Blind Squirrel Games has unveiled a new brand identity to mark its growth and progress in the game industry.
The rebranding effort coincides with the appointment of Brian Waddle, cofounder of Telltale Games, as the senior vice president of business development at Blind Squirrel Games. And it underscores a change at Blind Squirrel Games where the company is doing more of its own original games.
The studio, known for its high-quality game development, has undergone a comprehensive transformation that includes a fresh logo, tagline, and website. Blind Squirrel Games collaborated with the renowned video game industry creative agency, 1minus1, to create a distinctive brand identity.
Brad Hendricks, CEO and Founder of Blind Squirrel Games, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company is dedicated to elevating the craft of video game creation and its passion for inspiring visual and verbal expression through its work. The changes reflect how it wants to make more of a name for itself.
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“I’m thrilled to introduce the new Blind Squirrel Games to the world,” said Hendricks. “Since our inception, we’ve been focused on elevating the craft of video game creation through a unique approach to development, and 50-plus games later, we recognized it was time to reimagine our brand to best communicate who we are now and where we’re headed.”
He added, “Hiring Brian Waddle as our new SVP of Business Development is a huge part of that direction. Working with 1minus1, we were able to create a strong brand that perfectly pays homage to our heritage while speaking to our goal of inspiring visual and verbal expression through our work as creators who are deeply passionate about video games.”
Waddle said in a statement, “With this huge next chapter on the horizon for Blind Squirrel Games, timing couldn’t be better for me to join the team. Having been in this business for double digit years, I’ve known about Blind Squirrel Games since its inception and have enjoyed seeing them grow and develop a respected name in this industry. I am looking forward to helping the team forge ahead in achieving the next 13 successful years.”
Blind Squirrel Games engaged in a form of outsourcing known as co-development, where it worked as a close partner with larger game studios that needed extra help in creating a big game. Now the company has about 131 employees.
Based in Orange Count and Austin, Texas, Blind Squirrel Games was founded over 13 years ago and quickly established itself as a go-to co-development studio, working on major titles such as Bioshock The Collection, Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and Star Wars Jedi Challenges. The company has opened a third office in Auckland, New Zealand, and it will expand in South America and Eastern Europe.
But it has to be careful. Back in 2020, the company tripled its size. Then the work scaled back in the pandemic and the company had to reduce its size. Now it’s likely to start expanding again to handle the growth that comes with multiple key projects in development.
Over time, the studio expanded its services to handle triple-A development needs and evolved into a strategic creative partner. It also ventured into original game engine and IP innovation with the release of its first studio game, Drifters Loot The Galaxy, and the Xerus development engine in 2021.
Jonathan Hill, CEO of 1minus1, helped Blind Squirrel Games with the rebranding. He views the company as a forward-thinking studio with great aspirations. He commended the team’s openness to change, creativity, and dedication to conveying the brand in the best possible way.
“As to the status of the industry right now, everything is in a bit of disarray right now. About nine months ago, we started looking at how are we going to take this company to the next level. We were going to rebrand ourselves as a company,” Hendricks said.
He noted the company started as work-for-hire, moved into co-development, and then lately moved into full game development, creating both games based on famous licenses as well as original intellectual properties.
“We’ve been really looking at internally at how we’re structuring our business, and we wanted to make sure that we also looked at the rebranding as well,” Hendricks said. “And we looked at key personnel as well, like who we needed to bring us into the future. And that is part of Brian Waddle’s story.”
The company needs to get out in front of a lot more companies and it needed to look more professional and recognizable as it did so.
“A big part of that exercise is trying to figure out who we are, and where do we want to be,” he said. “Work for hire is a wonderful place to be when you want to keep the lights on. But as a studio, a lot of people, executives included, want to establish Blind Squirrel Games as a premier developer.”
In younger days, some young game developers liked working at the company because they could become a part of a lot of different games and say they worked on high-profile titles. As developers mature, they want to make their own games.
“We want to do our own thing,” Hendricks said. “We decided that we’re going to work with publishers to help us bring our games out. We want to continue to focus on new IP and licensed games. We have made good progress working on three things and we’re not talking about them yet.”
Some of the opportunities include taking existing IP in the mobile market and moving them into the console and PC markets. But Hendricks believes that it will be wise to keep the door open on work for hire and co-development, as it will result in a stronger and smoother business as the company moves from one title to another.
Currently, Blind Squirrel Games operates from studio hubs in California, Texas, and New Zealand, with remote developers located in 18 states and three countries. The studio plans to expand into additional markets to better serve the global gaming industry.
Brian Waddle, with more than 20 years of experience in building and managing successful global teams, has held key positions in various companies, including Telltale Games, QLOC, Amber, Room 8 Group, Virtuos Games, and Havok.
“Brian is well connected in the industry and he’s good at getting new IP accepted and at digging up existing work-for-hire opportunities,” Hendricks said.
Waddle is a video game industry veteran with a focus on game services and technology who has built and managed highly successful global teams for over 20 years. Prior roles include co-owner of Telltale Games, chief strategy officer of QLOC, global head of business development at Amber, president of sales and marketing at both Room 8 Group and Virtuos Games and VP of sales and marketing at software company Havok through two acquisitions: Intel then Microsoft.
The rebranding took under a year, starting late last year. At that time, game publishers started shrinking their staffs and started to be more concerned about the weakening economy. In the coming months, Hendricks believes other companies will start scaling up again and his own team will as well. The trick is staying busy and having things ready when game publisher need to launch new games.
“Companies are looking at how to fill their 2024 and 2025 slates,” he said. “I think we’re positioned perfectly because we did the shift at the beginning of the year toward licensed IP. And most of internally created IP is mostly done.”
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