A Saskatoon game studio has proven that you don't need to move to Silicon Valley to publish games on the big platforms. Noodlecake Studios has released their latest game Slash Quest on the subscription service Apple Arcade on Friday.
"It's pretty big," said Ryan Holowaty, Noodlecake's chief operating officer.
"We have built this great relationship with companies like Apple and Google and stuff over the years. So it was an honour that they came to us and wanted to, you know, have us have a home on Apple Arcade."
Slash Quest is the fourth game of the Saskatoon company on Apple Arcade. The game subscription service has been up and running for only a year, offering "hand-selected games by Apple," Holowaty said.
Different than the standard fantasy adventure
Instead of the usual hero characters such as knights or wizards, the players of Slash Quest slip into the role of a talking sword that has to guide a hapless shepherd through some crazy adventures.
"It's a pretty fun, unique twist on the genre that a lot of people are familiar with," said Holowaty.
While it is a family friendly game, it's not just for children but "made for everybody."
Unlike many other businesses that have been suffering during the pandemic, the small game studio saw an increase of around 20 per cent in both downloads and revenue in March and April, according to Holowaty. Since then numbers have stabilized again.
No need to move to Silicon Valley
The local studio, which was founded in 2011, works with game developers from around the world. Their latest game was a cooperation with a Brazilian company called Big Green Pillow.
Thanks to the internet, Noodlecake Studios can work with different international partners and doesn't need to leave Saskatchewan for southern California to make games, Holowaty said.
"We talked about it lots and had a lot of people pitch us to come down there," he said.
They decided to stay close to home and family instead of paying high rents in the Silicon Valley.
"You don't need to go down there to be a successful tech company."
Courses for future game developers are available in Saskatoon, such as a bachelor degree in interactive systems design at the University of Saskatchewan. Noodlecake Studios hired four new people to join their team during the pandemic.
"There is lots of great talent right here at home," Holowaty said.
With files from Saskatoon Morning