A Brief Q&A with Saber’s COO

Answers by Andrey Iones, Chief Operating Officer, Saber Interactive

Many experts point out that tech companies are going through tough times these days. There’ve been many layoffs lately, some companies even shut down, resulting in hundreds of employees losing their jobs. In your opinion, why does this happen?

True, we’ve been seeing such news much too often. The competition is ever-growing, more and more games are released each year. If you don’t make a game that appeals to the players and its sales don’t take off, you will lose money or even your studio. To make a high-quality game, you need professionals, probably the best out there. But these aren’t in abundance either. If you don’t hire them in time, somebody else will.

During the pandemic, the games industry received a tremendous boost, but now, with the ongoing recession, people don’t spend as much on entertainment as they used to. These are just a couple of reasons.

How does Saber Interactive cope with such challenges? Saber has over 20 studios in Europe, North, and South America, with 3500 people employed. It’s surely not easy to keep an international company of such a scale running.

Saber is huge, no doubt about that. We also keep growing, and we opened a new office in Armenia last year. Luckily, we have not had layoffs across the company, but sometimes optimization is necessary. Think of a game studio as a living organism. It evolves and adapts to external conditions, meaning changes are made, both at a structural and a high level, to achieve the studio’s goals. For instance, we recently appointed Aleksandr Torgovkin as the new director of Bytex, our QA studio. He has been training Bytex’s employees for many years and has taken part in designing education programs for QA specialists, so we are sure the studio will only get better under his leadership. Also, we’ve scaled down our web and mobile projects to focus on what we do best – develop premium games for PC and consoles.

Even with the challenges happening in the market, Saber continues making games. How does Saber decide what game to develop next and what it should be like? There sure are dozens, if not hundreds, of ideas generated, and choosing the ones that will form the future game must be hard.

Our team has rich expertise in action games, co-op shooters, vehicle simulators, so we build our pipeline around that. And yes, we have to choose from hundreds of ideas. First at pre-production, then during development, after internal discussions, playtests, or meetings with publishers. It’s not easy to discard these ideas, sadly. They can be quite brilliant and creative, but in the end you leave those that will help you deliver the best experience for the players. However, it doesn’t mean we toss the discarded ideas away. Quite often, they are just waiting for the right time and project to be implemented.

Lastly, what to expect from Saber Interactive in the future? Do you have any big announcements or releases planned for this year?

A week ago, at PlayStation Showcase 2023, we revealed that Saber will bring Teardown to next-gen consoles later this year. It’s a highly innovative game developed by Tuxedo Labs, and we’re happy that more players will be able to get to know it. And there are more announcements on the way, you won’t have to wait long.

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