Britain down on games development chart

Britain down on games development chart

Lemmings is a classic example of how British games used to lead the market. Something sadly no longer true.

Remember the good old days? Days of the BBC Micro, Lemmings and Cannon Fodder? Days later filled with Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper and other decent British games?

Well, you can forget about all that now.

It's not really surprising news, but it's finally been made official; the UK games development scene just isn't what it used to be.

According to recent rankings, the UK has fallen from being the third most prominent games developing nation to the fourth most prominent. Or, to put it bluntly, we now make even less games than Canada does.

It's a crying shame that the only definitely recent British games which crop straight to our minds are those from indie developer Introversion. It's also something which has been previously lamented by David Doak of Free Radical, makers of Timesplitters and the upcoming Haze.

In a previous interview at, David said;

"The UK Government needs to do something more useful than just criticizing violent content in video games. They love the British film industry and stuff and are prepared to give it money [...] yet they'll stand around watching video game developers losing staff."

This sentiment has been echoed by the UKs Minister for Creative Industries, who has called a second time for a a games academy to be founded within the UK. Speaking to MCV, Shaun Woodward said;

"Video games have become an incredibly important industry, but our superiority in this sector cannot be taken for granted. In the last six months the UK has slipped from the third largest manufacturer to the fourth - behind Canada. We need a games academy for graduate studies. We need to attract the right talent and fund and support the industry."

Should the government do more to encourage the continuation of the British games industry, or should developers take responsibility themselves? What was it that made British games so great anyway? Drop your opinions off in the forums.


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Amon 5th July 2007, 15:08 Quote
Where's the ranking chart?
Dr. Strangelove 5th July 2007, 15:23 Quote
Soo what games has the UK recently produced to get them to fourth place on the list? Just curious....
Amon 5th July 2007, 15:31 Quote
Originally Posted by article
Or, to put it bluntly, we now make even less games than Canada does.
Not surprising when EA, Ubisoft, and TakeTwo/Rockstar develop the majority of their games in Canada. Examples: Ghost Recon franchise, Splinter Cell franchise, Need for Speed franchise. Even BioWare (Baldur's Gate franchise, Mass Effect) is from Canada.
CardJoe 5th July 2007, 15:40 Quote
We haven't made enough games, or enough good ones recently Strangelove, thats the point. We used to produce even more games than Canada though Amon - it's predictable but sad that we couldn't entice Ubi etc to put those offices in the UK
knowyourenemy 5th July 2007, 15:44 Quote
I'm starting to believe with all of this talk about starting up education for this industry will make Game History a valid class now for more universities in the future. I just finished my first semester of it last year here in the states. :)
will. 5th July 2007, 16:28 Quote
The uni course I was on had a games history unit. One of the few interesting ones. I quit for that reason. If I'm honest, the word 'games' was stuck on there just to pull more money students into the course. It was basically programming with the occasional unit in 3d modelling/animation thrown in. Apart from that there was a distinct lack of creative anything until the third year. I pulled out because of it.
Hugo.B 5th July 2007, 16:46 Quote
Splash Damage.

CardJoe 5th July 2007, 17:00 Quote
Splash Damage are only a small company though, much as I love Locki Wedgwood, and they've only got a small number of games under their belts. Very heavily attached to id too, who are American obviously.
Amon 5th July 2007, 17:03 Quote
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Splash Damage are only a small company though, much as I love Locki Wedgwood, and they've only got a small number of games under their belts. Very heavily attached to id too, who are American obviously.

Well, you guys do house one of my favourite developers of all time: Codemasters.
Dr. Strangelove 5th July 2007, 17:24 Quote
hmm I currently live in Scotland and every now and then I see posters and meet and greet events claiming that "we" are very good at games programming...

I'm from Denmark and at least we have IO interactive and Hitman.. although I guess that is now a part of Eidos
will. 5th July 2007, 17:26 Quote
Who have just sold themselves out to America with DIRT.

I love the game, I think its awesome, but there is no doubting that they have definitely done a lot of things that are purely aimed at appealing to the American market. You would have at least thought that they might have used an English accent for the co-driver.
mikeuk2004 5th July 2007, 18:24 Quote
They all move to america where the big money is or Japan.
Omnituens 5th July 2007, 18:53 Quote
I'm currently on a Computer and Video Games course at Uni.

It a bag of crap. Serious lack of funding, lack of management and a lack of decent staff (all but 1 of the good ones quit)
knuck 6th July 2007, 04:57 Quote
it's developping like crazy here in Montreal, especially thanks to Ubisoft
Arlof 6th July 2007, 05:49 Quote
Originally Posted by Ghys
it's developping like crazy here in Montreal, especially thanks to Ubisoft

*laugh* Well that's only because the Quebec government offers crazy subsidies, to video game out fits to relocate to that province. Your/Mine tax dollars hard at work subsidizing video game makers profits...... I'd much rather be 4th on the list than bail out millionaires.
Bungle 7th July 2007, 11:12 Quote
We seem to see this time and time again. Britain has always been an inventive nation, pioneering in many areas of industry. But how do we choose to reward these people? By letting other countries steal our talent. I think our government is scared of success.
completemadness 7th July 2007, 18:04 Quote
Lemmings [....] Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper
ah the memories

sadly just about all the major UK games companies have folded, or been bought

I think lionhead studios is one of the biggest left, but their last game was a disaster (B&W2)
boggsi 5th December 2007, 13:03 Quote
being at university, at some point I have been hounded by every kind of company to come work for them in x,y,z role (be it poster, emails, careers service advisory tryna get a bonus) but not once has anyone even mentioned computer game design.

to be honest, its something id really like to do, but I'd rather go start a career in technology inside financial services, at least i know they will look after me...
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