A games development hub is beginning to emerge at The EpiCentre in Haverhill, with the signing up of new occupier K9 Digital, a 3D Character Outsourcing studio for games, film, TV and VR that is taking space in the building where games studio SKC is already an occupier.

K9 Digital has agreed a contract with SKC to develop the 3D characters for its AAA game, Project UN,

CEO, Ashley Sparling, says: “We are excited at what the EpiCentre has to offer us, as well as the link with SKC, it is well run with an excellent infrastructure including an on-site café, and it gives us the opportunity to bring fresh talent into a professional, pleasant, supportive and secure business environment.

“We are keen to bring in graduates from the likes of West Suffolk College and the University of Hertfordshire that have strong games art and animation faculties who will be attracted to the more affordable accommodation in Haverhill and the surrounding area,” adds Sparling.  

K9 Digital is run by Ashley and Tia Sparling who returned from Canada during lockdown having spent four years in the Canadian gaming industry where they worked on high profile games such as Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed Odyssey and Immortal Fenyx Rising. Prior to this Ashley has had 15 years’ experience in the industry working for studios such as Microsoft, Warner Bros and Sony Playstation Home. The company now has seven staff members working remotely on 3D modelling from around the world and will be adding to its numbers in Haverhill soon.

Ashley Sparling is keen to point out the extent of their services: “Really, we call ourselves a co-development studio. We are not just building the models and sending them off to the clients. We aim to push the quality of the client’s game or product. For example, we can boost the realism and believability of the characters as well as building the rigs for animation, so we are more like an art direction consultant for the 3D characters, helping the client to get the best quality out of their work.”

Asa Burrows of SKC, says: “This is exactly what we are aiming to build here at The EpiCentre. We are hugely excited about working with K9 who have some really experienced talent.

Centre Manager, Kelly Boosey, says: “K9 and SKC is just the start in developing a games hub at The EpiCentre. Haverhill has huge advantages as well as being a stone throw away from a prominent games sector in Cambridge, there is also a lot of investment in the local area within higher education colleges. Talented graduates don’t necessarily want to leave the region, especially if that means London as its super expensive. At the same time at Oxford Innovation we can support young and entrepreneurial companies when starting up especially if there is a sector focussed cluster in our growing community,” adds Kelly.