Time flies when you’re having fun, and we’ve had a blast here at Sumo Digital this year with game launches, award wins and celebrating our people’s commitments to championing a more diverse and inclusive games industry.
It’s been a jam-packed year in which we’ve hosted our own developer conference, welcomed a new batch of talented cohorts to our Academy and seen big announcements for our studios. With so many things happening, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on a busy year at Sumo Digital.
So, join us as we look at some of the highlights from 2022.
It's been an ✨ amazing ✨ 2022! pic.twitter.com/biUakmNSom— Sumo Digital (@SumoDigitalLtd) December 9, 2022
We can’t take a look back at 2022 without talking about some of the fantastic games that our studios have been involved in. In February supernatural action-adventure Control Ultimate Edition – developed by Red Kite Games – launched on the Amazon Luna cloud gaming service.
Sumo Warrington confirmed in May that they’ve been working on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League in close collaboration with Rocksteady Studios.
Sumo Nottingham and partner Gun Interactive unveiled a new trailer for the asymmetrical horror game The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The trailer showcased familiar frights and sights of the original film along with a host of grisly surprises, while also sharing details on expanded platform availability and the release window.
The multi-award-winning Little Orpheus – developed by The Chinese Room and published by Secret Mode – arrived on PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch in September. The technicolour side-scrolling adventure game is inspired by classic movies like Flash Gordon, Sinbad and The Land that Time Forgot – with platforming and light puzzle-solving that is simple enough for casual players but rich enough for seasoned adventure fans.
The ever-popular Sackboy returned to our screens in October as Sackboy: A Big Adventure launched on PC. The fun and frantic 3D multiplayer platforming adventure, co-developed by Sumo Digital alongside Sony Interactive Entertainment, sees Sackboy embark on a brave journey to rescue his friends from the dastardly Vex – a jester-like master who plans to transform Craftworld from a fantastical land of pure imagination into a torrid, barren eyesore of nightmares.
CELEBRATING OUR ACHIEVEMENTS
It was another successful year for awards with plenty of nominations and wins for our studios, people, and projects. In February, Sumo Digital celebrated several studios scooping regional accolades in the top 100 ‘Best Companies’ categories, which showcases the success and achievements of our people. These included Red Kite Games, Lab42 Games, Sumo Leamington, Sumo Nottingham, Sumo Newcastle, Sumo Sheffield, The Chinese Room, and Atomhawk Newcastle.
In March, Sumo Digital was among those celebrating amazing female talent in the UK games industry as two of our talented women were named winners at the 2022 MCV/Develop Women in Games awards. Ruth Anna Caulcott-Cooper, Senior Programmer at The Chinese Room, collected the ‘Development Impact’ award and Harinder Sangha, Operations Director at Sumo Leamington, brought home the award for ‘Career Mentor’.
July saw us head down to Brighton for the Develop:Star Awards, a ceremony celebrating the creative excellence of the game makers behind the best games of the previous 12 months, where Sumo Digital won the ‘Best Studio’ award for the second year running.
One month later, we were thrilled to hear that three of our studios had received a GI.biz UK Best Places to Work 2022 Award, which praises companies that best support their staff and address the issues that continue to be raised by games professionals around the world.
Over in Canada, Vancouver-based studio Timbre Games was included in this year's GI.biz Best Places to Work Awards Canada back in October. The studio ranked among the top businesses in the 'small companies' category at the awards event, as well as being nominated for The DEI Award respectively.
SMALL THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
Our studios supported local charities as well as Sumo Group’s chosen charity partners over the past 12 months, raising tens of thousands of pounds.
Some of the events from the year include the Twin Town Challenge in aid of SpecialEffect, in which our people were tasked with making the almost 350-kilometre journey in a £500 car from Oxfordshire to Northern France, with challenges on the way. There was also the Great North Run, which saw a small group of dedicated runners from Atomhawk, Sumo Newcastle and Sumo Sheffield’s studios take on the 13.1 miles.
Atomhawk Newcastle organised a Walking Football Tournament to support The People's Kitchen, the studio's local charity, while The Chinese Room hosted a 10 million steps challenge in June to raise money for its local chosen charity, The Clock Tower Sanctuary.
People from across our studios also donned their cycling gear for a 12-hour team relay at the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix for a charity cyclotron for Solving Kids’ Cancer UK.
SUMO DEVELOPER CONFERENCE (SDC)
2022 saw us hold our first-ever Sumo Digital Conference, with over 700 of our people coming together in Sheffield for two days of collaboration, knowledge sharing and networking. It's fair to say that the first event went very well – our people gained insight into their fellow Sumo studios' way of life and learned from experts about not only how Sumo Digital is continuing to grow and improve, but also the industry overall.
External talks and video highlights also allowed people outside of our studios to get a glimpse of the hard work and expertise being shared across Sumo Digital.
It went so well in fact that we knew it would become a regular date for the calendar, and we’re already looking forward to SDC 2023.
Off the back of SDC and to continue the culture of learning and collaboration, we launched SDCXtra in June. Regular in-studio learning events which consist of in-depth talks, panels, or presentations each focusing on a particular discipline of game development or area of personal development putting learning and development at the very heart of the initiative.
SUMO DIGITAL ACADEMY
The Sumo Digital Academy, our long-standing talent development programme which creates new pathways into the games industry, received accreditation to become the first in the UK games industry to be recognised by the Government and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. We also welcomed our new group of cohorts onto the Game Programmer Apprenticeship Programme, which provides an alternative pathway into a career as a game programmer.
OUR FAMILY OF STUDIOS GROWS
The announcement was made in October and also saw new leadership roles introduced. Tim Wilson became Vice President of Sumo Digital UK, from his previous role as Managing Director of Atomhawk, in which he will lead Sumo Digital’s award-winning studios based in the UK (with the exception of Sheffield).
Joe Nickolls is now Vice President of Sumo Digital North America, where he will oversee Sumo Digital’s studios situated in Canada and North America, encompassing Timbre Games and Atomhawk Canada, as the company looks to expand to multiple studios and locations creating both New IP and work for hire games with a focus on live service.
We also made a big announcement earlier this year that our Sumo Digital studio PixelAnt Games – a leader in work-for-hire, co-development, and original IP projects across current and next-gen platforms – will be expanding into Central Europe with a brand-new studio in the Czech Republic alongside its current studio in Poland.
The Czech studio will be led by Eugen Harton, who has nine years of experience in the industry and has worked as a Lead Producer on projects such as DayZ and Dying Light 2.
INTO OUR 20TH YEAR…
This year has been great, but next year will be even bigger as we enter the next exciting chapter of Sumo Digital in our 20th year, in which we’ll be celebrating the people, projects, and partners over the years.
If you want to join us and experience all of this and more, be sure to check out our job vacancies here.