NetEase’s Anchor Point studio is born between Barcelona and Seattle, to create action adventures
NetEase is about to land in Barcelona with the creation of a studio, Anchor Point Studios, with Paul Ehreth -with 20 years of experience in video game development- as CEO and creative director and Pere Torrents -who has worked in Scopely and Smilegate- as head of operations. The studio’s first job will be an action adventure in which, according to Ehreth, “we’re going to take risks to enter unknown territory. What we are going to create is not going to be easy, it is going to be challenging, we are going to try some new things and I believe that by working together, as a team, we can overcome all these challenges and create something very special for everyone,” Ehreth said at the presentation yesterday in Madrid of the study to the media. This morning a similar event was held in Barcelona.
Ehreth is now in charge of a new study that joins the growing number of video game companies that have been established in recent years in USA, especially in Barcelona, and has several challenges before it, such as working with two offices -a physical one in Barcelona and with part of the team in Seattle- with workers remotely, in a mixed format and in person at an office in the Catalan capital that they are about to create in the center of the city and that will be fully operational by the end of summer.
On-site, hybrid or remote work, in Barcelona and Seattle
According to Ehreth, “The covid changed many things, especially the way of working. Each studio had its own rules, but before, if you lived near the studio you had to go to work there and if you were far away you could telework. It’s inconsistent and probably unfair to some people. So we have decided that each one works as it suits him best. People can work remotely but we are also going to have a very nice office in Barcelona because I personally love going to the office, working face to face with people, going out to eat with people, I think that’s how the best ideas come from. there will be some interesting challenges, especially when it comes to communicating from different time zones. At the moment everything is going quite well and we are making very good progress, we have just had our second test of the internal game, we are already playing our game”. The studio is moving fast because NetEase studios share some resources and have internal support for their projects.
In the past half year Ehreth has been gathering a still small group of people with a lot of experience who has worked in the series Haloin Ghost of Tsushima, red dead redemption 2 either The Division “and who largely share my passion for creating immersive action games,” he said. Seattle, the Anchor Point CEO said, is home to a fair number of veteran developers. videogames “there is a great pool of talent that can be hired, but when I came to Europe 5 years ago I saw that there is a great amount of talent that has not had the opportunity to work on big action games and there are several big video game studios. The more I talked to local industry people the more I realized that there are people who are willing to work on a game like this. Through Twitter I met one of my senior designers who is in Barcelona and we ate together. We grew more and more liking the idea of building something like this together. I realised that there is a lot of talent that is willing to work on something like this and I was looking forward to more people working in this environment,” Ehreth said.
Why found the studio in USA? “There’s better food here,” he replied with a laugh. Although he says that he loved Madrid when he was on vacation a few years ago, being in Barcelona at SmileGate helped him meet people from the industry there “although I also know people from Tequila, who are great studios, USA has an industry [del videojuego] that is growing in a great way”, added.
It is expected that the studio will continue to grow to 100 people in the three work modalities, “we are very grateful to NetEase for giving us this opportunity to build something important and for provide the team with a stable environment in which we can create something that has the potential to expand beyond video games,” added Ehreth, who also stated that it is difficult for him to find people “because I have a very high quality bar and it is important to choose the best, but, in fact, it is not difficult for me, we have hired three more people in USA and there are more offers, everything is going very well”, he said, and Torrets pointed out that Currently, 10 of the 18 workers that the studio already has are from USA.
Ehreth highlighted that in USA there are very good video game creation studios “and there are many students who are looking for work, we need to provide work for those people. I hope that we can grow and continue expanding to become that source of work and experience that is needed here. rise it was a very good game rhymesfrom Tequila, was also very good, and Mercury Steam he’s always making great games. Wait May these companies continue to grow and let us build this industry together in USA. One of my personal goals is to have more interns as soon as we have a physical office. Pere and I have talked about doing it as soon as we can because we already have some excellent bosses and they are prepared to help the next generation learn.” Ehreth stated.
A social adventure with multiplayer adapted to the ability of all types of players
Practically nothing is known about the game that Anchor Point is working on beyond the fact that it will have multiplayer, with a social component and it will be an action adventure “but it will also make players question their perception of the world,”/b> said Ehreth, adding that it won’t be a traditional open world “although it will include a lot of exploration” and that it will be “a nice, friendly place for the game to be.” people get together and live an epic adventure” that could be framed as midcore“we want to be accessible to players of various skill levels and have a level of challenge that more experienced players like,” Ehreth explained. This will mean that each player will decide the difficulty of the game for himself based on the rewards he wants to get and can socialize with his friends.
The platforms initially planned are PC and the most powerful consoles and, depending on how the game works, the option of porting it to other consoles will be studied. Ehreth also initially excluded the virtual reality option, although he was not shy about considering it in the future.
Long enough for a game to come out with the desired quality
The Chinese NetEase is one of the large Internet provider companies in the Asian country and a partner of a good part of the video game distributors who want to distribute there. It began to expand into video games some time ago with investment in studios such as Bungie either Quantic Dream and it is currently one of the world’s largest companies in the creation of video games, with its own studios distributed throughout the world. Anchor Point, affirmed its director, will try to create games in the same spirit as in Remedy Entertainmentwhere “most people expected that [con Control] let’s launch an AA game but everything the team worked hard to add extra touches. The idea is for it to be a totally AAA game, with high-quality graphics, good detail, and fine polish.” necessary, “we are not going to launch a bad game”, Ehreth stated confidently at the introduction.
Ehreth explained that for him settling in USA has been a bit like coming home and he has explained that his great-grandparents were USAwho immigrated to Panama at the beginning of the s. XX, his grandparents in turn went to Seattle (USA) and now he returns to those origins to close the circle, “it is magnificent to be here, where everyone has received me with a warm welcome”, affirmed.
Ehreth defines himself as a demanding man, but he also has an almost poetic component both in the description of his origins and in the name chosen for the study, Anchor Point (“anchor point” in Spanish). “To have your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds. If you are dreaming all the time you will never make a game but if you are always thinking about placing everything and details you will not create anything interesting. Anchor Point is the starting point, where we have our feet on the ground and allows us to stretch out to reach the stars by following the motto of the study, per aspera ad astra, [llegar hasta las estrellas por el camino ms difcil o a travs del esfuerzo conseguir el triunfo en espaol]it’s about going through whatever difficulties we encounter together as a team to reach for the stars together,” Ehreth said.
The head of the studio began his career in the Seattle community that was dedicated to mod game engines, his first job was called Box War and it was a modification of the engine of the first half-life. Then I studied 3D modeling and animation and started working in movies but felt his place was in video games, so he returned to Seattle to work on Microsoftt (where I was involved in the development of Kinect and in Halo 4/r>y