Kate Adam in Investment


Interview: Auroch Digital's Tomas Rawlings on Business Loan Funding and Staying Creative

Bristol based games studio Auroch Digital have a lot going on. 

In between developing games, hosting events and providing consultancy work, the team are in the midst of prepping for the release of their first title for a major brand, the Games Workshop feature ‘Dark Future: Blood Red States’. 

Having applied for our interest free business loan programme, the team are going from strength to strength. To find out more, we spoke to Auroch’s Design and Production Director Tomas Rawlings about upcoming work, funding application advice and how to successfully transition from ‘Work for Hire’ to creating your own games…

Hi Tomas, can you give us a brief history of Auroch Digital?

Auroch has been around for around five years now. We started as a games consultancy, expanded into development and grew from there. We currently have four video games in development right now. We also made a name for ourselves in applied gaming by running the innovative newsgaming initiative GameTheNews.

What have been a few of your company highlights so far?

We're currently running our first Kickstarter campaign – a project to create an exciting game around the US presidential elections. It's been a real buzz doing that so far!

We had one of our games named in The Guardian's 50 apps that are reinventing mobile gaming which was fantastic and we've had a couple of award nominations and such, which is always exciting to get.

However, the highlight is always when a game goes live and we see people playing it and engaging with it – that's always the best feeling!

How did Business Loan funding impact the future of Auroch?

It's allowed us to expand the team and take on a much more ambitious project. That game is a partnership with Games Workshop - 'Dark Future: Blood Red States' - and while we're still deep in development, it's very exciting to see it progress and we're really stoked for when we can share more about it with people. It's going to be one of the most technically advanced and innovative projects to date. It gave us a capital boost right when we needed it.

What advice would you offer other studios who may be applying for similar funding?

Plan it in. Yes it's great to be able to get a lump sum but make sure you've thought about both how it's going to be used and how it will be paid back. We're in a risky industry and better planning helps mitigate that risk.

Your new title has been Greenlit by Xbox - what advice do you have for small companies who may be working with larger, more established brands for the first time?

The indie-focused people at Xbox have been great to work with and it seems like the overall plan for that console is to continue to make it easier for indie developers to publish on it, so it's definitely a much more open platform than it once was. However you need to be professional with platform holders, so take the time to make sure you know what's going on on that system as best you possibly can.

What advice do you have for making the transition from ‘work for hire’ to independent studio?

Have a plan! ‘Work for Hire’ does bring income and your own projects - while exciting - are going out into an extremely competitive space. So look at not only how you'll approach development but also marketing, distribution and community support.

Game development, consultancy, events - Auroch seems to do a lot. How important do you feel it is for studios to be flexible and open to all opportunities in today’s creative climate?

Being creative and flexible is not only a great choice as a company but it's a way to thrive and grow in a competitive space. We pride ourselves on this, our knowledge in where gaming meets the real world and also understanding platforms and players. That's who we are. Developers should definitely be asking themselves “what's my studio's identity?”

What does 2016 hold for Auroch Digital?

At the moment we've got our election game – so do please check it out – but following on from that we've got the launch of 'Last Days of Old Earth' and 'Dark Future: Blood Red States'. There is much much more in the pipeline too!

Find out how you can apply for an Interest Free Business Loan or Equity Funding from Creative England.

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