Simon Iwaniszak is the Studio Director and founder of Red Kite Games. He credits the support of everyone at Red Kite for their success, and sees his job as making the studio a great place to work. The studio has produced work that has been globally recognised with recent co-developments including Hogwarts Legacy and Fall Guys. Simon was one of the first members to join Game Republic when public funding ran out. Simon is a regular at all the events as well as a consistent supporter of the Student Showcase. Red Kite Games support SpecialEffect and is a company known for its friendly and collaborative approach. In a recent panel to help new graduates get into industry Simon commented that one of the key questions for potential new team members is whether they want to make friends at work.
What is great about working in the games industry?
Put simply, games are fun! Playing them is fun and making them is fun. Getting to make games that provide millions of people with entertainment is a worthwhile endeavour. At Red Kite we get to be creative and play with cutting edge technology each and every day. Also, the people, in our industry are just the best, you can make lifelong friends, doing something you love.
Getting your dream job can take time. I now employ and have employed plenty of people who didn’t find their ‘games industry home’ straight away. Keep refining your craft and stick with it!
What words of advice do you have for people starting out in the games sector?
Making games is hard. Whichever discipline you’re in be it programming, art, design, etc. they all take dedication, talent and skill.
I can’t overstate how important it is to be resilient and persevere. Getting your dream job can take time. I now employ and have employed plenty of people who didn’t find their ‘games industry home’ straight away. Keep refining your craft and stick with it!
What has Red Kite Games been doing in the region to support the games industry?
Red Kite has always been a great supporter of our regional games industry. Our team of more than 80 developers live and work in Yorkshire making us one of the region’s largest employers. Since founding Red Kite more than a decade ago, we’ve been actively engaging with regional educational providers. In this time we’ve hired dozens and dozens of local graduates as well as offered advice on course structure.
As you know Red Kite’s a passionate supporter of Game Republic for many years now. We also support Grads In Games which helps students find their first industry jobs. We support the Ahead Partnership and their Growing Talent Digital Leeds scheme which helps young people in our region into careers in tech and digital.
Red Kite has had the privilege to work on some of the biggest and best games of recent years. Games like Hogwarts Legacy and Fall Guys are co-developed right here in Yorkshire.
What has been a highlight of your career so far for the industry?
Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one! Throughout my entire career I’ve had the honour of helping to create incredible games with equally incredible people. If I had to pick, I would say setting up Red Kite Games and watching the studio, plus those involved flourish. It’s been truly heart-warming to see the studio continue to grow, expand and evolve over the years. However, I’m also hopeful that I’ve many more highlights to come!
Since Red Kite’s founding we’ve not let go a single person and continue to have an extremely low turnover rate. We’ve always put our people first and will continue to do so.
What influence do you think Red Kite Games and similar types of organisation are having on region?
Red Kite provides stable jobs in our region. Since Red Kite’s founding we’ve not let go a single person and continue to have an extremely low turnover rate. We’ve always put our people first and will continue to do so. By keeping people on we’re allowing and encouraging them to thrive within our region.
What do you think of the role of Game Republic?
Jamie knows that Game Republic holds a special place in my heart and it always will. Red Kite has been partnered with Game Republic for more than 11 years now. When we were finding our feet in the early days Game Republic helped us get out to our first GDC. Since then, Red Kite has grown but the support of the Game Republic network is still just as valuable to us. I can’t imagine the Yorkshire game dev scene without Jamie and Game Republic.
Why is the region a good place to do business?
Yorkshire can often get overlooked when it comes to game development. But there’s plenty of highly reputable games companies here employing thousands of talented developers. As mentioned earlier some of the biggest games in the world have been developed and co-developed right here in our region. But arguably most important and unique to Yorkshire is the sense of friendly camaraderie here. We celebrate each other’s successes and also help each other when we can.
What projects are coming up?
The last 12 months have been huge for Red Kite. We’ve continued to grow the team and seen two of our most critically acclaimed co-development projects released – Hogwarts Legacy and Fall Guys.
We’re continuing to support SpecialEffect as they work to transform the lives of people with physical challenges across the world. We’ve been supporting SpecialEffect for many years now and being an Ambassador for the charity, it’s something that I’m really passionate about.
Something else that I’m excited about is Red Kite’s continued growth. This year we’ve begun renovating a new studio space in our lovely Leeds based home, Park Row House. This studio space will allow us to expand the team, hire more fantastic game developers and take on more cool projects.