025 D010 E019 C050 B030 C039 C020 E039 C040 F049

COMPANY Dragonfly Dwarfheim/Pineleaf Studio Dynamight Studios Srl East Games EC Innovations, Inc. Eden Esports Edge Esports Ltd Elektraglide Ltd (T/A Polystream) Eliphant Enterprise Lithuania Enterprise Singapore Esports Gaming League Excalibur Games Exient Exordium Games d.o.o. Flash Esports pte ltd Flux Game Studio Jogos Digitais Ltda Flyball Electronic (Shenzhen) Co., Focus Home Interactive Focus Multimedia Ltd (Fanatical) Forge Reply SRL Fourth Floor Creative Fundacion Exportar - Argentina Future Tech Co.,Ltd. FuturLab Game BCN Game in Lab GameOn Gamepires (Pandora Studio d.o.o.) Gameplan Consulting Gameprosg Pte Ltd GameRefinery Ltd. Gamers.com.mt Games from Québec Games Jobs Direct Games Revolted j.d.o.o. gamescom asia GameSessions GamingMalta Foundation Gazeus Games GENBA Digital GG Insurance Services GlobalStep LLC Gluk Media Go Testify Limited GoldKnights s.r.o. Gravity Co., Ltd. Green Man Gaming Ltd. G-Star 2019 / Korea Association of Game Industry GY Games Henchman & Goon Hi-Rez Studios LTD Hoplon Infotainment ICCgame.com ICE - Agenzia per la promozione all’estero e l’internazionalizzazio delle imprese italiane Ico Partners Ignition Publishing Impunity Esports Pte Ltd IndieConstruction Indonesia Agency for Creative Economy (BEKRAF) Influsion Inc. InnoTechMedia Co.,Ltd. Iron Ward j.d.o.o. I-STAR ELECTRONICS CO.,LTD. Italic Pig Limited IV Productions Jagex Jandisoft Just4Fun SG Pte Ltd

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E020 F029 D010 E019 B012 A040 C049 B030 C039 C020 E039 C020 E039 B020 C025 F040 B020 C025 C020 E039 C020 E039 B030 C039 A011 B020 C025 F059 A040 C049 A010 B011 C020 E039 D010 E019 C020 E039 E059 A040 C049 C020 E039 E010 F019 B012 F040 A011 F059 B020 C025 E020 F029 B030 C039 F030 C020 E039 A011 F016 C020 E039 B030 C039 B030 C039 F059 C020 E039 C020 E039 C020 E039 F040 C020 E039 E059 C040 F049 C020 E039 A031 A043 E020 F029 C020 E039 F059 A043

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

D010 E019 C020 E039 D010 E019 B020 C025 D010 E019 D052 C040 F049 C040 F049 A011 A040 C049 C020 E039 D010 E019 C020 E039 C040 F049 B020 C025

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COMPANY Kaiju Entertainment SL Kemono Games SpA Kibou Entertainment Kokku KOMODOZ (PT. Armin Indokarya Kreati Koolhaus Games Inc. Korea Pavilion (Korea Creative Content Agency) Koukoi Games Oy Lab Cave Apps SL Leia Inc. Little Green Men (Intercorona d.o.o.) LocalizeDirect Ltd LONGTUGame Lost Hoodie Lucid Dreams Studio Ludact Lumen Games Mactus Live Pte Ltd Mad Mimic Interactive Magnetic Arcade Malta Enterprise Corporation Mammossix Co.,Ltd. Manifesto Games Mantisbite Marvelous Europe Limited Megapop Games Merge Games MET Metis Systems S.r.l. Metric Empire MICROIDS Milestone Srl Million Victories Mindiff Technology SL MixedBag Srl MMO Rewards Limited ModSquad, Inc. MONOGRID MUSAI CO., LTD MyRepublic Native Prime nDreams Ltd. Network N Ltd Ngelgames Co., Ltd. NGMaking Niebla Games SpA Nieko Play Northern Ireland Screen Novaquark Novobox Npanigames Inc. NUSOFT Nutaku Publishing Ltd. Octeto Studios SPA Ogury Oktagon Games OLD SKULL GAMES OPEN LAB SRL OPM Response Ltd Orientivity Pte Ltd Outright Games Ltd Paper Cult Payletter Inc. Pebblekick Inc. Perfect World Games Pico Art International Pte Ltd Pixel Reef Pixel Toys Ltd Pixelneat PLAINE IMAGES

HALL / LEVEL / BOOTH 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E010 F019 C050 D010 E019 F059 D052 A036 B039 C040 F049 E020 F029 E010 F019 A036 B039 A011 C020 E039 A043 E020 F029 F030 F059 F059 B020 C025 F059 C020 E039 B030 C039 C040 F049 F059 E020 F029 C020 E039 E020 F029 C020 E039 B020 C025 D010 E019 F030 A018 B019 D010 E019 B023 E010 F019 D010 E019 B030 C039 C020 E039 D010 E019 C040 F049 B020 C025 C017 C020 E039 C020 E039 C040 F049 C040 F049 C050 F040 C020 E039 A024 A032 B033 C040 F049 C040 F049 A036 B039 C050 A030 B031 F059 B023 D010 E019 C020 E039 B020 C025 C020 E039 F030 C040 F049 C040 F049 A043 B020 C025 C013 C020 E039 F040 B012



