A video games company based at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield is taking on the big boys in the $70 billion gaming market… and winning.
Red Kite Games, which has been up and running for two years, carries out development work for some of the biggest names in the global games business.
The company recently launched its own game for mobile and tablets – Firefly Runner – which was downloaded more than 500,000 times in the first three weeks of its release.
Aimed at younger players, but appealing to adults too, Firefly Runner is described as “an action-packed, free-running adventure set on the stunningly beautiful yet treacherous Firefly Island”.
The game’s early success has far exceeded expectations, earning four-and-a-half star – out of five – reviews at outlets such as Apple’s App Store, receiving online comments such as “this is surely a future classic of the genre”.
Red Kite’s founder and MD Simon Iwaniszak is experienced games designer. During his career, he has been a developer for Rockstar – including a stint based in San Diego, California – on games such as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
Simon then decided to start out on his own, recruiting a team to found Red Kite, taking on development work for Activision on games such as Call of Duty: Strike Team.
Simon also teaches video games design degree students at the University of Huddersfield on its popular BSc honours degree course in video games.
Among the advantages of the 3M BIC – apart from its facilities, attractive working environment and high level of security – is proximity to the University of Huddersfield, its researchers and its pool of student talent.
The students gain from his industry experience and Red Kite Games also benefit too
Two students, Anthony Morris and Jonathan Lilley, were talent-spotted by Simon and after graduation they were offered posts across the road at Red Kite, where they have played an important role in developing Firefly Runner.
Simon said: “As I work with students I see the ones who are the emerging talent. For me, there is less of a risk because I have worked with these students throughout the year and I know who will potentially be a good fit for Red Kite. Anthony and Jonathan have been spectacular. And, on top of this the 3M BIC is a really nice working environment,” said Simon.
His company will continue to develop and upgrade Firefly Runner, as well as work with other major companies in the sector.
He added: “It is very hard to predict how things are going to go, because the technology changes so quickly, but games are only going to keep getting bigger and better.”
Firefly Runner is available to download from Google Play and the Apple store – 15% of revenues raised will be donated to the UK-based video games charities, GamesAid and SpecialEffect.