International independent videogame firm Cloud Imperium Games — developer of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 — has announced it will open a new game development studio in Manchester’s Enterprise City district, scheduled for May 2022.
The Manchester studio will create more than 700 jobs in the metropolitan area by 2023, and over 1,000 within the next five years.
Founded in 2012 by game developer Chris Roberts, Cloud Imperium Games says it “continues to shift the paradigm of the game development process, offering its community an unprecedented level of visibility and interaction with product development.”
The company currently employs more than 700 people worldwide, with 400 based at its current UK studio headquartered in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
The Wilmslow team will relocate to the new headquarters at the heart of the Enterprise City district in Manchester Goods Yard – a media, tech and creative cluster.
Cloud Imperium Games is headquartered in Los Angeles and has studios in Austin, Texas; Frankfurt, Germany; Montreal, Canada, and the UK.
Cloud Imperium CEO Games Chris Roberts said: “Manchester is where I started my video game career, when I was hired to write the Game of the Month for BBC Micro User, back in 1983 at the ripe age of 14, so it makes me very happy to announce that we have signed a long-term deal for our biggest office yet, in downtown Manchester.
“Manchester is one of the most vibrant and modern cities in Europe, with strong education links and high connectivity, offering outstanding opportunities and quality of life for our team.
“The new Enterprise City space is the perfect home for game development, with its deep investment in businesses focused on media, technology and creativity.
“Manchester joins Los Angeles, Austin and Frankfurt as home to Cloud Imperium’s team, working in partnership with our community of players on Star Citizen and Squadron 42.”
Michael Ingall, CEO of Allied London, the property development company spearheading Enterprise City, said: “We specifically targeted Cloud Imperium as a model business that we can support and help grow at Enterprise City.
“We have a unique inventory that can excel media, creative and tech businesses, and we have worked with CIG to find a real estate solution that ensures they can create an environment that supports a business case move to Manchester.
“CIG is one the most creative tech businesses to land in Manchester and we will help its team create a ‘universe’ for its exceptionally talented workforce.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is an ambitious tech hub and has become a magnet for digital talent, with a community of industry pioneers, specialist academics and creative minds.
“We look forward to welcoming Cloud Imperium Games to the city-region in 2022 – in a move set to bring 1000 jobs over the next five years, along with the opportunity for the region to play a new role in the future of gaming.”
Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, continue its long-term funding partnership with Allied London to create Phase 1 of Enterprise City.
Allied London was advised by Shoosmiths, led by real estate partner Daniel Monaghan and supported by senior associate Laura Green.
Daniel Monaghan, real estate partner at Shoosmiths, said: “This deal has the potential to create up to 1,000 new jobs – boosting the North West economy and showing that Manchester is a prime location for growing, ambitious businesses.
“Allied London is creating a new hub for modern industry with Enterprise City and we look forward to supporting the firm as it attracts further businesses from the tech, media and creative sectors.”