Plastic SCM Codice Software SL Play Finland / Neogames Finland Association Playdigious PlayGiga S.L. PlayMagic Ltd Playstack Ltd Playtra Games Ltd Plexus & Oray Studios Plug In Digital Plutomobile Inc. PT Everidea Interaktif Nusantara PT Gajah Merah Terbang (IESPL) PT Langit Impian PT MassHive Media PT Megaxus Infotech PT Wawa Gemilang Interaktif PT. Agate International PT. Ozysoft Digital Internasional PUGA Studios Purewal and Partners R8 Games Ltd Ragnarok Studios Rain Cup Games SpA Rain Games Reality Games Reality MagiQ Inc. Realityz Reboot (Digitalna Avantura d.o.o.) Red Dot Gift Cards Red Koi Box srls Red Meat Games Inc. Reddentes Sports Renaissance PR Reseaux Gameaddik Inc - PWN Games Resistance Games Resurgence Rewind Play Games RGDA Romanian Game Developers Association Rock Nano Global Rocket Flair Studios Ltd Round Zero Rusto Games Oy Secretlab SG Pte Ltd Seoul Digitech HighSchool (AdverGameKorea) Shanghai Venture Technologies Ltd. Sheer Tianyi Technology LLC Shenzhen 7Road Technology Co.,Ltd. Shenzhen Blackstream Interactive Entertainment Co.Ltd Shenzhen Ouni Technology Co., Ltd Shenzhen Share-Zone Technology Co., Shenzhen Smartmelon Technology Co.,ltd Shenzhen Targetever Technology Co., Shenzhen Yunsu Information Technology Co.,Ltd Shenzhen Feiyu xingkong Technology Co,Ltd. Shiro Games Simple Video Games Singapore Games Guild SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS LIMITED Singapore Sports Hub Singapore Tourism Board SINGTEL INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS P Skillsearch Ltd Skonec Entertainment Co., Ltd. Skyhook Games Studio Ltd Slitherine Software UK Ltd SMACH INVERSION S.L SneakyBox Soap Interactive d.o.o. Sociable Soccer (Tower Studios Ltd) Sold Out

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E010 F019 E020 F029 B013 E010 F019 B030 C039 C020 E039 C020 E039 D052 B010 C011 C040 F049 D052 D052 D052 D052 D052 D052 D052 D052 F059 C020 E039 A036 B039 E020 F029 C050 E020 F029 C020 E039 C040 F049 B023 A011 A036 B039 D010 E019 A036 B039 B020 C025 C020 E039 F030 E020 F029 B020 C025 C020 E039 F010 B020 C025 C020 E039 E020 F029 E020 F029 B020 C025 C040 F049 A033 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 A040 C049 B018 C019 C020 E039 B020 C025 B020 C025 B020 C025 B020 C025 B020 C025 C020 E039 C040 F049 C020 E039 C020 E039 E010 F019 F040 A011 C020 E039 C020 E039

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SOLESEAT (Yangzhou) . Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd Spain Pavilion - Games from Spain (ICEX Spain Trade and Investment) Spearhead Games Stoic entertainment Strelka Games - Belka Srl Studio Evil S.R.L. Studio Gauntlet Suntec Singapore Convention &. Exhi SuperPlanet Sweet Bandits Studios Tag Games Limited Tag of Joy Take Off Takeoff Creative Agency TAUNT Team Jolly Roger Team17

3 2

A040 C049

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

E010 F019 F030 C040 F049 D010 E019 D010 E019 E020 F029 B020 C025 C040 F049 F030 C020 E039 F040 C020 E039 B025 C020 E039 E020 F029 C020 E039

TEAM17 HALL 3 LEVEL 2 BOOTH NO. C020 E039 Are you a passionate individual or team working on a great game? Team17 can help you elevate your title, with the publishing label present at gamescom this year on Ukie’s UK industry stand in Hall 3. With nearly 30 years of experience, Team17 has a long track record of excellence.

