Sunderland-based game developer Coatsink has been going from strength to strength since they first started in 2011.
They’ve created games such as Shu and Chip, whil also assisting with the development of critically-acclaimed indie game, Gang Beasts. Shortly after its inception the studio struck a publishing deal with Oculus leading to the creation of some outstanding VR titles, including The Esper Series and 2017’s Augmented Empire.
We sat down with Coatsink and had a chat about what they do, their relationship with Oculus, and the technology behind their games.
ET: Tell us a little about Coatsink
Coatsink: We’re a game developer based in Sunderland who mainly develop for VR. We have a publishing deal with Oculus which amounts to around 75% of our workload, while the remaining 25% is focused on more traditional games.
For the past two years, we’ve been partnered with Boneloaf to bring Gang Beasts to the PS4; helping out with the online multiplayer and getting ready for its release this month. We’re also working with Swedish publisher Raw Fury on a number of projects, including GoNNER and Kingdom.
The majority of our work (including Oculus projects) is based on our own IP, including console and PC games such as our cartoon platformer Shu which is coming to the Nintendo Switch in early 2018 (and out already on PS4, Vita, and Steam). We also have a few other titles in the works which we’ll be announcing in the next few months.
ET: What’s it like developing VR games for Oculus?
Coatsink: Fantastic! They’re always open to our ideas and we have a huge amount of creative freedom. For a new project Oculus might approach us with only a genre in mind - a gap in their roster - then leave concepting and prototyping entirely to us. It’s a great way to work, like the best possible kind of publishing deal.
ET: How do you guys go about creating a game?
Coatsink: It all depends on the project. Generally once we’ve locked down the general idea and proved out the concept with a prototype, we have a few months of pre-production, testing and iterating on the gameplay and establishing the art style - all in small teams. Then, once the core’s nailed down, we ramp up the team, plan milestones, and start fleshing out the rest of the game. Software-wise we use Maya, 3DS Max, and Unity.
ET: Why use Autodesk products like 3DS Max and Maya?
Coatsink: Our team is constantly growing and we pull a lot of graduates from Teesside and Newcastle University. 3DS Max and Maya are the industry standards and the programs on which they learn. It simply makes sense for us to use the same.
ET: Why do you use Escape Technology to buy your VFX products?
Coatsink: Escape Technology don’t just sell us products, they also have the expertise to help us focus on game development. It really helps that we have a partner who knows their stuff. It not only helps the company but helps our developers as well.
Coatsink’s development team are ever expanding as a result of their success. With some amazing games in the pipeline, we can’t wait to see what else this developer has to offer.