Game for change

It’s been a year of big hap­pen­ings for the Ot­tawa gam­ing com­pany for­merly known as Gl­itch­soft.

Ottawa Business Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM PECHLOFF

When you work with some­one like Dis­ney and (Lu­cas­film) … they don’t just work with small stu­dios. You have to be able to fire with their level. We’ve been able to do that as part of our scal­ing. A lot of that came through ex­tremely long hours of the team here get­ting fa­mil­iar­ity with their pro­cesses, hon­ing our skill set ...We are now op­er­at­ing at that level, fully func­tional there, ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing at that level for lit­er­ally any­one.

– GI­GATAUR CEO AN­DREW FISHER

It’s been a year of great change for the Ot­tawa gam­ing com­pany for­merly known as Gl­itch­soft.

The firm has a new name, Gi­gataur, and a new game, Star

Wars Rebels: Re­con Mis­sions,

which Dis­ney launched in the spring.

Gi­gataur’s CEO, An­drew Fisher, says it was a tes­ta­ment to his team that the com­pany has ad­vanced to the point it can part­ner with “the big­gest en­ter­tain­ment brand” in the world.

“As the CEO, I’d love to say I had a huge part in this.” he says. “I rubbed some shoul­ders, I bought some lunches. It re­ally was the team that made this hap­pen.

“When you work with some­one like Dis­ney and (Lu­cas­film) … they don’t just work with small stu­dios. You have to be able to fire with their level. We’ve been able to do that as part of our scal­ing. A lot of that came through ex­tremely long hours of the team here get­ting fa­mil­iar­ity with their pro­cesses, hon­ing our skill set ...We are now op­er­at­ing at that level, fully func­tional there, ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing at that level for lit­er­ally any­one.”

Now that the com­pany and its 30 staff have grown to this level, Mr. Fisher and chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Wes Tam both say a name change was nec­es­sary to re­flect that.

Mr. Fisher says Gl­itch­soft was a great in­de­pen­dent stu­dio name, but the word “glitch” of­ten has a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion.

“That wasn’t how we were por­tray­ing it,” he ex­plains. “Glitches in games are ac­tu­ally quite fun things and peo­ple go out of their way to find them.”

Mr. Tam says the com­pany de­cided on the name Gl­itch­soft in 2009 be­cause it was edgy and con­trary to the main­stream.

“But now we’re work­ing with a lot of triple-A brand part­ners, in­clud­ing Lu­cas­film and Marvel, and again just get­ting to the ta­ble with these clients re­quires a name that res­onates with these com­pa­nies a lit­tle bit more,” he says.

Even though the Gl­itch­soft name is gone, the edge can re­main as the com­pany con­tin­ues push­ing bound­aries, he adds.

Gi­gataur was a name that res­onated with all the founders, Mr. Fisher says.

“It had the roots of the mean­ings of the words that we liked, in terms of they were both cre­ative and pow­er­ful,” he says, adding the do­main name gi­gataur.com was also avail­able.

Work on the Star Wars pro­ject be­gan nearly two years ago, and the com­pany has tripled in size since then.

Mr. Fisher says ex­pan­sion is “con­tin­ual,” not­ing Gi­gataur is look­ing at adding other satel­lite of­fices like the one it al­ready has in China, so it can ac­cess other crit­i­cal mar­kets in the mo­bile world.

The Star Wars pro­ject is not a one-shot deal. Mr. Tam says he ex­pects Gi­gataur will up­date con­tent in the game over the next year or two.

The Dis­ney part­ner­ship will also open doors to more new op­por­tu­ni­ties to go along with other projects al­ready un­der­way, Mr. Tam and Mr. Fisher say.

“Those are things that we’re tem­per­ing; we have to man­age our ca­pac­ity and (po­ten­tial) burnout be­cause there have been a lot of hard hours to get us to this date,” says Mr. Fisher, “but we do, we have a whole bunch of (other op­por­tu­ni­ties) and we’re start­ing to fig­ure out which ones we want to pri­or­i­tize as a team, and we will con­tinue to ex­e­cute on those.

“We re­ally have to choose the right one for us. It’s a lit­tle hard when you just come off work­ing on your dream pro­ject … to choose what’s the next ‘pas­sion’ one we want to go af­ter. We are chas­ing some of those. At the same time, there’s ones that we think might be more strate­gic.”

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