Testronic Laboratories Ltd THE GAME BAKERS Theogames Those Awesome Guys Tiny Bytes SpA Tiny Lab Productions Tractor Set Go Twisted Ark UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) Association Ltd. Universally Speaking Ltd. Untold Games srl UrbanWolfGames Vader Entertainment Korea Co., Ltd. Virtual Frontiers Visual Dart Co., Ltd. VisualLight Co.,Ltd VLG Warning Up Whitepot Studios Limited Whyttest SRL (Limited) Wicked Sick Wizard Games Global Limited World Pro Racing Yangzhou Arena Import & Export Co., Yeshcompany YouRun LTD Youtouch Soluciones Tecnológicas Lt yup.gg Zenway Productions

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

C020 E039 A014 F059 F010 C050 F040 F010 E020 F029 C020 E039 C020 E039 D010 E019 C040 F049 C040 F049 E020 F029 C040 F049 C040 F049 D010 E019 B021 C020 E039 F010 C020 E039 A040 C049 B030 C039 A040 C049 C040 F049 B030 C039 C050 B020 C025 B020 C025

HALL 4 11 bit studios 2tainment GmbH 4-Real Intermedia GmbH A Juggler’s Tale - GbR mit Bergmann Oberle, Probst & Schön Abrakam Ada Productions adjust GmbH Adshot Aerosoft GmbH AlanCode All in! Games Altagram GmbH

4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1

D071 B041 C044 A011 D020 B040 A051 B060 B051 C060 C021 D030 A051 B060 A011 D020 B061 C070 D071 C021 D030



Anshar Studios APITs Lab App Annie Europe Limited Appeal Studios AppTweak Artifex Mundi Assemble Entertainment GmbH Asteroid Lab Belgian Games – Flanders DC BitPioneers GmbH Black Forest Games GmbH Black Spoon Games BlackShore Blindflug Studios AG BoomByte Games GmbH CARBON STUDIO SP. Z O.O. CD Projekt Red ClockStone Studio ComboStrike GmbH Cortopia Studios Cosmoscope Creative Europe Desk NRW c/o Filmund Medienstiftung NRW Creative Mobile OÜ Cronos Interactive CRYTEK GmbH Cyborn DACS Laboratories GmbH DAE Studios Daedalic Entertainment GmbH Dao Holding GmbH DaoPay GmbH DaRa Innovations GmbH DBloke DCMN GmbH Degoma Games Deloryan Demute Digital Kingdom Sàrl DIMOCO Europe GmbH Onebip S.r.l. DNA Studios Donkey Crew Dutch Games Association Dutch Games Association Dutch Games Association Dutch Games Association Dutch Games Association European Games Group AG EuroVideo Medien GmbH EverdreamSoft Experimental Game GmbH Fast Travel Games Film- und Medienstiftung NRW GmbH Fire Falcom Fishing Cactus game - Verband der deutschen Games-Branche e.V. Game City Vienna (Mice & Men) Game Industry Conference Game Seer VP gamecity: Hamburg / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft mbH Gameeleon Gameforge AG Gameloft GmbH Games & XR Mitteldeutschland e.V. Games Capital Berlin-Brandenburg c/ Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie games.nrw e.V. Games/Bavaria – WERK1. Bayern GmbH Gameseat GamesMarkt GmbH

4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1

D071 B034 C021 D030 A051 B060 A051 B060 A071 A011 D020 B061 C070 A051 B060 B034 B040 B061 C070 A065 B070 B061 C070 C021 D030 D051 C041 D050 B051 C060 A011 D020 D055 B061 C070

4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1

B031 C040 C021 D030 A051 B060 A011 D020 A051 B060 A011 D020 A051 B060 A011 D020 B051 C060 B051 C060 A031 A051 B060 C021 D030 A065 B070 A065 B070 A051 B060 B061 C070 B051 C060 B061 C070 A071 A065 B070 A061 A066 A060 B064 A011 D020 A011 D020 B061 C070 B041 C044 D051 B031 C040 A051 B060 A051 B060 A011 D020 B051 C060 A071 A021 B030 C031 D040 A051 B060 A011 D020 A011 D020 B041 C044

4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1 4 1

C021 D030 B031 C040 A021 B030 B064 A035

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GameUp! Software-/Gamesforum RheinlandPfalz c/o IMG Innovations-Management GmbH GAMEVIL COM2US Europe GmbH Gamigo Advertising GmbH Gaming-Aid e.V. Gamious B.V. Garlic Games UG Gemotions GGE BV GOG Sp. z.o.o. Guillaume Bouckaert Hannoverimpuls GmbH Happy Volcano Hastily Assembled Games Headup Games GmbH & Co. KG Hellion Cat Hochschule Kaiserslautern Hochschule Mainz Humble Bundle Deutschland GmbH IBG Beteiligungsgesellschaft Sachen-Anhalt mgH Iceberg Interactive BV Improvive Imverse Indie Games Poland InnoGames GmbH it media Medienproduktionsgesellschaft mbH Klabater S.A. kr3m. media GmbH Kynoa Lightword Productions GmbH like Charlie Little Chicken Game Company B.V. LMK Landeszetrale für Medien und Kommunikation Rheinland-Pfalz Local Heroes Worldwide B.V. LuGus Studios LuLuLu Entertainment Magix Software GmbH Maratus Mass Creation Matchmade Mattel Inc. media:net berlinbrandenburg e.V. Mediengründerzentrum NRW MGZ GmbH Mediennetzwerk.NRW c/o Mediencluster NRW GmbH MeetToMatch MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft BadenWürttemberg mbH Momo- Pi Mooneye Studios MOTHERSHIP Marketing GmbH Musicrocker Soundfurniture GmbH Neat Corporation Neopica nordmedia Film- und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen mbH Okomotive GmbH Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg / acagamics e.V. own3d media GmbH OZWE Games Photon Engine GmbH Playata GmbH Poland Polnisches Institut Düsseldorf Prefrontal Cortex PreviewLabs bvba Qualitas Global Rarebyte OG Rebelle Productions remote control productions GmbH

