Sheffield studio in 'uncharted' waters with first original game Snake Pass

Snake Pass creator Seb Liese, of Sumo Digital.
Snake Pass creator Seb Liese, of Sumo Digital.
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A Sheffield videogame studio is waiting anxiously for reviews of its first 100 per cent original creation.

Snake Pass was released worldwide on all major gaming platforms yesterday.

The puzzle game, which challenges gamers to 'think like a snake' to progress through increasingly tough levels, is the first to be created and developed entirely by Sumo Digital.

The studio, based in Carbrook, has built a reputation as a 'safe hand', having developed games for industry giants such as Sega and Sony.

But Snake Pass marks the first time it has put its own intellectual property, or IP, on the world stage.

For creator Seb Liese, yesterday was a mixture of relief and anxiety as the first reviews came in.

"I'm feeling super exited and nervous," he said. "I barely slept last night, and the night before was not much better.

"It's a game people need to play to fully appreciate, so this is when we find out if we did it right or not."

Sumo was set up in the early 2000s by Paul Porter, Darren Mills and Carl Cavers, who had previously worked for Sheffield-based Gremlin Graphics.

Beginning with a staff of 12, they put their expertise to use and were soon doing jobs for some of the gaming industry's biggest names.

Snake Pass is Sumo's first completely original game.

Snake Pass is Sumo's first completely original game.

Read more:

From Gremlin to Sumo: Sheffield’s role as a UK videogame centre

Working with Sega and Sony on their IPs such as Sonic and LittleBigPlanet put Sumo - and Sheffield - among the more reliable names in gaming.

But it was still a bold move to design and publish a game from the ground up.

Members of the Sumo Digital team behind Snake Pass, from left, Brad Davey, Seb Liese and David Dino.

Members of the Sumo Digital team behind Snake Pass, from left, Brad Davey, Seb Liese and David Dino.

Brad Davey, lead designer on Snake Pass, said it was 'uncharted' territory for the studio.

"This creates a flash point for what we do as a studio moving forward," he added.

"Even though we work on established franchises there's a hell of a lot of creativity in that part of the business.

"But we can also be creative with our own ideas."

An important aim for the team was to release Snake Pass across all platforms, so as many gamers could see the work done in Sheffield as possible.

This includes PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and even Nintendo Switch, which only launched on March 3. The studio only began work on the Switch version of Snake Pass in January.

The game is out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

The game is out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Seb praised Sumo for having the confidence in its Sheffield team to invest in an original title in such a competitive market, and in particular COO Paul Porter, who he called the game's 'biggest fan'.

And Paul said: "As our first internally-incubated property, I’m very proud of what this team has achieved.

"Developing our own characters and self-publishing Snake Pass has been a hugely rewarding experience for the studio.

“We have worked hard to launch on all platforms, to make sure that as many gamers as possible can try out our labour of love simultaneously.”

Sumo, which employs 360 staff across its headquarters in Sheffield and offices in Nottingham and Pune, India, is still working on titles for other companies. But if Snake Pass succeeds, Sheffield could soon call itself home to more original games.

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