“Previous clients come back to us again and again, which I think is the ultimate telling point” – Aardvark Swift Studio Spotlight: Tag Games

Marc Williamsom, CEO

As a co-development studio with a history and a back catalogue of working with some of the biggest brands in the games industry (and beyond), Tag Games has earned the right to call themselves a platform specialist.

After an unexpected year of upheaval, James Bowers from Aardvark Swift speaks with Marc Williamson, Tag Games CEO, and Carol Clark, head of production, to see how the Dundee-based developer has found the transition to remote work and how their hiring practices stand them apart from the competition.

“The whole industry is facing the same problems together. 2020 has certainly been a crazy year,” suggests Williamson. “The games industry, touch wood, is able to survive it better than most, but there’s a little bit of survivor’s guilt, seeing the rest of the economy doing pretty badly whilst games are doing better than ever.”

The record-breaking consumption of software, hardware, and accessories relating to the video game industry has definitely been a trend seen not just nationally, but globally. As development teams remain scattered and remote work soldiers on, with the next generation bursting onto the scene, the need to protect the wellbeing of those that work incredibly hard behind the scenes has never been more pertinent.

“We’re used to all working together in the same space and we’re just not doing that anymore. The challenge is to keep everyone sane and support the team however we can.”

“Three weeks before lockdown hit, we were moving to our amazing new office. Because we’d just moved and were living out of boxes, it made it slightly easier logistically,” says Clark. “I have been so incredibly impressed and proud of how well our team has done remotely. Within hours of the vans delivering their equipment people were coming back online and working hard for our clients.”

Carol Clark, head of production

Tag Games prides itself on the people that represent it. With a reputation for being a dependable deliverer for their clients, that positive can-do culture starts during the recruitment process, before any new starter walks through their doors. For potential candidates, it’s their new team that discuss which of them will be the best fit for the role.

“It’s important that the team have the opportunity to say yes, this is the next person to join us. There’s an implicit investment to making sure this person is successful, because they were part of the selection process that chose that person,” says Clark.

Getting buy-in from the people already working within Tag Games during recruitment drives enables them to build a team spirit early on, propagating an inclusive environment that thrives on culture fit and suitability.

The ethos of Tag Games is something which has grown and evolved over time. Their exposure to client studios, through their working relationships, has really enabled them to strike the right balance. “We learn from our partners and clients and roll that forward into our own studio,” says Clark. “The access that we have to their work allows us to have exposure to the very best aspects of them.”

Operating in the work-for-hire space affords them a glimpse into the working practices of others which very few studios have the benefit of. They certainly make the most of this transparency and it shows.

As an independent entity in the mobile space, collaborating with other studios and brands as a co-development partner, Tag Games is certainly a unique place. “Most other mobile studios are doing their own thing or they’re working on one big product that they support. There’s not many studios like us,” adds Williamson.

“Previous clients come back to us again and again, which I think is the ultimate telling point, really. We’ve got really interesting products on the way, and they’re the biggest things Tag has worked on up to this point.”

You’ll be able to listen to the full conversation with Marc Williamson and Carol Clark in an upcoming episode of the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, third party apps, and the aswift.com website.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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