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

A031 C021 D030 A011 D020 A011 D020 A065 B070 B034 A051 B060 A065 B070 C041 D050 A051 B060 B034 A051 B060 B034 A011 D020 A051 B060 A031 A031 C021 D030 B041 C044 A061 A065 B070 B061 C070 A071 C031 D040 B040 B043 C048 B040 B061 C070 B040 A051 B060 A065 B070

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

A031 A065 B070 A051 B060 B061 C070 C021 D030 A051 B060 A071 C021 D030 C021 D030 C021 D030 B031 C040 B031 C040 A065 B070

4 4 4 4 4 4 4

1 1 1 1 1 1 1

B040 B061 C070 C031 D040 C021 D030 B051 C060 D051 A051 B060

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

B034 B061 C070 B041 C044 B051 C060 B061 C070 A011 D020 A011 D020 A071 D071 A071 B041 C044 A051 B060 A065 B070 B051 C060 A051 B060 A011 D020



Resistance Studio Resolution Games Riot Games Services GmbH Roboto Rockfish Games GmbH S.A.D. GmbH Sachsen-Anhalt Salt Castle Studio GmbH Serious Games Solutions Softdistribution GmbH Somniacs AG Space Walk Stardust Sunnyside Games SARL Survios, Inc. SwissGames/ Pro Helvetia Tactical Adventures Take-Two Interactive GmbH Taylor Wessing Partnerschaftsgesellschaft mbB Team Marty Ten Eyes media The Farm 51 Group SA Tivola Publishing GmbH Toplitz Productions GmbH Totem Warriors Travian Games GmbH Treasure Hunters Triangle Factory Tripwire Interactive United Games GmbH Van Iersel Luchtman Verein FH Technikum WIEN Vertigo Games B.V. Visionme GmbH Vollkorn Games vrbn AG Walkabout Games Whow Games GmbH Wirtschaftskammer Österreich WUNDERPARC YAGER Development GmbH ZDF Digital Medienproduktion GmbH ZENIT GmbH / NRW.Europa

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A065 B070 D055 A011 D020 D071 A011 D020 A021 B030 B041 C044 B051 C060 C021 D030 B040 B061 C070 C031 D040 B061 C070 B061 C070 D055 B061 C070 A065 B070 C051 D070 C031 D040 C031 D040 B040 D071 A011 D020 B051 C060 B051 C060 A021 B030 B061 C070 A051 B060 A066 B041 C044 A065 B070 B051 C060 A060 B034 B034 B061 C070 A071 C031 D040 B051 C060 C031 D040 A011 D020 A031 B031 C040

astragon Entertainment GmbH BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Germany GmbH Bungie Creative Distribution Ltd. Reef Entertainment Ltd. Deep Silver a division of Koch Media GmbH Deep Silver a division of Koch Media GmbH Facebook Ireland Limited Flashpoint Germany GmbH Forever Entertainment S.A. Game Outlet Europe AB (GOE Distribution) Games Industry Network GAIN UG Gaya Entertainment GmbH Google (Stadia and YouTube Gaming) Google UK Ltd. London Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. Microsoft / Xbox MY.GAMES Nintendo of Europe GmbH Square Enix GmbH TaleWorlds Entertainment THQ Nordic GmbH Ubisoft GmbH Virtuos Holdings Pte. Ltd.

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B011 C018 A021 B030 A024 A040 B041 D046 D045 A031 B040 A041 B044 B046 D041 D052 D049 A020 A046 A011 B018 D021 B031 D040 B021 D030 D051 A043 B045 D050 A051 C058 A052

Outdoor Area Sony Interactive Entertainment Deutschland GmbH




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MCV-DAY1-TEAM 17:MCV-DAY1-TEAM 17 12/08/2019 15:48 Page 1

When We Made... Two Point Hospital

Marie Dealessandri takes a look behind the scenes at the development of Two Point Hospital, from its roots in Theme Hospital to how Lionhead’s difficulties sped up its creation to how you should never underestimate UI

Pictured above, from top: Two Point Studios’ Gary Carr, Ben Hymers and Mark Webley

