Scotland is the ideal place to start a new studio, says the co-founder of Beartrap Games

Scotland is the ideal place to start a new studio, says the co-founder of Beartrap Games
Beartrap Games is a youthful start-up, but it's staffed by a quartet of industry veterans.

Fin McGechie, Gordon McLean, Grant Alexander, and James Scanlon have previously worked on projects for publishers as diverse as Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, AppyNation, and the BBC. Three of the group also worked for Scottish developer Cohort Games.

Now they've moved from Edinburgh to Dundee and founded Beartrap Games to create original IP. The team will also look to partner with other studios on joint development projects.

To learn more about this latest entrant to the Scottish games development scene, we caught up with creative director Fin McGechie.

Pocket Gamer: Which formats will you be developing for first, and why?

Fin McGechie: Although in the long term we wouldn't rule anything out – we've learned from the past that the industry is a forever-changing-beast – we see ourselves initially working in the handheld market. We want to get back to the core game mechanics that got the whole industry started in the first place.

However, as a unit we're just as comfortable working on home consoles, although the risks are a little different…

BearTrap is a team of veterans. How do you think the opportunities compare now for a new studio, compared to say the 1990s?

Some things are very different. Before, the process was demoing, driving around, legwork, and sitting in board rooms showing a publisher that you could do what you could promise.

Next, you'd work in partnership with them for two or three years building up an infrastructure, and hopefully at the end of it you'd have something that someone wanted to play. It was a very calculated process.

Now, although we still have that same avenue, we also have more options to get games to customers.

The bottom line is always the same though, and that's making sure that the game is the focus and it's the best it can be – whether it takes six months or three years to create.

There's infinitely more competition on the app stores than there ever was on the proprietary systems such as PlayStation. What do you think you can bring to the market to attract the punters?

Well, I hope we can bring something that will stand out, touch a nerve or create something new – and above all be quality and fun.

The competitive environment we work in means that you've judged by the final product above all else. So long as you create something of a high quality that you and the team are very passionate about – and you have a little bit of luck – then you have a good chance of getting your game noticed.

We've all had our share of success in the industry, and from our experience quality usually wins through.

I think the customer has become more aware of the product quality. If they are going to pay for something, they need to know they're going to get their money's worth.

Would you ever consider making full-fat triple-A console games again, or do you think those days are behind us?

Never say never. Although we're starting out, we all have a wealth of experience across all formats, including triple-A titles.

We also have ideas that we're working on internally, and, if the opportunity arose, I don't think we would turn something down if it was something that excited us.

Again, the industry is changing but the game itself is still the most important factor here. Working with established industry leaders, publishers, and individuals to create the best games possible will be our immediate focus.

Why set up in Scotland?

The region certainly has its advantages. The area has colleges and universities that we can recruit from, for instance. Local graduates have studied on courses relevant to the games industry – including code, production art, and so on – and that infrastructure attracts like-minded people to the area too.

This will allow us to look for local talent when expanding the company and makes that whole process a bit less stressful.

For us, it's an ideal location to lay a foundation.
Thanks to Fin for his time.
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013


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