Halo maker SkyBox Labs opens 3 studio offices in Burnaby and Victoria

Aug 17 2022, 3:03 am

Sustained confidence in British Columbia’s game development talent and a continuous project pipeline in the horizon have prompted SkyBox Labs to undergo a major studio office expansion at three locations.

The BC-based company recently opened a 20,000 sq ft space at the Solo District office space at 2025 Willingdon Avenue, located next to SkyTrain Brentwood Town Centre Station in Burnaby. This office was previously located nearby at 4190 Lougheed Highway, which is now set to be demolished for the Gilmore Place complex.

Another 12,000 sq ft location opened in the Sovereign building at 4501 Kingsway Avenue in Burnaby’s Metrotown district.

A third office location has also opened at Market Square in downtown Victoria.

All of these expansion spaces combined will allow SkyBox Labs to grow to over 250 staff in 2022, with added positions for engineers, designers, producers, and artists.

SkyBox Labs is perhaps best known for being the co-maker of 2021’s Halo Infinite, along with a range of titles such as Halo 5, Fallout 76, Stela, Project Spark, UFC, Grandia II Anniversary Edition, and various versions of Minecraft and Age of Empires.

“With Halo Infinite, our team was able to showcase more than just our engineering skills. We’ve been fortunate to contribute to the title’s UX/UI, design, animation, character art, environment art, lighting, tech art, production, and QA,” said Shyang Kong, co-founder of SkyBox Labs.

“The new studio spaces will give us ample room to grow as we continue to work on Halo Infinite and more.”

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SkyBox Labs office in Metrotown. (SkyBox Labs)

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SkyBox Labs office in Solo District/Brentwood. (SkyBox Labs)

The company notes that it has a number of upcoming unannounced titles, including partner projects and internal intellectual properties. To date, its project partners have entailed global giants such as Wizards of the Coast, Electronic Arts, and of course, Xbox Game Studios.

With Halo Infinite, for example, SkyBox Labs established a very close working partnership with 343 Industries, another game development studio. While studios partnering together on a game development project typically follow a compartmentalized organizational and workflow structure, Kong essentially described a working relationship that saw both companies joined to the hip, with the two teams instead working “shoulder to shoulder” as one.

“As a rapidly growing studio, we’re at a great size to take on large-scale projects, but we also have the flexibility to make sure that we’re working on the right projects,” Kong told Daily Hive Venture.

“To us this means not only choosing meaningful work that we know will have an impact on our team members’ growth, but also projects from studios that we love to work with on franchises that we love to play.”

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SkyBox Labs office in Metrotown. (SkyBox Labs)

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SkyBox Labs office in Metrotown. (SkyBox Labs)

Kong adds that SkyBox Labs is confident on the long-term capability of local post-secondary institutions with churning out the required steady supply of skilled talent in all aspects of game development.

Kong also emphasizes that his firm strives to take proactive measures that steer their staff away from falling into the strenuous “crunch” — a mandatory overtime to complete the game development process.

“A healthy work-life balance is crucial to our studio’s success. We provide flexible working hours to accommodate time with family, and promote exercise and self-care. To avoid crunch, we work closely with our partners, focusing on project planning,” said Kong.

“Through planning we’re able to mitigate a lot of the ambiguities that can come with building a game, and place our team members in roles where they’ll be successful. The psychological safety of our team members is extremely important to us. We believe that reasonable workloads and achievable deadlines are motivating and productive.”

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SkyBox Labs office in Victoria. (SkyBox Labs)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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