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Global Brands Magazine Interview with Mr. Piotr Babieno, CEO and Co-Founder of Bloober

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Global Brands Magazine had the opportunity to interview Mr. Piotr Babieno, the CEO and Co-Founder of Bloober, and we are pleased to share the questions that were asked during the interview.

Can you tell us about the history and founding story of your studio?

Bloober Team was founded 15 years ago and since then we have come a long way. We started as a small studio that didn’t have a specific path and idea for itself. We really were just learning how to make games. However, we always knew that we wanted to tell a story. I often say that the turning point back then was when our game Basement Crawl was considered as the worst game on PS4. At times like this, you need to stop and think about what to do next. Many game developers give up at such moments, others hope that maybe the next game will be better. But we thought carefully about what we can do, what we like and what we want to create. We decided to focus on psychological horrors, where we tell stories through the environment (environmental storytelling). In retrospect, it was our best decision. Our first psychological horror was Layers of Fear and it was our great success with more than 10 million players around the world.

What inspired you to start an independent gaming studio?

I’ve always been a fan of games, but at the beginning of my career I was doing something completely different – e.g. worked in marketing research or as a journalist. But in the back of my mind there was the dream of creating my own game. When I had a certain amount set aside, I decided that this is the time when you need to follow your heart – together with great people, we decided to create a game called ‘’Sadness” for Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, we recalculated our forces and production costs at that time, so the project was never released. However, a moment later, an investor appeared who wanted to start a new company with us. We were responsible for the people we had previously hired ourselves, so we decided to go along with the proposal. Bloober Team was initially supposed to be just a working name, but it stayed with us for good.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an independent studio?

I would say two things. First, choose your path and stick to it. Often, especially at the beginning of the road, there are many temptations to deviate from the path and maybe do something else. And it’s no secret that somebody who tries to do everything is good at nothing. Secondly – how to create a company, an environment where people would like to work. In gaming, as we know, there is a lot of competition, so we wanted to create a place that employees wouldn’t want to leave. Because I’ve always said that the Bloober Team consists of people who create it. Over the last few years, we have significantly increased our team, and only a few employees left us. This is unique on a global scale.

How do you differentiate your studio from others in the industry?

Long-term strategy and people. Many companies don’t think about the distant future when planning their activities – we want to be a company for decades, not for quarters. We stick to our horror DNA all the time, skillfully evolving. Right now our long-term strategy is based on three pillars: creating psychological horror with action elements, expansion through cooperation with specialized partners and creative freedom of the team.

How do you approach building a successful and dedicated team?

As I mentioned, people are the most important for us. We want work to be a pleasure, not a chore, which is why we focus on freedom. We have employees all over the world and we accept all possible forms of cooperation – both in terms of the form of the contract and the form of work, from completely stationary to completely remote. Each of our employees, regardless of their position, can have an impact on the creative process. We listen to all voices and together we think about the best solutions. Since our employees are spread all over the world, once a year we try to organize an integration trip so that the whole team can meet each other. We believe that focusing on employees and their needs is the key to the success of the entire company.

How do you balance creativity and commercial success in your games?

We are evolving all the time. We focus primarily on unique, creative stories, but being a large company, we cannot ignore commercial and financial aspects. That’s why we’ve now started a new stage Bloober 3.0 in our history. We still focus on the important stories, but we add a lot of gameplay elements, action. We want to expand our audience, so we need to go beyond the niche.

Can you discuss your studio’s approach to creating unique and immersive game experiences?

Our games are a field for discussion. Bloober Team always raises important, significant topics. The ones that cause discussion, maybe controversy, but they force you to think and analyze. The players make difficult choices that ultimately tell them a lot about themselves.

We use horror to convey as much emotion as possible, because horror is a highly immersive genre. This leads to emotions that, due to their intensity, purify, eliminate fear, and expand the comfort zone. Especially in these uncertain times, the Katharsis process, the theme of releasing, and thus transferring relief after strong and repressed emotions, is an extremely important function.

How do you stay current and adapt to the ever-evolving gaming industry?

As I mentioned earlier, we are constantly evolving with the rapidly changing world. Gaming like no other industry is very fast and if you want to be on top, you can’t stay behind even for a moment, because later it’s hard to come back. We are constantly up to date with the changing trends and expectations of players. We participate in most of the world’s fairs, we often talk to other people in the industry to be up to date and know what and why is changing.

What exciting projects or plans does your studio have in the pipeline for the future?

According to our new growth strategy (2023-2027), we always want to have two large projects in production. Currently in development is SILENT HILL 2 with Konami and Project C – our own IP in partnership with Private Division (Take-Two Interactive). In addition, we rely on establishing many industry partnerships to diversify our portfolio. We combine our knowledge and tools with other experts to create interesting things together – for example with Platige Image we are working on a series based on The Medium, and with Anshar studios on the production of Layers of Fear.

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