An interview with external game development company Virtuos

Jake DiGennaro, Chief Revenue Officer of Virtuos kindly provided answers for this interview and clarified the company’s role in involved projects.
Virtuos's Jake smiling

Virtuos is a global game development company, specializing in game development and art production for AAA titles for consoles, PC, and mobile. The company works as an external developer for other companies and has worked with some of the largest game publishers and developers across the globe.

Founded in Shanghai in 2004 and headquartered in Singapore, with studios and operations in Canada, Asia Pacific, Europe, Ireland, and the US, Virtuos is one of the largest and most prolific video game developers in the world today. 

Virtuos offers both game development and art production services. The company has worked on many high-profile projects, such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West,  Call of Duty: Warzone, Dark Souls Remastered, Demon’s Souls Remake, The Outer Worlds, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and many more.

While rarely noticed by players, Virtuos’ work is vital in bringing the games and projects it works on to life. To shed some light on Virtuos’ work, we asked the company for some clarification on how it became so successful, what it does, and how. 

Jake DiGennaro, Chief Revenue Officer of Virtuos, was so kind to provide answers.

Afra Örter: How did Virtuos as a company become so successful, and what do you think drove your success?

“While there are a variety of factors that contribute to any company’s success, if one were to try and summarize, you need not look further than our motto of “we make games better, together”. We have, since the beginning, approached game development as a series of partnerships – between Virtuos and our clients, our employees across studios, and between different production and support departments. Based on our experience and learnings from the industry, we see that the best results are achieved when everyone has a role to play and when we’re all acting in harmony with one another, the potential is limitless.”

Afra Örter: We understand that Virtuos works as an external developer for other companies. Can you explain to our readers the process of co-development and some challenges it entails?

“Ultimately, it all boils down to constant and effective communication in a co-development arrangement, whether it’s with our clients or within our teams. We believe that close collaboration to the extent of having our teams fully integrated into our partners’ teams and processes is a key driver of success. 

Both internal and external development face fundamentally similar challenges such as defining project scopes and time management, given that we’re all working towards a common product goal with complementary objectives to achieve. However, one unique factor that sets external development apart is the variety of titles we get to work on and experience, and thus, learn from one project to apply to another.”

Afra Örter: How much creative freedom do you get in the co-development process?

“While it depends on the nature of the given project, we are generally granted a high degree of creative freedom within the framework of the set objective. We work with our partners to first define the “what”, then are given tremendous leniency in determining the “how” that best leverages the knowledge, experience, and talent we mobilize.” 

Afra Örter: Your company has worked on many very different and unique games. How much does your workflow change from one game to the next, and what exactly causes this change?

“Quite a bit, in fact. While our internal processes are very stable in terms of day-to-day operations, we always aim to adapt and accommodate the needs of different projects from production methodologies to the required technologies. 

Others may see that as a major challenge, but we see it as a part of the Virtuos DNA – adaptability is a defining characteristic of ours that makes us special. We engage with a broad variety of game development tools, techniques, and engines, touch virtually every genre and art style, and are thus generally more flexible in our production mindset and approach.”

Afra Örter: Which project has been the most difficult and challenging, and why?

“Every game development project has its moment of “I’m not sure how this is going to come together”, which is not unique to Virtuos or external development. While there isn’t a specific project that comes to mind as “the most challenging”, what I can say is that transitions in console hardware always present unique hurdles to overcome. The hardware specs are still in flux, new features are still being tested, and even the certification pipeline goes through major overhauls – it often feels as though we’re laying the track right in front of the speeding train. Ultimately, it does always come together thanks to the perseverance of the development team, as well as the ongoing support of the console platform team.“

We thank Virtuos and Jake for their participation in this interview and wish them further success in the coming years.

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