GREE to open Vancouver studio, will focus on innovation, new concepts

GREE has announced it is opening a first-party development studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. The studio will be lead by Steve Lin, GREE’s former VP of consumer operations, who was responsible for the establishment of GREE’s San Francisco studio.

According to Lin, GREE’s new Canadian studio will initially employ 10 to 12 people and will take a more experimental approach to game design than GREE’s other first party studios.

“We feel that there’s a of room for innovation in the mobile space,” says Lin. “There’s a couple of ideas we’re kicking around, but we’re not ready to announce them just yet. As the team’s strengths and weaknesses become more apparent we’ll try some things with some of our existing titles and work on some new titles, trying out concepts we might not have tried before as a company.”

Lin tells us the new studio will be set up by a very small group from San Francisco, likely no more than three people. Although the company is still finalizing paperwork and identifying a location in Vancouver for the studio, GREE Vancouver is planning to release its first game in the next six to eight months. The studio will initially focus on creating titles for iOS, but GREE plans to add Android development staff as the studio staffs up from its initial core group.

The news comes at an extremely welcome time for the Vancouver game development community. In the past three weeks, Activision and Take Two have both announced they will close their Vancouver studios, and yesterday Capcom Vancouver confirmed it had laid off seven percent of its staff.

“If you look at the talent base in Vancouver they’ve made tremendous contributions to the game industry. Not only in the console space, but indie devs in mobile and social,” says Lin, when asked why GREE chose to establish a studio north of the border. “There’s so much talent there and we want to tap into that to create some cool stuff for the mobile scene.”

GREE is currently hiring for an executive producer, as well as engineers and artists for the studio.