The Silicon Valley of game development in the UK

Leamington Spa: The Silicon Valley of game development in the UK

In the seemingly quiet English town of Royal Leamington Spa a vibrant group of game development studios working on various different titles has emerged over recent years, earning it the name of ‘Silicon Spa’.

Leamington is a Regency town in central England, and can be found just 30 miles south east of Birmingham. It was a favourite vacation retreat for Victorians – famed for its reputedly-healing waters.

Nowadays, however, a slew of notable game development studios have set up shop in the area, working on wel–known global titles.

These titles include Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Far Cry 5, the Angry Birds trilogy and the Forza Horizon series.

Game development studios in Leamington Spa have worked on a whole range of products for various different platforms including racing games, mobile games and first-person shooter games.

Here are three of Leamington’s biggest studios…

Playground Games

Playground Games was established back in 2010 and it has already left its mark on the video gaming world.

It has developed multiple critically acclaimed games that it prides itself on. In particular, Playground Games developed the award-winning Forza Horizon series.

The Forza Horizon games are racing car games and feature a plethora of super cars that players can race around in.

Forza Horizon – alongside the following three games in the series – have all received acclaim, with Playground Games’ website revealing it has won more than 100 “Best Of” awards for the series.

Playground Games continues to work on its titles post-launch, developing multiple free and premium downloadable content (DLC) to keep Forza fans engaged long after each release.

Playground Games promotes a healthy work environment centred on building a well-oiled team and even has a beer fridge in the office for employees to relax with after a hard day’s work.

Earlier this year, during the celebrated and annual E3 event, the team unveiled the latest expansion for Forza Horizon 4. The expansion is called LEGO Speed Champions and introduces LEGO cars to the flagship title.

Exient

Exient is another game development studio located in Leamington Spa and it is one to have made handheld console versions of various mobile hit titles such as Angry Birds.

Exient is perhaps best known for developing mobile games for Android, iOS and iPad and handheld consoles such as the PlayStation Portable Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

Its most recent title is ‘Dancing With The Stars: The Official Game’ based on the hit TV show of the same name. It is one of BBC Worldwide’s most popular shows having been licensed in 52 countries and broadcast is more than 75.

Back in 2012, Exient developed the Angry Birds trilogy to be released on the PSP Vita and Nintendo 3DS.

Angry Birds was originally a mobile game and rose to stardom with thousands and thousands of mobile players jumping in on the craze. It was only a matter of time before it was released on handheld consoles too and Exient were there to deliver.

It wasn’t long until Exient went on to develop Angry Birds Star Wars which was available on a lot of platforms including Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSP Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Ubisoft Leamington

Ubisoft is one of the world’s best-known game studios having developed the iconic Assassin’s Creed franchise alongside various Tom Clancy’s titles including Rainbow Six Siege, Splintercell, and The Division. It is also known for Far Cry 5 and Watch Dogs.

Ubisoft Leamington was founded back in 2017 and is one Ubisoft’s youngest game development studios. It also has a UK base in Newcastle.

Ubisoft Leamington has collaborated on multiple titles which can be purchased around the globe including Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Starlink: Battle for Atlas and Far Cry 5.

Even with the global footprint Ubisoft has in the gaming world, it would seem it still values having smaller studios rooted in English soil to help work on various different titles.

Interested in reading more video games-related stories? Discover more about Digital Schoolhouse and its scheme to bring Nintendo games to 32,000 pupils in UK schools alongside establishing a national eSports competition.

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