The Top 5 games development companies in the East Midlands

Since its inception, the gaming industry has garnered a rich history within the East Midlands, where gaming titans such as Rockstar have their roots firmly placed. Innovation and progress has continued, shaping the East Midlands into an environment for a gaming industry where opportunities for making history are still thriving today.

We’re sharing five of the greatest video game companies based in the East Midlands, including their history, notable projects, and their contributions to the gaming landscape.


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Rockstar Lincoln

Rockstar Lincoln is the quality assurance and localisation studio of Rockstar Games based in North Hykeham. Rockstar Games was founded in December 1998, One of their earliest successes was the original Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto laid the foundations for the ‘open-world’ genre, allowing players total freedom in a virtual environment. Grand Theft Auto later became a franchise with seven standalone instalments, four expansion packs and an eagerly anticipated eighth title currently in production (Grand Theft Auto 6).

Rockstar Games expanded its portfolio beyond the Grand Theft Auto series as they developed other successful franchises such as the critically acclaimed  Western-themed action-adventure trilogy, Red Dead. Rockstar Games has also released several other noteworthy titles, including Max Payne (2001), Bully (2006), L.A. Noire (2011), and the Midnight Club series.

Rockstar continues to innovate and push boundaries in the open-world genre, consistently delivering high-quality, immersive experiences that captivate gamers worldwide.


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Deep Silver Dambuster Studios 

Based in Nottingham, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios was originally founded as Free Radical Design in 1999 by former employees of Rare. The company gained widespread recognition for its work on the TimeSplitters series, known for its fast-paced gameplay and humour. Later, Dambuster Studios began development on Homefront: The Revolution,  a first-person shooter, released in 2016. The game is  set in a dystopian future where the United States has been occupied by North Korea. Deep Silver Dambuster also contributed to the development of the “Crysis” series, known for its stunning graphics and gameplay. This studio provides a rich array of opportunities for people wanting to step foot into the games industry with roles such as: UI artists, animators, games designers and technical engineering. 


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Sumo Digital 

Sumo Digital is a video game developer with a studio based in Nottingham, known for developing  AAA titles such as Hogwarts Legacy, Forza Horizon and LittleBigPlanet. In its early years, Sumo Digital worked on a range of projects, including licensed titles and collaborations with other studios. Some of their early notable works include Sega Superstars Tennis (2008) and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2010).

Over time, Sumo Digital expanded its portfolio. They worked on projects across various genres and platforms, including original titles and collaborations with major franchises. Some well-recognised projects include LittleBigPlanet 3 (2014), Snake Pass (2017), Crackdown 3 (2019), and Team Sonic Racing (2019). Sumo Digital studios has also announced titles coming next year, including Stampede: Racing Royale and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. Sumo Digital has earned critical acclaim for their technical expertise, creative design, and collaborative approach to game development. The company continues to work on new projects and expand its presence in the gaming industry, providing great opportunities for future employment. 


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Kalypso Media

Kalypso Media are a video game developer and publisher that develops games with a strong focus on strategy and simulation titles, often publishing titles in genres such as city-building, management, and real-time strategy. 

Kalypso has published several successful franchises, including “Tropico,” a city-building and management series where players control a Caribbean island nation as El Presidente, and “Railway Empire,” a railroad simulation game with the second instalment released on the 25th of May 2023. In addition to strategy and simulation games, Kalypso Media also publishes titles across other genres, including action-adventure, role-playing, and sports. Kalypso Media has continued to grow its catalogue and expand its reach in the gaming industry. 

As they regularly release new titles and updates to existing franchises, they maintain a loyal and dedicated fan base. Although they are based in Germany, Kalypso Media has a global presence, with offices in various locations, including East Midlands city, Leicester. There is great potential to become a part of the studio’s up-and-coming projects, such as Commando’s: Origins.  


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Bulkhead Interactive 

Founded in 2015, Bulkhead Interactive is based in Derby. One of Bulkhead Interactive’s earliest projects was Pneuma: Breath of Life, a first-person puzzle game released in 2015 for PC and Xbox One. The game received positive reviews for its puzzles and outstanding atmosphere. 

Bulkhead Interactive garnered widespread attention within the industry, and players, with the development of Battalion 1944, a multiplayer first-person shooter inspired by classic World War II shooters. The game began as a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign in 2016, surpassing its funding goal. Following the release of Battalion 1944, Bulkhead Interactive has expanded its team and worked on new projects. While details about their upcoming projects have been relatively scarce, the studio has expressed a commitment to creating innovative and engaging gaming experiences while diverting to a solely first-person shooter-based studio.

Boasting a self-proclaimed title, “the next big shooter studio” it’s no wonder that this is a studio to look out for within the East Midlands. Having had a streak of great success over the last decade, opportunities in game development are likely to not be as scarce as the details of their upcoming projects. 


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Want to study games development in Lincolnshire?

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Lincolnshire can be a difficult place to live if you want to be a Games Developer, but Access Creative College Lincoln can help you to start a successful career in the gaming industry.

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Last updated on: 29th May 2024