TALKING to Two Point Studios’ three co-founders, it feels like there are two ghosts watching us during the entire conversation. Not scary ghosts, no. Two benevolent ghosts with a reassuring, proud smile on their faces. Their names are Lionhead and Bullfrog. Because the story of how Two Point Hospital was made is also a story about how Theme Hospital was made by Bullfrog Productions 22 years ago and a story that’s deeply intertwined with Lionhead’s closure in 2016. Peter Molyneux founded Bullfrog in 1987 – he was joined by Gary Carr in 1989 and by Mark Webley in 1992. Both Carr and Webley worked on Theme Hospital as project leaders, with the game meeting huge success. In 1997, Webley left Bullfrog and co-founded Lionhead with Molyneux. Carr ended up joining them in 2003. Fast forward to December 2014 and Ben Hymers enters the game – having worked at Rare and Creative Assembly, he joined Lionhead as creative engineer. That final move set events in motion for the three of them – Gary Carr, Ben Hymers, Mark Webley – to create Two Point Studios. “The idea [for Two Point Hospital] probably stems back from many years ago when Gary and I worked together at Bullfrog – we worked on a few games together but we really enjoyed Theme Hospital,”

Mark Webley starts explaining. “We had a bunch of ideas like ‘Oh, it’d be cool after Theme Hospital to do Theme Prison or Theme Resort’ but it just never happened. I left and Gary left – Gary did Mucky Foot and I came up with Lionhead. We kept crossing socially and then we were together at Lionhead and we just kept saying; ‘Oh, we should do that one day’.” Ben Hymers continues: “I don’t have nearly as much experience as these guys, I was never part of all of that early Bullfrog stuff but it’s because I was only 12 years old,” he laughs. “But I loved the sound of it and I joined a small team at Lionhead that Gary was leading – an incubation team doing prototype work. So we worked together doing some sim-like games and I was struck with awe working with Gary, as he’d done the art on Theme Hospital. From there we sort of hit it off I guess. Gary thought it’d be nice to start something again.” By that point, Lionhead had been acquired by Microsoft. Gary Carr takes over: “We tried to hit it off with Microsoft but Fable Legends was just so all consuming and it was really difficult to convince Microsoft at the time to make them think about other things Lionhead used to be good at doing. “My incubation team just wasn’t looking likely to get a project into production. [Fable Legends] was taking up a lot of the resources and it was looking less and less likely to happen. So I was out of the door pretty much

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“To be honest we didn’t think Sega would be interested,” Webley says, before Hymers adds: “We ended up getting in touch [with Sega] because when I left Lionhead I went to work at Playsport on Motorsport Manager – Playsport being signed by Sega. And it’s Christian [West, founder] there who suggested it would be a good idea for us to talk to Sega. He put us in contact and as it happens they were already having discussions about the kind of games they wanted to publish.” Webley continues: “We went in, we did our presentation and Dean Trotman [then commercial director at Sega] said: ‘You won’t believe this, a week ago we had a meeting where we said: wouldn’t it be great to have a game like Theme Park in our books?’,” he laughs before adding that they “got lucky” really. Carr adds: “There’s always luck, we’ve all made games in the past which have been just as much effort and love and passion and haven’t done as well. This is the reality of development. There is an element of luck.” And that’s how Two Point Studios was born.

THE SILLY LITTLE THINGS and then Ben…” He turns to Hymers before continuing: “You weren’t happy, you went to do incubation and you thought you were going to be out of the door.” Hymers smiles and nods. Carr and Hymers started prototyping ideas – that’s when Carr decided to talk to Webley about it all, who continues the story: “Gary and Ben’s idea was: it’s 20-odds years since Theme Hospital, there are still people who love that game and it would be cool to bring it up to date as a kick-off for a studio. “There was always a clear vision of these little sim games that we wanted to make, harking back to the culture of Bullfrog which was a lot of small teams, a lot of easy communication. We didn’t have a designer back then, because we designed the game, and we didn’t have producers because they hadn’t been invented yet,” Webley laughs. Carr continues: “So that’s when we got together. But then the next challenge was: how do two 50-years-old guys and a 30-year-old guy start a company?”

THERE’S ALWAYS LUCK It’s now March 2016 – the games industry is in shock as Microsoft announces it has “decided to

cease development on Fable Legends, and [is] in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK.” Carr, Hymers and Webley meanwhile were lucky enough to have left the studio before its sad fate started to unravel and were already going full steam ahead with their project of launching a new studio. “At this point, a lot of people were doing crowdfunding, Kickstarters and that was a new world, at least certainly to me and Mark,” Carr says. Hymers adds: “That’s the kind of thing I was suggesting early on because at the time there were quite a lot of big successful Kickstarters, usually for retro games and reboots or remakes. It seems like a very popular thing to do.” The three associates started discussing it with other industry figures – Gavin Price at Playtonic, who had just successfully crowdfunded Yooka-Laylee, and Team17 boss Debbie Bestwick for instance. They suggested that the golden age of crowdfunding was maybe already over. Enter Sega, just as Carr, Hymers and Webley were now looking for a publisher for their Theme Hospital spiritual successor.

