Inside Sumo’s game jam
It’s Friday afternoon, in a small room that’s part of Sumo Digital’s vast Sheffield complex, and there’s a towering stack of pizzas steadily growing shorter. In the kitchen, alongside a wall of metal shelves that’s fully stocked with every single soft drink you could think of (in the interests of full disclosure, you should know I took a can of Lilt), there’s a chilli jam contest being judged. I’m too late to sample the eventual winner, but the one I do try – made with coffee and sangria, no less – is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It almost makes me regret tucking into one too many slices of that pizza beforehand.
I’m not sure if every Friday’s like this at Sumo Digital, but it all seems like a lot of fun. Tools have been momentarily downed and the company’s internal game jam is in full swing, that room that’s full of pizzas bustling with several small teams as they demo their work to their peers. There are two men in bowler hats, showing off a curious and imaginative spin on the tower defence genre. There’s one game with staggering production values that’s all the more staggering when you sit down to play it and realise it’s controlled entirely by tracking your eyes. There’s the one developer who’s trekked up from Sumo Digital’s Nottingham office to show his own project, a brilliant logic puzzle that’s all about making your own game – and playing it is enough to convince you, as will an afternoon in this company, that making games might not be totally awful.
This is a brief pause in this most industrious of studios, situated somewhat fittingly opposite some of Sheffield’s old steelworks. It’s a different kind of craft being practised at Sumo Digital, but the productivity here is staggering; this is a studio that’s worked in recent years on LittleBigPlanet, on Forza and on Hitman, and that’s currently heads down on Dead Island 2 and Crackdown 3 (the delay to which happened after my visit – and I’m fairly sure taking an hour out for lunch to tuck into those pizzas had nothing to do with it). And that’s just the games we know about.
Original Post By – Eurogamer