Avalanche: New York was the cheaper option
Swedish developer Avalanche Studios has explained its choice of New York City as the location for its US studio, telling us that it was more cost-effective than setting up on the west coast.
The studio announced its US operation, Avalanche Studios New York, last week. An accompanying press release explained that the new studio would focus on "large-scale, online-enabled original IP", with its first project an unannounced triple-A title to release on next-generation hardware in 2014.
In an interview, newly installed managing director David Grijns tells us why the studio opted for New York instead of the US development heartland of California.
"We've done our homework," he says. "You see a lot of people posting on forums saying: 'What are these guys thinking? New York is the most expensive city in the world'.
"Let's say we were going to set up Avalanche in Santa Monica. Every time we wanted to hire a render programmer, an experienced animator or a good lighting artist, we would be competing with a hundred other studios within a 25 square mile radius. Which means that same render programmer is going to cost us about 30 per cent more than it would to hire the same person in New York.
"The whole cost factor is really only talking about infrastructure costs: it's not a reference to staff costs, and that's really where we think there are some savings that sort of even the playing field a little bit."
New York's relative proximity to Avalanche's Stockholm headquarters was another factor. "It's a nine-hour time difference between LA and Stockholm, which means that when people are getting into the office in the morning in LA people are going home at night in Stockholm," Grijns explains. "That actually is a massive logistical issue, and the difference in flight times is huge."
Elsewhere in the interview, Grijns and Avalanche co-founder Christofer Sundberg tell us why they have cause to believe new hardware will be released in 2014, their thoughts on Wii U, Rockstar, and tax breaks, and how Edge magazine first brought the two together. See here for the full interview.