For what was going to be Two Point Hospital – which ultimately launched on PC in August 2018 – a lot of the development process was fed by very informed decisions. Two of the three founders had two decades of experience after all and a lot of Theme Hospital translates over to Two Point Hospital. And, by the way, if you’re wondering why it’s not called Theme Hospital 2, it’s because EA owns that license. “It was very Bullfrog, the idea of having humour in the game, breadth and depth. And certainly a lot of the latter Bullfrog games were very accessible,” Webley says. “I think taking a subject matter like running a hospital, which is a stupid idea, and turning it into something which was good fun to play, which had a longevity to it – we learnt a lot from that,” he smiles. Ben Hymers could bring another very valuable opinion to the table: his experience of Theme Hospital as a player. “For me as a player, the things that shine through and that stick in my memory are just the little details that make [Theme Hospital] this fun, polished game,” Hymers says. “Because I wasn’t quite old enough to appreciate the depth of the simulation, it’s all about the silly little things like people knocking on the doors

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before they go through them and, at the time I didn’t appreciate how complicated it was, but the stuff that Gary and Mark have done with making sure props line up with hands and people actually sit in chairs and things like that. It sounds stupid but it’s all these little things that really makes it feel like a living little world.” And there’s a good reason why Bullfrog was so details-oriented back then, Carr explains: “We had absolutely nothing to show off about,” he laughs as Webley mentions that they “were doing pixel art when everyone was moving over to 3D.” Carr adds: “We had Edge Magazine coming round and literally ignoring us because we were horribly old fashioned and doing things that were very last generation. So we were trying to show off in any way we possibly could with our limited skills and that was trying to make everything super detailed so the small personalities, opening doors, closing doors, scratching heads, sitting down, little bits of interaction. We were trying to punch above our weight in character. Because the subject matter was hospital and illness we needed to make it feel more palatable so we did that with charm and comedy and that’s how we sold what was, at that time, a rather unusual subject matter.” And the team made sure Two Point Hospital was developed with the same attention to detail, Hymers continues: “We kept that streak of making things charming but of course using the technology of today to do more interesting things. Back then characters wouldn’t really interact with each other. They would walk straight through each other. But now we have characters that look at each other, do silly things like dance competitions in the hallways. So hopefully we kept that charm but made it more modern.” Mark Webley and Two Point Studios’ designer Ben Huskins (who worked at Lionhead from the first to the last day of the studio) also came up with the trait system to push that attention to detail further, trying to make the experience unique with every gameplay session.

“If certain personalities meet other personalities they may react completely uniquely,” Carr explains. “So somebody who’s flirtatious may have a completely different reaction to someone who is shy or grumpy. So you can play [Two Point Hospital] for hours and hours and suddenly see a completely unique scene because you’ve never had that situation. The idea has been implemented by the code team into something that makes it feel alive and unique so I’m really proud of that. “Also, on the art side, we wanted something that wouldn’t date very quickly – if Two Point Hospital is around for even half the time Theme Hospital did, it will have done amazingly well. We wanted to make a style of rendering which didn’t feel like it was technology-driven, but more hand-crafted. It’s a very claymation-looking art style so it feels handmade which is what the first game felt like.” What was crucial to the entire team was that Two Point Hospital felt innovative and not dated. “The game feels, to me, quite fresh and of course it has a nostalgic element to it, we’d be lying if we didn’t recognise that, but it does still feel fresh, it feels like it’s a nice face to go back to,” Carr says. Two Point Studios (now owned by Sega) comprises over 15 people – about half of them are industry veterans while the other half is new blood. Webley explains that this new blood was instrumental in making Two Point Hospital feel original. “The approach was always going to be more modern, the art style was always going to be up to date, it was always going to be 3D. We’re not just developers, we’re players of games as well,” he adds. “Things like Prison Architect, which is artistically nothing like our game but their approach to market was: get something out there in Early Access and then keep developing. And that’s what we thought we could maybe do. Let’s get something out! Then other games like Cities: Skylines – brilliant game! And you kind of think: ‘There’s some good ideas in there, let’s steal them!’,” he laughs.” So I think we’re just influenced by the games we play as well.” The three co-founders mention two other examples of how they embraced a more modern approach with Two Point Hospital: the idea of “continued

“We had Edge Magazine coming round and literally ignoring us because we were horribly old fashioned and doing things that were very last generation.”

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development,” with numerous updates provided to the title since launch, as well as Steam Workshop support, with Carr saying: “It’s not only adding Steam workshop. We’ve done it in a way that feels like the game UI. We’ve tried to make it feel seamless, so that people who wouldn’t normally use something like Workshop would be encouraged to use it.”

LAYERS ON LAYERS That leads us to talk about the UI in more details as this is obviously a crucial element of any sim game. Webley immediately says in a laugh they probably “underestimated just how much work the UI was going to be,” focusing first on getting a playable version of the game out of the door as soon as possible. He explains: “On Theme Hospital we had a row of icons at the bottom. And this was all done by hand. So first implementation had maybe six icons across the board. And then you kind of realise you need another one. And then you put another icon and then you’re like: ‘Oh, hang on, we need another one!’. We didn’t really know what we wanted.” On Two Point Hospital as well, the team wasn’t sure that they wanted. But Carr knew what he didn’t want: “A lot of PC games, especially in strategy and simulation, have these very small icons which look incredibly complex. The original Theme Hospital was kind of very easily readable, chunky and accessible UI that didn’t intimidate people. It was kind of the same thing we were trying to do with the gameplay – make people think it’s easy to use and then further down the bottom it gets more and more complex and if people don’t want to do that they can still play the game. If they want to get into all the management and simulation details, they can, they can dig down into the UI. So we had this idea to try and reproduce that. We had loads

