[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Game Developer and its partnership with notable game PR-related resourceGames Press] Artisan Studios, will set up regional game development studio in Riyadh.Studio aligns with Saudi Arabia's efforts to create high-value jobs, attract to foreign investors.Artisan will work with the best talent in the Middle East and North Africa region to deliver exciting new products from Riyadh.Artisan plans to staff over 200 developers in its new offices in Riyadh, where they will develop the first AAA console titles in the GCC.
QUEBEC CITY, CANADA – October 25, 2023: Artisan Studios Inc., has entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment ("MISA") to open the largest foreign-owned game development studios in the Kingdom, marking a first in the region for the independent game developer.The expansion strengthens Artisan's ability to deliver new and exciting products for the global gaming community, working with the best talent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Artisan plans to staff over 200 developers in its new offices in Riyadh to develop the first AAA console titles in the GCC.The studio aligns with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's efforts to create high-value jobs and provide local talent with international gaming experience. The studio reflects the Saudi government's commitment to diversifying the economy by attracting companies that are leaders in their sector with exciting new investment opportunities.The expansion grows Artisan's development capabilities and expands into publishing its titles. Artisan will use this new studio to grow its global footprint and become the first independent console game developer in the MENA region. Artisan wants to collaborate with local artists from across the region to create new IPs to export globally.Artisan has a history of developing premium RPG games focusing on console platforms. The studio is known for producing "Super Neptunia RPG" in partnership with Idea Factory and Compile Heart and "Astria Ascending" in collaboration with Dear Villagers. Artisan currently has an unannounced RPG title in development for PC and Console platforms.His Excellency Saleh Khabti, Deputy of Investment Transactions, Ministry of Investment said: “Saudi Arabia offers investors such as Artisan access to the fast-growing Saudi market, the largest in the region, providing an excellent platform to access regional growth opportunities across the Middle East. Our journey to USD 2.5 Bn gaming sector market size by 2030 is assisted by the IGNITE program to attract digital content companies and help grow local media and content creation sector for our young and tech savvy population.”Mario Rizzo, Co-Founder and CEO of Artisan Studios, said: "Riyadh has one of the most dynamic and exciting independent game development communities. After spending the last two years exploring the region, we knew it would be the best place to build a new studio. The support we have received from the Ministry has been world-class, and they have made us feel welcome in the Kingdom. We are honoured to be the first developer invited to set up in Riyadh and look forward to building amazing new games together."Artisan is also the first game developer accepted into Saudi Arabia’s Ignite program, an initiative launched last year to boost digital content and transform the Kingdom into a leading digital entertainment and media production hub.About the Ministry of Investment (MISA)The ongoing transformation of Saudi Arabia under the Vision 2030 plan is unlocking new opportunities at an unprecedented pace. The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) is facilitating access to these opportunities by developing a vibrant cross-government investment ecosystem, while supporting businesses throughout their investment journey.Through a network of dynamic business centers across the Kingdom, MISA partners with local and international businesses of all scales and sizes—from startups to blue chip multinationals—to help make investing in the Kingdom as streamlined and simple as possible.MISA takes a lead role in improving Saudi Arabia’s overall business environment, commissioning multiple market intelligence studies every year and developing local opportunities for joint ventures.About Artisan StudiosArtisan Studios was founded in 2016 by a small team in Paris, France. The team relocated to Quebec City, Canada in August 2016 with the support of the city of Quebec and the federal government of Canada. Artisan has grown and has now established studios in Québec (Canada), Montpellier (France), London (UK) and Riyadh (KSA).Artisan is a specialist in the creation of 2D RPG games whose mission is to create the highest quality 2D game studio in the world and become the top western studio developing original IPs in Japan. Artisan primarily works in partnership with Japanese developers and publishers to release titles for the Japanese market and then bring those IPs to the west. The multicultural team at Artisan works in fluent Japanese, French, and English (and soon in Arabic).Nine66, A Savvy Games Group Company (“Savvy”), wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (“PIF”) acted as local advisor to Artisan in this transaction.