New San Diego studio will be led by longtime local game executive Tom Casey
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has opened a new gaming studio in Carlsbad, joining a bubbling hub of developers in the region working on mobile titles.
WB Games is best known for its DC and Harry Potter games, including the recent augmented reality title Wizards Unite. Game of Thrones: Conquest is one of the studio’s bigger hits, grossing $214 million in revenue as of May.
The new studio, which is making free-to-play mobile games, is hiring new workers across “all disciplines,” from art and design to business and engineering, said Tom Casey, the vice president and studio head at WB Games in Boston. Casey will also be leading the San Diego team. The studio has 15 job openings listed on its website.
The new office is based in coastal Carlsbad on North State Street, about four blocks from the ocean. The company did not disclose its exact location, but Casey said the office is a temporary spot while they search for a permanent space. He said they intend to stay near the Coaster train station for easy commutes.
“We want to be able to hop on the Coaster to travel down to the city of San Diego or up to Orange County and Los Angeles,” Casey said.
Although he’s spent the past three years in Boston, Casey has roots in San Diego. Before his gig at WB Games he was the vice president of games at San Diego’s Zynga studio. Now, he’s splitting his time between both cities to run the studios in tandem.
Casey said WB Games decided to open a studio in Carlsbad largely because it’s a nice place to live and work.
“You lose sight of it when you live in San Diego, but people come from all over the world to vacation here,” Casey said. “I think we’ll see a lot of people relocating from other parts of the country to work at this studio because it’s such an attractive area.”
WB Games San Diego will be the latest mobile game company in Carlsbad, which is already home to Jam City and Redemption Games, among others.
Michael Witz, CEO of Redemption Games, said Casey’s involvement bodes well for the North County mobile gaming hub.
“Tom has an amazing track record of developing great products and I know that people working for him have only spoken very highly of him,” Witz said. “Having WB set up a studio in Carlsbad is nothing but great news for everyone here.”
David Graham, the chief innovation officer at the City of Carlsbad, said the gaming industry is gaining traction in North County thanks in part to its proximity to Orange County and Los Angeles.
“Much of the creative talent who used to work in television and movies are now working in the video game industry,” Graham said. From storytelling to visualization, the skills are transferable.
Graham said video game talent could be especially useful to the city’s tech hub.
“The talent can migrate from project to project,” Graham said. “Gaming requires certain skills that will be a huge asset to the overall innovation economy.”
Casey said he could not disclose which gaming projects the WB Games studio in Carlsbad will be working on, but is actively incubating ideas and recruiting staff.
Warner Bros. has several other WB Games locations, including spots in Boston, San Francisco and New York.