Moving Forward with the Italian Game Industry

During GDC, Hardcore Gamer had time to speak with Thalita Malago, the Secretary General of Italian Games Association (AESVI), about the ever growing Italian gaming industry. She spoke about the many changes from previous years and more recent large changes that will play a big role in Italy’s continued support for game development.

Italy is currently home to over 1000 game developers, which is almost double the amount they had working in 2014. About 25 percent of those developers are located in Milan, which is also home to the first two public universities to include courses in video game development. 65% of the developing studios currently active have been established for less than three years and continue to grow. The majority of games coming from Italian developers in 2014 were mobile titles, but over the past three years has increased to move towards more PC and console digital releases with around 40 percent of developers currently working on VR titles.

Racing titles have played a large part in game development in Italy over the years, with a good amount of developers working on them due in part to the presence of large scale car racing such as Formula One. These racing games have been somewhat of a tradition among Italian developers, but in recent years they have seen an increase in more unique titles among developers such as The Town of Light and Murasaki Baby.

The most recent change for game development in Italy is with their involvement with the government. They recently saw approval of a loan at the end of last year, allowing developers to receive tax breaks in addition to getting support for development funding.  This includes outside studios such as Ubisoft Milan and any others that may decide to take up residence in the future in order to benefit from it. They are currently in the process of working with the Government on the execution decrees, which will help define the rules involving this change for future developers. While the amount of developers in Italy is still small in comparison to many other countries, they are readily growing and supporting one another to make great titles for the gaming industry.

We were shown a handful of these titles and it was hard not to came away impressed. One of the most visually captivating titles was Neko8Games’ Oops! which is one of the few games to utilized stop motion. An adventure game telling the story of two ladybugs who are moved away from each other and have to reuinite, Oops! is still very early in production, but the stop motion animation shown so far was undeniably beautiful.

Redout is another game that comes from an Italian developer in 34BigThings and is a title we’ve covered quite a bit at Hardcore Gamer. Taking inspiration from classic futuristic racers like F-Zero and WipeOut, Redout is blisteringly fast and plays great even a half a year away from release. Milestone was on hand to show off the latest title in their popular racing series, MXGP3, as well as the upcoming Gravel. Both games played smoothly with Gravel having a nice balance between arcade and simulation.

Italy has rapidly been increasing their presence in the gaming scene and there’s a good chance that you’ll be playing a game originating from the country soon without even seeking it out.