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Brexit has fostered a culture of fear among British game devs

Brexit has fostered a culture of fear among British game devs

February 25, 2019 | By Emma Kidwell

British developers speaking with Variety offer some insight into the uncertainty that has formed within studios and among developers over the last two-and-a-half years since the Brexit decision.

It's important to stay informed on how fellow devs across the pond feel about the latest Brexit developments, since any updates to the deal could affect game devs in the UK and EU. 

Established game companies like Sony are moving away from the UK to other European countries, minimizing their British presense and likely lessening the appeal for business and potential hires. Even investors are shying away. 

"A few of my team when I was at Improbable were EU nationals. They weren’t a dominating presence but those guys were brilliant,” says Nick Button-Brown, chairman of Outright Games.

 “They brought in such great skills and they taught everybody else. They shared their knowledge and everybody was better from working with really good people," he goes on to explain.

"But they came because it was easy. They didn’t have to do any Visas, they knew they could come over, they knew they could go back. Now it’s not so easy. Now it’s lawyers and doing Visas and it slows it down, and not only that, being honest, they don’t feel that welcome.”

He describes workplace environments in limbo, with fellow developers expressing that they don’t feel welcome in the UK as big decisions loom on the horizon.

In addition to being cut off from acquiring new talent, British developers just starting out will also no longer have access to the EU start-up grants, which help fund UK studios.

This will likely affect indies the most, as they might not have the same resources that larger companies have when it comes to dealing with the cost of business increasing and a lack of funding to provide a safety net. 

"The guys that made Overcooked, two of them sitting in their lounge, working full time. Is it going to make their lives a bit harder? They have a UK publisher, so they’re alright," Button-Brown says.

“But the next ones may find it harder. The people who are doing the next Overcooked, they may struggle because of this.”

Button-Brown offers some advice to combat the climate of fear, encouraging UK devs to let the EU nationals on their teams know that they're appreciated. 

"Make it clear that we do love them, that we want them to stay. We want them to carry on helping us make great games."

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