New studio Timbre Games promises to create a diverse, community-focused environment

Timbre is Sumo Group's first Canadian studio and could signal a change in the city's development scene.

Pipeworks Studios, a Sumo Group business, announced the formation of Timbre Games, a new game development company in Vancouver, British Columbia, aiming to create a transparent environment that puts diverse community voices first. Former EA vice president and Capcom Games Studio Vancouver director Joe Nickolls is Timbre Games’ president, while former Gears of War production director Zoë Curnoe joins as studio production director, and Company of Heroes 2 creative director Geoff Coates will be Timbre’s own creative director.

"We couldn't be more thrilled that Timbre Games is the first of our new studios,” Pipeworks CEO Lindsay Gupton said in the statement. “We’re inspired by the team's vision and confident they will not only create truly fun games but do so in an inclusive environment where voices are heard and employees thrive.”

Timbre is the first new studio started under Pipeworks, and is Sumo Group’s first Canadian development house. The announcement follows a spree of new studio openings and acquisitions over the past few years; in 2019 alone, Sumo opened two new studios and acquired Red Kite. While no games have been announced yet, a press release from Timbre said the studio will focus on action, adventure, and simulation games. 

Timbre said its goal is threefold. The first guiding principle is fostering a diverse environment. Timbre said it’s committed to building diversity into “its DNA” from the studio’s inception by seeking talent from multiple backgrounds. The company will partner with local schools and other communities to help “bring in diverse voices… resulting in a healthy and productive work environment and phenomenal games everyone will want to play.”

These new voices will also help with Timbre’s second goal of creating a cross-discipline team emphasizing communication and shared ideas.

““We want people to suggest things even if it’s not their area of responsibility,” Coates said. “A truly collaborative team where there is a lot of trust.”

While the extent of Timbre’s collaboration with the Vancouver community remains to be seen, it’s a sign of positive change for the area. In 2019, GameDaily reported the once-thriving Vancouver development scene was at a pivotal crossroads, one marked by what seemed like an exodus of developers.

The third key goal is working with the player community, as Timbre said it will seek community feedback on its projects as soon as development begins. GameDaily reached out for comment on this proposed process but did not hear back by the time of publication.

“Having the community be a part of the process is something we feel is very important to how we approach development,” Curnoe said in the announcement. “This will allow us to pivot early and make a better game in the end.”

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News Writer

Josh is a freelance reporter and critic who’s appeared on PC Gamer, Upload VR, and SPIN online, among others. Outside of games writing and work in digital marketing, he also has an academic background in history and public relations. You can usually find him outside playing with his Belgian Malinois when he’s not working or spending too much time in Final Fantasy XIV.