BT:Do you think the tendency for a game to require more developers and work nowadays is a good or bad thing, in general? Sure, you’re able to bring more talent and ideas to a project, but you also risk diluting the vision and overcomplicating matters…
JK: There’s no simple answer to that. A big team can bring something special to a title, just as a small team can also bring something unique. What each sized group of people produces will probably be different but it’ll ideally be good in its own way.
BT:What do you think the main challenges facing UK developers are, both for existing companies and upstarts? What can be done?
JK: Investment, skills, and tax competition are all barriers for new start-ups in the UK. There are some barriers when it comes to getting digital distribution relationships too, but it’s nothing that can't be overcome with application and hard work.
BT:What’s your opinion on the proposal that the government should help foster the games industry in the UK through tax breaks?
Rebellion's Sniper Elite is still one of the best sniping games available
JK: I've been heavily involved in that lobbying because I was a founder of TIGA - and am now its Chairperson. I think it’s one of the things government can do to help promote the export powerhouse that is the computer game development industry. The government is a bit short of cash right now, so they’ll have to make some tough decisions going forwards though. The great thing is that the more modern and up-to-date of the MPs are aware and interested in helping out our industry, if they can. After all, exports are good for the UK as a whole!
BT:Are tax incentives something that you think could help rejuvenate the industry in the long run, or would you prefer to see some other form of support? It’s occurred to us that there aren’t that many big games events in the UK, especially not on the scale of GDC, E3 or GamesCom.
JK: There’s no one thing in isolation that will guarantee an expansion of the development scene here in the UK, but several things will make a difference. A world-class tradeshow hosted in the UK would be a big help, as would tax breaks, and perhaps an expansion of the R&D tax credits regime. There are other ideas too though, like changing employment law to allow people to freelance for an extended period of time might be useful too.
BT:Speaking of the UK government, what do you think of the current approval and ratings systems used in the UK? It’s been suggested that the system works far better for conventional media such as films, rather than games.
The recent Rogue Warrior wasn't quite as well received though
JK: It seems fine to me, honestly.
BT:One thing we get asked for by readers a lot is advice on how to enter the industry, especially in the UK. It seems there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the value of academic study, what courses are better and so on. Do you tend to hire developers with an academic background? Is there any advice you can offer?
JK: Well, we tend to go for an academic or 'hard' degree where possible; one from a standard degree course like mathematics, physics or chemistry. Some of the computer game courses are very good, but it appears some are really just media studies courses with some games stuff tacked on. It depends on where you go.
BT:What do you the UK’s strengths and weaknesses of the UK games industry are, speaking generally?
JK: Well, it would be nice to have at least one international publisher based within the UK…
BT:Lastly, what are you working on at the moment and what do you think the future holds for the UK games industry? Is there glory on the horizon, or just smoggy defeat and a continuing recession?
JK: There’s always glory on the horizon – just look at the way AVP went #1 World-wide! The UK’s future may be a bit stormy on occasion, but it’ll still be exciting.
BT: That’s all we had time for! We’d like to thank Jason and the rest TIGA and Rebellion for their time. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the forums and stay tuned for the rest of Made in the UK Week!