Hibernum was founded in 2006 by Frederick Faubert. The company focuses primarily on work-for-hire in the game space, but has released their own games and plans to release more in the future. They work mostly on social and mobile games. A lot of their work is related to cinematics and visuals.
The management team also includes Franck DaCosta (VP Production & Operations / COO) and Louis-René Auclair (VP Business Development and Chief Brand Officer). Hibernum has 50 people and is growing quickly.
The company has done work for a number of major studios, including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Eidos Montreal.
Hibernum’s first solo project is Blockolicious, which they released in February 2012. It’s an action arcade puzzle game available on the iOS platform. They’re looking to release 3-4 more titles this year, as their focus on their own intellectual property increases.
Louis-René believes there’s a place for both mobile and console gaming, and Hibernum will continue to work in both:
I play both [mobile and console games] and enjoy what they bring to my entertainment package. A console is often a more invested experience where you’ll spend more time, practise strategies, and get involved in deeper worlds. I see mobile gaming as a more social event, you do it on the go, you do quick in and out sessions but pay more often. Both mobile and console can work together to increase the the gaming community, they basically offer you fun and digital entertainment in different locations in your life so you can keep moving.
Hibernum’s growth is in fact one of the company’s biggest challenges. Louis-René notes that the company is primarily self-funded, and growing to 50 people in 4-5 years is tough. “You need to surround yourself with passionate people that can communicate your vision to the rest of the team, to keep the same level of quality in the growing studio,” he says.
Louis-René is bullish on Montreal’s indie game community, although he knows that the attraction of a big game studio is still a big draw. “Putting Deus Ex or Assassin’s Creed on your resume has a big impact,” he says. “When young developers finish school, there are so many offers for work that they find security right away. But with more and more success stories emerging from Montreal, I have a feeling that you’ll see more indie studios emerging.”
He also believes that the indie game community would be better off if more people connected and worked together. “Find other small studios that are like-minded, or other small groups of people that want to make games and unite to maximize everyone’s strengths,” he says. “Go to conferences, go to the indie gaming meetings, talk to people, meet potential partners and grow in strength. Then create games using your joined forces and creativity.”