Star Citizen and Squadron 42 developer Cloud Imperium Games are planning to open a large new studio in Manchester, making it one of the UK’s largest development houses.
The new office is due to open in May 2022 and re-house the company’s current team of 400 people based nearby in Wilmslow before it is rapidly and dramatically expanded.
A five-year plan will see 700 people fill the building by 2023, before further growth to an eye-opening team size of 1,000 by 2026.
All of this, of course, is driven by the very lucrative ongoing development of Star Citizen, which has attracted various controversies over the years – as well as over $ 350 million in player funding. The studio also still has vague plans for a “Hollywood-caliber” single-player campaign Squadron 42.
CIG currently employs 700 people worldwide with additional offices in Los Angeles, Austin, Frankfurt and Montreal. Today’s announcement means that the total company will almost double in size over the next five years and the majority of staff will be based in the UK.
“The company is committed to game development in the UK and is investing in growing its Manchester studio to serve as a key team for its major game plans,” CIG said today. “The new Manchester studio will begin its local recruitment efforts in early 2022, with positions available to programmers, artists, animators, sound specialists, writers, designers and producers as well as in administrative roles and in entry-level positions for newcomers, looking to get started in the video game industry. “
Even Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham sounds happy.
“Greater Manchester is an ambitious technology hub and has become a magnet for digital talent with a community of industry pioneers, specialized academics and creative minds,” Burnham said. “We look forward to welcoming the Cloud Empire Games to the urban region in 2022 – in a move that will bring 1,000 jobs over the next five years, along with the opportunity for the region to play a new role in the gaming of the future.”
“Manchester is where I started my video game career when I was hired to write the Game of the Month for the BBC Micro User, back in 1983 at the mature age of 14,” added CIG chief Chris Roberts. “It makes me very happy to announce that we have signed a long-term agreement for our largest office to date, in downtown Manchester.”