SEGA-owned gaming company Relic Entertainment has unveiled its new headquarters — a three-floor, 47,000 sq. ft. space in the heart of Mount Pleasant. The space features a natural design, an in-house 4k theatre room, board game lounges, and a 100-person community hub space.
As previously reported by Daily Hive, Relic Entertainment remains one of the oldest gaming companies in Vancouver. Its 20-year run is a rare hallmark in a space that has seen the shuttering of many mid-sized gaming studios over the years. Sitting at just under 250 staff, the company plans to grow steadily to a headcount of 330 over the next five years. This year alone, Relic has added over 50 people.
“We don’t have any plans to stop anytime soon,” Relic Entertainment COO, Heidi Eaves, told Daily Hive in a sit-down interview.
“The barrier for us isn’t the space, it’s how competitive the industry is.”
Eaves recognizes that there is a vibrant video game industry in Vancouver, and competition for experienced technical workers can also extend into other industries. While local and US companies are starting to build an incredible tech hub, “right now there simply aren’t enough people to go around.”
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Space to Flex
Known for real-time strategy video games (RTS), Relic’s new studio design breaks from the typical glass and cool minimalism of most high-tech offices. “Employees felt like it needed to be warm,” says Eaves.
Designed in collaboration with Vancouver-based DIALOG, the studio breathes a comfortable, lived-in aesthetic, with prevalent use of wood, plants, and other natural materials.
“A huge part of the RTS genre is wayfinding and helping guide players on their adventure, which is an idea we wanted to incorporate into the design of the space,” remarks Eaves. As you step out of the elevator, yellow walls and angular ceilings subtly suggest paths to common areas.
A three year undertaking in the making, initial consultation was done to determine how Relicans would use the space to do their best work. Additional meeting rooms and phone rooms litter each floor, some bookable in advance, others drop-in only — a balance that reflects the spontaneous nature of collaboration.
Lounges on each floor cater to individual passions. There are walls of board games, a playtest room with live streaming capabilities, and craft tables for painting miniatures—which became a popular hobby during the studio’s time working on the franchise title, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.
“We have so many subsets of passions and interests within the staff—we wanted to give everyone a home for them,” says Eaves.
Many active clubs are self-driven by passionate employees, and assisted by the recent roll-out of an enhanced benefits package, including robust wellness spending accounts. The aim is to make it easier for staff and their families to keep healthy, regardless of activity or gear required.
Mount Pleasant Perks
“We didn’t want to be too far away from the downtown core, as staff have figured out where they want to live, in proximity to the office. However, we didn’t feel like we needed to be right downtown. Mount Pleasant is very central, and an easy transportation hub. There’s something for everyone,” says Eaves.
The studio has rolled out a Relic Perks Passport, providing discounts to dozens of local businesses and amenities. Neighbourhood faves Jinya Ramen Bar, Rocanini Coffee Roasters, and Tacofino are among some of the participating restaurants. The company also sources from Solly’s and Duffin’s for their sacred donuts and bagels Fridays.
Other perks include twice-a-week delivery of fruits and vegetables from SPUD. Beer on tap may be a given, but so are coconut water and other healthy choices.
There are other perks of occupying in a new, purpose-built building, including 10gb Internet speeds across the entire studio. There’s a rooftop BBQ situation for the summer, and towel service and showers for those wanting an active commute. There are plenty of quieter spaces too, like the studio’s library, to accommodate a wide variety of working styles.
“Relic is a place where you can get feedback, share your expertise, be heard and belong,” says Eaves. “We wanted to create a place where people can bring their true selves to work.”
Relic Entertainment is located on 285 West 5th Ave in Mount Pleasant. The studio is currently hiring, and is expected to grow steadily over the next few years.