Just down the street from the Centre for Digital Media, a couple of Cohort 1 graduates are making a name for themselves in Vancouver’s burgeoning digital media sector. Mike Cornford, Director of Business Development at V7 Entertainment, a post-MDM startup just two years young, sits down and begins to discuss an upcoming release they’re working on.
“We’ve been developing the proprietary game engine and title over the past 18 months and plan to release via digital distribution later this year,” notes Cornford. “It’s been an awesome ride working with a major motion picture studio, technology providers and some of the rising stars of the industry. The future looks bright.”
While he couldn’t divulge too many of the game’s details, due to the often sensitive nature of game production and distribution, he did reveal that they were working on a piece of cult-classic intellectual property with a “major motion picture company,” that will be sure to get any good Canadian kid’s heart pumping. The game, which will be destined for Xbox Live Arcade, is slated for release in late 2012.
Although V7 has only been around for a few years (in fact, June represents their two-year anniversary), they have managed steady growth, were named one of BC’s ‘Ready to Rocket’ companies in 2012, and have built HIVE2, an innovative game engine. The “robust, multifaceted, expandable game engine” is designed to streamline production by supporting real-time rendering and allowing producers and designers to participate more in the programming process. According to Mike Torillo, Director of Production, Karthik Venkateshan, Director of Technology, and Cornford, much of the engine’s ethos came from the time they spent at the Centre for Digital Media.
“It’s all about rapid prototyping today. The faster we can design, create and test what we’re making, the better our competitive advantage,” says Mike Cornford.
The group – which also includes MDM Alumni Ken Zheng (Creative/3D & Art Director), Elmar dela Cruz (Art Director), Matthew Schade (Game Artist and Designer) and Vincent Yang (Senior 3D Artist) – all met while pursuing their Masters of Digital Media. After spending a few years feeling out the industry, they all felt the need to do something different. Fittingly, Cornford noted the distinct entrepreneurial spirit found at the school:
“You know, I think a lot of people wanted to go and work for the big studios, and most of us did, but we all knew that we were going to start our own thing after some industry experience. Together, that experience and MDM program brought us to where we are today.”
The team at V7, which started as a like-minded group of six, has since grown to 10 members and is currently looking to expand operations and bring on a few more software engineers. Making the most of incubation space won in the Generator 1.0 Challenge at Discovery Parks, just down the street from the Centre for Digital Media (and also home to another MDM startup, Shailah Interactive), V7 has since moved upstairs to SFU Venture Labs, where they have set up shop and plan to continue their expansion. With a major release on the horizon powered by a unique, proprietary game engine, continued growth shouldn’t be a problem.