of people involved – it was possibly the most work the whole team got involved with.” Webley concludes saying he’s happy how the UI turned out: “The vision certainly was to make [Two Point Hospital] accessible and easy to play. And we always had this idea of: make it accessible but deep. Get to it nice and easy and then put layers of polish on it.” And the studio is certainly not going to stop there, with console versions currently in the works, as the game has had great success since launch. “The big picture for the studio is Two Point County. So we’re building this bigger idea of different subject sims that coexist within a world. But right now we’re enjoying just working on this game because it still feels like we’ve only started it five minutes ago,” Carr laughs. Finally, there’s another reason to keep working on Two Point Hospital – and that one is much more personal. “We were happiest making [Theme Hospital] – even Ben would talk so fondly about playing the game at the other end of the experience,” Carr says. “We just liked to recreate that fun because as gaming studios get bigger, you get promoted into very boring jobs. “Mark and I became director-type people. Mark was the founder of Lionhead but I was on the leadership team so we were just spending all our time making performance reviews and making sure we’re not spending too much money – all these kinds of crappy jobs that you do when you get promoted out of the fun stuff. So it was important to try and reinvent a bit of the highlight of our careers and I think we’ve done a reasonably good job at recreating our heyday. “And I’ve had an absolute blast – over two years and I still come into work with a smile on my face, feeling really happy and hopefully it’s the same for everyone and they have fun making this game. And that’s how it should be – what’s the point of making games if it’s not fun?”

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Industry Voices

Protecting players in video games Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA

MCV gives the industry a platform for its own views in its own words. Do you have a burning hot take for the world of games? Get in touch!

WE must ensure that players, vulnerable people and children are not exposed to harm, online or offline. We all have a role to play – whether we are parents, teachers, businesses or organisations. This undoubtedly includes the video games industry. There are lots of ways that we can tackle safeguarding issues as an industry and we should take responsibility to look at solutions irrespective of what others are doing. Issues around safeguarding players – particularly children – in video games and the online world have become a regular fixture in the news over recent years. This is understandable given 77 per cent of 12-15 year olds play games, while 91 per cent go online for nearly 21 hours a week on average. It is the industry’s success and popularity that makes its collective decisions so important. Games businesses will want to protect their players for both commercial and moral reasons. TIGA research shows that studios including Jagex and Lockwood Publishing are taking concrete steps to safeguard players. TIGA published a report, Safeguarding Players: Responsibility and Best Practice, late last year to promote and to share best practice amongst games businesses. Our report points developers towards TIGA’s six point checklist: pre-empt the way content can be abused, make the standard of acceptable behaviour explicit, make reporting technologies and systems of protection clear, provide the player community with the tools they need, understand the parasitic website challenge, and consider the distinct impact of VR. To take one example, we encourage developers to ensure that community management protocols are robust enough

to deal with all forms of problem behaviour. This includes looking at how our content may be abused, creating easy methods of user reporting and setting clear to follow community standards. We have made great strides from the early days of online gaming. There is also an opportunity in using new technology for safeguarding. Artificial intelligence offers a unique way to police online communities. No studio can be expected to have vast numbers of staff to monitor online worlds. Instead, AI technology offers opportunities to improve online safeguarding and as an industry we should discuss the options this technology presents. Spirit AI has an interesting offering in this regard. The checklist also reminds us that the new and unique issues of virtual reality gaming is an area that we need to pay special attention to. Social VR and other connected experiences are increasingly presented as the future of the medium, meaning game studios need to apply the same, rigorous community management processes applied to any contemporary online world. Developers should also look past traditional safeguarding methods. Patrick O’Luanaigh of nDreams, for instance, has suggested that VR games could include a ‘safe button’ and personal space bubbles around players using social VR. The UK games industry already has some excellent examples of best practice. By continuing to lead the way, we have the opportunity to make the online world as safe as possible.

Richard Wilson is CEO of TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry.

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Why 5G plus cloud gaming is the next big opportunity Javier Polo, PlayGiga

