The Welsh language has thrived across the likes of film and television with many popular forms of entertainment available in Wales’ native tongue, but perhaps the industry’s biggest market has been limited, until now.
Quantum-Soup are a video game studio based in North Wales and are looking to change the way the world sees gaming and the Welsh language. Formed in 2016 by Chris Payne and Ralph Ferneyhough, they’ve got almost two decades experience in the industry each and are looking to make a mark on their own two feet.
In 2017 they announced a pioneering new game, their showpiece creation ‘Talesinger: Voice of the Dragon’. The Welsh language adventure sees you play as a bard uniting the Celts to see off Roman invaders in a game that focuses on the narrative in which you roam through Welsh villages, valleys and rain lashed forts.
Chris Payne, co-founder of Quantum-Soup now wants his game and future projects to put his company and North Wales on the map.
“We wanted to create a role-playing game set in a distinct culture, rather than a generic fantasy mish-mash of periods, and we loved the Celts” said Chris.
“We had one publisher ask us if we thought it would sell much outside Wales, which was a bit odd - as if ‘God of War’ only sold to Greeks.
“We like to think it will raise the profile of the Celts as a culture, and not just some pretty knotwork to use on Elf and Dwarf costumes”.
The game, which has been in development since 2016 is in its final stages before releasing a taster of what it can bring, with final pieces of funding now being sought after to bring this Welsh culture to life.
“We built a playable demo to show what we're aiming for, but we're still chasing the last bit of funding we need to commit to full production - because it is admittedly an ambitious project”.
“In the meantime, we made a smaller game ‘Annwn’ and did some contract work for other studios which has been really enlightening. I've been in the industry for 20 years and I can still learn so much from working with different teams”.
The language aspect is a huge part of what Quantum are hoping to achieve and with projects in Wales such as ‘Cymraeg 2050’ to reach a million Welsh speakers by the year 2050, these new ventures into industry will certainly help the cause.
“I'm not a Cymraeg speaker but I'm picking up bits and pieces. It's fascinating because it doesn't share the Latin root of most European languages, and I love that its decline is beginning to reverse!
“There are Welsh studios down south already making a splash, like Tiny Rebel with Doctor Who Infinity and Wales Interactive becoming very successful publishers, I'm doing my best to make Quantum Soup the North Wales success story”.
It’s not just Quantum Soup who want to launch something big in North Wales when it comes to one of the world’s biggest industries, the Welsh government have also helped to fund the creative industries.
“The Welsh Government have been really supportive - they've run subsidized trade missions to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and GamesCom in Germany.
“It's really useful to get out there and make contacts worldwide, we're based in Wrexham at the Indycube shared workspace, they have similar hubs all over Wales offering a variety of help for small businesses”.
In 2015, the gaming industry was worth more than that of film and television combined at over $91billion. North Wales has caught up with it and Chris and his partner Ralph helped found the northern arm of the Games Wales group to help aid student developers at both Bangor and Glyndwr University.
“There are studios popping up all over - many of them born out of the games course at Glyndwr University but there are studios over in Bangor and even out on the Llyn Peninsula.
“Commercially, the industry is the biggest creative sector - bigger than film or music and still growing, largely thanks to smartphones.
“Culturally, it's becoming ubiquitous as that ease of access to games provided by smartphones has diversified the audience, everyone plays games now, and games references are beginning to permeate mainstream culture”.
The future is looking bright for the industry in North Wales with some real talent being brought through year on year, it looks like it’s just a matter of time before a major project sees all eyes on the region, which Chris teases us with a new project yet to be revealed.
“We've got a very exciting unannounced project in the pipeline which I hope is going to raise our profile considerably…but I can't talk about it yet!”…