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Clash of Clans maker Supercell is opening its first North American game studio headed by industry veteran Ryan Wener.
The idea is to make games that you might not expect from Supercell, including games that run on any platform, not just mobile devices, Wener said in a blog post. Helsinki-based Supercell has been one of rarities of the mobile game industry, with hits such as Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Hay Day, Boom Beach, and Brawl Stars. Revenues in 2020 topped $1.48 billion.
Wener said in a blog post that the company is taking advantage of the development talent in North America, “long-recognized for crafting great, deep gameplay experiences for PC and consoles.” And it is combining that with Supercell’s “culture of independent teams and approach to making great games played by the biggest audiences for years and years.”
He said, “If you’re an ambitious founder-type game developer who wants to try to answer that question together with us and to make amazing games played around the world, then we should talk. I’ll try to explain what we think we can make, why you should do this here, and who we’re looking for to join us.”
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Wener has been at Supercell for almost nine years, and he spent eight years in product management at Activision. He was a product manager on Destiny and was a director of global brand management for Guitar Hero and DJ Hero.
Games you might not expect from Supercell
Over the past 11 years, Supercell’s games have been downloaded more than five billion times. Wener said that 250 million players play the company’s games every month. Each of its five games has earned over $1 billion in revenue, and both Clash of Clans and Hay Day will celebrate their 10th anniversaries in 2022.
To date, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale have combined to earn over $10 billion in revenue. Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, offered the following quote:
More than 11 years ago, we founded Supercell on the belief that the best people and teams make the best games. Our goal quite simply was to be the best place for these teams, a place where the world’s most talented game developers could do the best work of their careers.
Expanding our games development teams with a new North American studio is a hugely exciting moment in Supercell’s history. Supercell has always been a Finnish company with a strong global outlook and that’s why we know that great game-making is not limited to one city or country – it can come from anywhere in the world, and by having game teams in Europe, Asia and North America, we can enable more teams than ever before to build the best games possible.
I can’t wait to see how the innovation and talent of the Americas melds with the independent culture of Supercell to create new types of games that nobody has seen before.
Wener said that the company is finding the best talent in North America to create what’s next across any platform, not just mobile.
“We want to build ambitious games players may not expect from Supercell,” Wener said. “If you dream of reimagining a deep game experience for the widest possible audience around the globe, then this could be the right opportunity. If you have a game idea in the back of your mind, reinventing your favorite gameplay to make something entirely new, then we should talk.”
Wener said that at Supercell the independent game teams have complete ownership of what they build and how they build it. Each team operates as a small “cell,” and the company now has more than 360 people. That may sound big, but for a company with so much revenue and profit, it’s still small. And that’s why the company has plenty of opportunities to expand further or invest in other game studios.
“Developers at other companies might be accustomed to control mechanisms, greenlight processes, and executive oversight,” Wener said. “We believe that mechanisms like these take ownership away from development teams, slow them down, and get in the way of creativity, resulting in worse games. So we just don’t work that way.”
If a team has an idea for a unique gameplay or progression system, they can try it, he said. They can create a new intellectual property or use an existing Supercell brand.
Wener said Supercell will find a founder and a core team that will assemble around that founder, and that will be the kernel of the studio.
“We are seeking ambitious founders who can form a team from scratch, who have game ideas they’ve been dying to develop, and who will treat this team like a startup within Supercell,” Wener said.
Opportunity to build a representative team
Starting a new team and studio is a unique opportunity in the gaming industry to push for greater representation and inclusion in game development, Wener said.
“When we talk about making games for the biggest possible audiences, we mean games that are enjoyed by players from all kinds of backgrounds, all over the world,” Wener said. “We should strive for our development teams — including this new one — to have this same level of representation and inclusion.”
Wener said that the past two years showed that great work can happen in different ways and locations. This studio will be flexible in terms of locale.
“We’re open-minded about ways to approach this, from co-locating in San Francisco (Supercell’s U.S. office location since 2011) or elsewhere in North America, to building this team for remote work,” Wener said. “Or some hybrid/combination could work, too.”
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