Continued confidence in BC’s game development talent and a continued pipeline of projects on the horizon prompted SkyBox Labs to undertake a major expansion of the studio’s offices across three locations.
The BC-based company recently opened a 20,000 square foot space in the Solo District offices at 2025 Willingdon Avenue, located next to the SkyTrain Brentwood Town Center station in Burnaby. This office was previously located nearby at 4190 Lougheed Highway, which is now to be demolished for the Gilmore Place complex.
Another 12,000 square foot location has opened in the Sovereign Building at 4501 Kingsway Avenue in Burnaby’s Metrotown neighborhood.
A third office has also opened in Market Square, downtown Victoria.
All of these expansion spaces combined will see SkyBox Labs grow to over 250 employees in 2022, with additional positions for engineers, designers, producers and artists.
SkyBox Labs is perhaps best known for being the co-creator of 2021 Infinite Haloas well as a range of titles such as Halo 5, Fallout 76, stele, Spark Project, cfu, Grandia II Anniversary Editionand various versions of Minecraft and age of empires.
“With Halo Infinite, our team was able to show more than just our engineering skills. We had the chance to contribute UX/UI, design, animation, character art, environment art, lighting, technical art, production and title QA,” said Shyang Kong, co-founder of SkyBox Labs.
“The new studio spaces will give us ample room to grow as we continue to work on Halo Infinite and more.”
The company notes that it has a number of unannounced upcoming titles, including partner projects and in-house intellectual properties. To date, its project partners have involved global giants such as Wizards of the Coast, Electronic Arts and, of course, Xbox Game Studios.
With Infinite Halo, for example, SkyBox Labs has a very close working partnership with 343 Industries, another game development studio. While studios teaming up on a game development project typically follow a siled organizational and workflow structure, Kong essentially described a working relationship that saw the two companies join at the hip, both teams rather working “shoulder to shoulder” as one.
“As a rapidly growing studio, we’re at an ideal size to take on large-scale projects, but we also have the flexibility to make sure we’re working on the right projects,” Kong told Daily Hive Venture.
“For us, that means not only choosing meaningful work that we know will impact the growth of our team members, but also projects from studios we love to work with on franchises we love to play.”
Kong adds that SkyBox Labs is confident in the long-term ability of local post-secondary institutions to produce the required steady supply of skilled talent in all aspects of game development.
Kong also points out that his company strives to take proactive measures to prevent its staff from falling into the grueling “crunch” – mandatory overtime to complete the game development process.
“A healthy work-life balance is essential to the success of our studio. We offer flexible working hours to allow time to be with family and encourage exercise and self-care. To avoid the crisis, we are working closely with our partners, focusing on project planning,” Kong said.
“Through planning, we are able to mitigate many of the ambiguities that can arise when creating a game and place our team members in roles where they will be successful. The psychological safety of our team members is extremely important to us. We believe that reasonable workloads and achievable deadlines are motivating and productive.