Alongside the new studio's formation, the eSports arm of Hi-Rez, Skillshot Media, is also based in Brighton. They are partnering with Develop:Brighton, a business conference held in that city, an eSports Insider (ESI) to host what they are calling and eSports track. The event is intended to encourage further development, like the building of Red Beard Games, in the United Kingdom. Hi-Rez specializes in multiplayer games with eSports aspirations, so an eSports add-on to a convention being hosted in the town their latest studio will be built is a natural extension of the brands activities.
Veronique Lallier, General manager of Hi-Rez Studios' European Publishing Division, spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about the new studio and the upcoming conference. Lallier had kind words for Brighton saying, "It's a cosmopolitan town that inspires creativity and encourages new ways of thinking, two values that we at Hi-Rez hold dear."
The upcoming event may also be an attempt by the Brighton government to quell fears surrounding the future of game development in the UK post Brexit, a topic Lallier also spoke to:
"As an international company we, like many others in the industry, are concerned about the impact of Brexit, but will continue to closely monitor the situation, work with industry bodies to mitigate any possible negative effects, and are committed to ensuring the most positive outcome within whatever constraints we may face."
Hi-Rez is an Atlanta based company, but with successes like Smite and Paladins in their roster, the company has found space to expand. Earlier this year in May, Hi-Rez formed Skillshot Media to host eSports events. In August, the developer announced plans to diversify their development teams to focus specifically on the studio's three main titles. Red Beard will be the first completely new studio to open under Hi-Rez. Lallier had this to say about the new studio:
"We are a developer led publisher, we acknowledge that great games businesses are built on great games. That means ensuring that creative talent is given the space and resources it needs. Our intent with Red Beard Games is to ensure it can function independently, creatively, and with all the agility of a small studio, but with the backing and experience of a much bigger business."
The MOBA, and its cousin the Hero Shooter, have been surpassed in favor of Battle Royales as the pinnacle of spectator gaming. This makes Hi-Rez a studio with only one game with even possible growth potential, Realm Royale. While the company's earlier games Smite and Paladins are by no means dead, they do face attrition as more and more players turn their attentions to games like Fortnite and even more recently to the numerous Auto Chess variants. Expansion and diversification, while risky, may be the studio's best chance at success.
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