Rare opens new studio

Prized UK developer unveils new West Midlands base

Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark and GoldenEye developer Rare has today unveiled its new West Midlands studio.

The Microsoft Games Studios firm will become operational in Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, Birmingham in April. The studio will complement Rare's longstanding headquarters in nearby Twycross.

Fazeley's main area of focus will be as a production, test and usability site.

According to an official company statement: 'Rare believes that the current model of massive teams has lead to a boom-and-bust cycle in staffing terms and sees a film production model as a far better and more efficient way of creating triple-A games going forward.'

The Fazeley studio will house 90 staff working on new Rare games, although some will fluctuate with the development cycle.

Rare Studio Head Mark Betteridge said: "The old way of making games just doesn't work anymore - we need to be much more flexible in how we staff a team and setting up new facility in Digbeth will help us to do this.

"Its central location and the nature of other businesses in the area make it a very appealing environment in which to work. While we are committed to keeping our headquarters in Twycross, we feel a second studio in a more urban location will be appealing to some staff."

Lucan Gray, who created Fazeley Studios, added: "I am delighted that Rare has chosen Fazeley Studios for its second base. The fact that a Microsoft Games Studio is coming to Digbeth shows how things have moved on in the area in the last couple of years, in spite of the challenging economic background.

"Our aim is for Digbeth to be the geographic heart of Birmingham's digital economy. You can't get much better than Microsoft arriving as a vote of confidence in our ability to deliver that aim."