IO Interactive is expanding into the UK by opening a game development studio in Brighton. The new division will focus on a title based on the James Bond IP.
As IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak told GamesIndustry.biz, the core team is already in place, ready to work on the James Bond game codenamed Project 007 and the new IP codenamed Project Fantasy. The latter is described as an online fantasy RPG, but there are not many details about the game yet.
“We’ve been gunning for the UK for a while, because the UK has had all these old, legendary studios down the years,” Abrak said. “The ecosystem has been great, with people leaving studios and new ones emerging. The UK was a place where we wanted to build a studio.”
Founded in 1998, IO Interactive is headquarted in Copenhagen, Denmark. The new Brighton office is already the company’s fifth studio, in addition to teams in Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.
IO Interactive currently employs 300 people, but it plans to increase the headcount to 400 employees “in another year or 18 months from now.” This is the same number Hakan mentioned in 2021 when he discussed the expansion needed to produce Project 007.
In an interview with GI.biz, Abrak also explained IO’s decision to open new offices instead of hiring remote workers across the globe: “I am a big believer on interacting, especially when you’re working on something new, when you’re in pre-production, when you’re innovating. I think it is incredibly important that you have people not just sitting behind Teams or Zoom calls, but you’ve got these real interactions.”
Abrak wants to keep each studio under 150 people to “avoid having that feeling of a factory.”