During a recent Gamasutra Twitch stream, The Long Dark game director and Hinterland Studio founder Raphael van Lierop explained why he chose to establish a studio space for his growing team.
Curiously, he says the aim wasn't to bring every Hinterland staffer in-house. In fact, people can still work remotely if they wish. The studio's real purpose is to make communication easier while giving employees the flexibility to create their perfect work environment.
"What you realize when you work in a large studio environment -- you know, at a Ubisoft or a Relic with a larger team -- is that [working remotely] isn't really a discussion point. The expectation is that everybody's going to work together in the same environment and you just make it work," he explains.
"When you have a smaller studio that's your own studio, and you can give people the choice, you start to realize quickly that not everybody really enjoys to work in that context. You have people with different cuts of personalities, and that's something I've even discovered about myself over the last few years."
There are ebbs and flows during game development, and Lierop himself admits there are times when he'd rather hide away and work things out himself, and other instances when he's happy to chew the fat and collaborate with co-workers. It's about letting people find their comfort zone.
"I tend to be a little bit introverted as well, so I like to step back into my shell and go through my creative process and think about what needs to happen. Then I come out of it and I want to interact with people and be boisterous and talk to them and whatnot," continues Lierop, talking about how he tackles different development challenges.
"When you work in a traditional office environment you don't really have that choice. You're forced into one or the other. So I think it's really great that we can offer that option, as long as everybody understands the importance of communication and collaboration, and can come out of that shell."