Zynga opens studio in Austin to assist with its Star

Zynga mentioned it has opened a brand new sport studio in Austin to concentrate on creating its Star Wars cell sport.

The Austin outpost will accomplice with NaturalMotion in the UK, which has been working for the previous couple of years to develop Zynga’s cell sport set within the Star Wars universe.

Led by sport trade veterans Jeff Hickman and Matthew Hemby, the brand new studio is trying to rent 25 new staff throughout each function, with a concentrate on recruiting studio-level management.

“These are cell video games which might be very console-like and PC-like — within the graphics, within the sport play, in the kind of viewers that loves them,” mentioned Hickman in an interview with GamesBeat. “[Zynga CEO] Frank Gibeau and I talked and requested ourselves why we weren’t tapping into the superior expertise in Austin, together with those that used to work for us at EA. We now have all of those connections to super-talented individuals.”

Hickman, a longtime Austin resident, mentioned he believes town has among the many finest expertise in creating triple-A console video games. That type of expertise is now related for cell video games, as smartphones change into extra succesful as computing machines.

The Star Wars sport is a departure from the extra informal fare that Zynga created in its early days, similar to FarmVille and Phrases With Pals. However with the $527 million acquisition of NaturalMotion, the corporate picked up the CSR racing sport, and it has added extra variety and high quality to its lineup with the acquisitions of Small Big Video games, Gram Video games, Peak Video games, and Rollic Video games.

Among the many checklist of recent rent targets shall be positions similar to lead engineer, design director, and lead stage designer. The brand new studio will collaborate carefully with BossAlien, a division of NaturalMotion primarily based out of Brighton, England which has been main improvement on the upcoming Star Wars sport.

For a full checklist of present job openings within the studio, comply with this hyperlink.

Hickman’s historical past

Zynga's biggest games are its

Above: Zynga’s greatest video games are its “perpetually franchises.”

Picture Credit score: Zynga

Hickman beforehand labored at Digital Arts’ EA Mythic division as an government producer and in addition on the firm’s BioWare division in Austin. He left in 2017 to hitch NaturalMotion, the place he was working the studio and dealing on titles similar to CSR and Daybreak of Titans.

The main target was on midcore video games, or these which might be hardcore in nature however could possibly be performed in brief play classes.

Whereas Austin is the middle of the brand new studio, Hickman mentioned it’s open to recruiting anybody all over the world, given the pandemic. And in the interim, the workers will work remotely.

“One of many issues that the pandemic has proven us is that working nearly sooner or later means being versatile about how we work,” Hickman mentioned.

Zynga has had an workplace in Austin for years, with a complete of 180 staff. The staff labored throughout three totally different studios, however didn’t have a proper barrier between totally different tasks as different studios may. The brand new Austin studio is working solely on the brand new Star Wars title.

“We’re principally spinning up a studio inside that workplace, if you’ll, now that every part’s digital,” Hickman mentioned. “We are going to concentrate on and accomplice with our BossAlien staff in Brighton engaged on Star Wars video games.”

Zynga isn’t saying what the sport is about but, or the style. It signed the deal to license the property with Disney about two years in the past.

“The staff is killing it, and the sport is wanting nice,” Hickman mentioned. “One of many causes I came to visit to NaturalMotion and to Zynga was due to the type of video games that we have been engaged on. Cellular is a platform similar to console is a platform for video games. Whenever you choose up considered one of these video games, you need to see graphics and gameplay that makes you go, ‘Wow.’”

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