Netflix is opening a new studio in Helsinki, and has hired former Digital Chocolate, EA and Zynga exec Marko Lastikka to build it.
The streaming service’s latest move follows its acquisition of Night School Studios, Next Games and Boss Fight Entertainment. This fourth internal studio will be tasked with delivering “a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world,” said Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi.
“Why Helsinki? It is home to some of the best game talent in the world,” he continued. “This will be a games studio that we build from scratch, and our second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year. Along with Night School Studio and Boss Fight Entertainment, these four studios, each with different strengths and focus areas, will develop games that will suit the diverse tastes of our members.”
“It’s still early days, and we have much more work to do to deliver a great games experience on Netflix,” Rahimi added. “Creating a game can take years, so I’m proud to see how we’re steadily building the foundation of our games studios in our first year, and look forward to sharing what we produce in the coming years.”
Lastikka is now studio director at Netflix’s new Helsinki operation, and brings a wealth of experience. He started out as a programmer at Digital Chocolate in 2004, eventually rising to become vice president of production in 2012. From there he moved to EA, where he was co-founder and general manager at EA Helsinki, otherwise known as Tracktwenty, where he was responsible for the creation and live service operation of SimCity BuildIt. Lastikka moved from EA to Zynga in 2017, to serve as co-founder and general manager of its Helsinki operation, where he worked on FarmVille 3.
The news just keeps on coming out of Netflix at the moment. It recently signed a deal with Ubisoft to create three new exclusives, including an Assassin’s Creed game, and over the weekend dropped Oxenfree and confirmed that several other big-brand titles are coming.