Much like music and movies in the past, gaming is now moving swiftly to the cloud as 5G promises to create new game experiences and enables the old dream of gaming anytime, anywhere, on any screen. But even more so than with 4G, when it comes to getting consumers to adopt new network technology, telcos need a credible and appealing use case to underpin their sales pitch. For 4G, that was streaming video and faster browsing. For 5G, gaming via the cloud is being talked up as one of the ‘killer apps’. Thanks to 5G, ISPs, developers, publishers and even e-stores will be able to offer to their customers a gaming subscription service with the same quality as a high-end console, but accessible from any TV or PC, and even mobile devices. That’s because as well as much higher bandwidth and download speeds, 5G will also have much lower latency than 4G – meaning that streaming games become a possibility. Cloud gaming providers, such as PlayGiga, have been collaborating with leading telcos and tech giants like Intel to research 5G performance for streaming virtual reality games. Such developments could assist games publishers, who face two key strategic issues: how to keep expanding their addressable market and how to keep customers engaged and loyal. According to data collected by Steam, 53 per cent of users don’t have PCs with the local processing power to run many of the latest games. Cloud gaming removes this barrier, thus vastly increasing the potential audience. In the existing industry model, game distribution is a bottleneck that is largely controlled by the platform holders. The ability to stream games to any reasonably capable computer can get rid of the bottleneck and so address a much broader audience. EA was one of the first major publishers to talk about cloud

gaming and invest in their vision. They decided to acquire Los Angeles-based Gamefly in 2018 to give them a head start. Since then Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have announced their own plans. All these moves have put pressure on the rest of the industry. Companies without the ability to buy an existing player or build out their own technology are badly in need of a way to get some kind of foothold as streaming services gain traction. If these publishers don’t keep up the risk is that more powerful tech giants will disintermediate them. Cloud gaming also represents the first big opportunity in some time for a brand new service that telcos can offer to their subscribers, adding gaming as part of a bundle deal – much the same as how you might be offered a TV package alongside your home broadband. Most of the existing solutions may find a niche audience, but they are unlikely to appeal to the mainstream simply because they are targeted at more hardcore gamers. They are not something that families will subscribe to, or which will appeal to the kind of person who only wants to play the occasional blockbuster. That’s why telcos have such a great opportunity to work with publishers to really get cloud gaming into the mainstream. The telcos have the infrastructure and the experience in selling subscription services at a huge scale, but they need great content. Meanwhile, publishers which have invested tens of millions in developing great games have now the opportunity for a whole new way to get their content out there to a huge new audience – and new revenues as a result. Javier Polo is CEO of PlayGiga, which has developed a proprietary technology so telcos, publishers, media companies and retailers can offer customers a cloud gaming solution.

“According to Steam, 53 per cent of users don’t have PCs with the local processing power to run many of the latest games.”

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The Final Boss Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV with their unique insight

You’ve been at Sports Interactive almost 25 years – how much has changed? What’s stayed the same? As a studio, we are constantly changing and evolving. The growth has been very organic over the years. There were just a handful of us when I first got involved about 25 years ago – first as a part-time beta tester, then as a researcher, then business manager, then MD, through to my current role. And we’re now a studio of more than 100… And planning a major recruitment drive over the next 12 months. Your passion for football is obvious, can the industries learn from each other? We do learn from each other all the time. Football video games have been largely responsible for a big push on the statistics side of football, which the sport has largely embraced, and has become part of the day-to-day business of football now. Our relationships with real life clubs show that – not just on the obvious partnership and sponsorship side, but also behind the scenes with us working with lots of clubs on data projects and providing data to them. With the greatest respect to your current role, what is/was your dream job? When I was a kid, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. I was never going to make it as a footballer and I wasn’t going to be a rock star as, despite being a performer as a child, my voice wasn’t the same once my balls dropped. I fell in love with the music industry when working in a record shop, and was very lucky to have a successful career in it. That transitioned over time into games. I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve had dream jobs and still love the vast majority of minutes of what I do now, straddling video games and football. There aren’t many (non-mobile) developers in London proper. Why are you based in the Olympic Park? We’ve always been based in London, ever since Oliver and Paul Collyer (the founders of SI) moved here from Shropshire. When we were getting ready to leave our previous Old Street base, we did look at options outside of London, but when we went to see Here East we fell in love with the space and the possibilities for the future there. It’s been a great move – it’s a really creative cluster of businesses. The only thing it’s missing is a Pokémon Go Gym.

Miles Jacobson Studio director, Sports Interactive “I was never going to make it as a footballer and I wasn’t going to be a rock star as, despite being a performer as a child, my voice wasn’t the same once my balls dropped.”

What’s was the greatest single moment of your career to date? I think the move from Championship Manager to Football Manager – and subsequently selling more copies of the second Football Manager release than any previous CM – was a really important part of our story. We were told we were crazy by the vast majority of the industry – and we probably were – but it worked out really well and gave us so much more freedom that we didn’t have previously. As part of that, signing with Sega, despite them being the least obvious partner at the time, was really transformative as they were so hungry to get back to success after the problems they’d had with Dreamcast. We’re very proud to have been a small part in their resurgence. The way they treat us and their other studios is something everyone in the industry can learn from. What continues to impress you about the industry? I continue to be impressed with the industry’s ability to reinvent itself and hit every challenge, technical or business, head on. We need to be mindful, though, to not make the same mistakes as some industries who haven’t embraced new technology or business models in the way we have. We also need to make sure that we set the agenda when it comes to these things, as other industries have failed to do this and it’s hit them hard, both financially and creatively.

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Profile for Biz Media Ltd

MCV@gamescom Day Three | August 22nd 2019  

MCV@gamescom Day Three | August 22nd 2019