Sponsored By

Atomicom changes name to Starlight Games, gains Wipeout co-creator Nick Burcombe

More a relaunch than a rebrand, Starlight already has multiple projects in development as it leaves work-for-hire behind.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 22, 2024

2 Min Read
Unnamed character from the teaser trailer for Starlight Games' unannounced project.
Image via Starlight Games.

At a Glance

  • Starlight doesn't just want to focus on its own original work, it also wants to help future UK game devs thrive.

UK developer Atomicom is no more, and Starlight Games has been formed in its wake. Headed up by Psygnosis and alum Gary Nichols, the new-ish studio already has gained a big hire in design director NIck Burcombe.

Per GamesIndustry, Starlight will effectively replace Atomicom as a developer. The entire team will remain intact, and they'll still operate in the same Liverpool office.

Burcombe, who co-created the original Wipeout, is heading up development on a futuristic sports game. Starlight also has a strategy sci-fi project in the works, along with multiple Unreal Engine Fortnite experiences.

Currently, Starlight has no deals in place with a major publisher. Deals it hoped to land in 2023 fell through because they weren't "mutually beneficial," said Nichols, who stressed the developer want to take deals where everybody profits.

"The industry is evolving away from that old model, I feel," he said, "and we must adapt."

Starlight aims to be a studio focused on its own work, and wanted the investment that comes with the pivot. Its debut game is House of Golf 2, whose predecessor was made under the Atomicom banner.

Starlight invests in the UK industry's future

Along with making a name for itself with its own properties, Starlight wants to foster new industry talent.

Talking to GamesIndustry, Nichols explained it's "working closely" with young developers making the UEFN projects. At Starlight, those students are given "a place to learn and excel at while they do their final year of their degree."

"It's a tough time, our approach is to go out and look," Nichols highlights. "We go to open days at universities, we talk to lecturers and try to find the people that are passionate and motivated and have talent, to help them shine."

Hiring is rough these days, both in games and in general. What gives him hope is programs like the UK Games Fund, which recently gave £3 million in grants to nearly two dozen upstart studios.

Even amidst the "noise" of the industry, Nichols highlighted Atomicom's success with game dev students. Several hires from a local university went on to graduate and are now at Starlight full-time or found employment in the UK's game sphere.

More newer recruits have taken on "a lot of responsibility," and led the charge on implementing recent UE5 tech changes. Nichols was adamant people like this are everywhere, his studio just had the drive to "go out and look [for them]."

"We want to also embrace new talent within the studio across different roles, helping give the new generation of passionate game developers a chance to get into the games industry. [...] It's great to watch how they develop their skills and experience."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like