Liquid Crimson will be no stranger to MCV/DEVELOP readers, having worked with almost everyone in the UK games industry and beyond over the last 30 years or so. From video production to promotional campaigns and events, the creative production studio has helped raise the profile of numerous games studios and brands, especially those with links to Guildford. But after the tumult of the last couple of years and with uncertainty still ahead, how has the team fared and what new opportunities does it look to face. We caught up with LC and LC of LC – that’s Linda Clinker (co-founder) and Lauran Carter (head of comms) of Liquid Crimson, obviously.
The last time Liquid Crimson featured in the magazine we were in the midst of a succession of lockdowns, but it seemed very much a case of business as usual; the pandemic hadn’t seemed to affect things too much and the company appeared busy. Is that still the case?
Lauran Carter: Predominantly – yes! We’re incredibly lucky and grateful that video games became such a place of solace for so many during the pandemic, which meant the studios we work with were full steam ahead on creating new titles, or updates for existing ones and we were there to support them.
Linda Clinker: The main thing that’s changed for us since lockdown is we’re now able to revisit the studios that we work with, to embed ourselves a little more with the teams when we’re brought in to create a trailer or dev diary – which really is so important to the process for us. At its core, Liquid Crimson is all about collaboration. We really feel it’s the best way to ensure we’re bringing as much feeling from the studios we work with into our work.
What have been the highlights for you over the last year or so?
Lauran: That’s a big question – we’ve had another amazing year at LCHQ! Our communications dept has gone from strength to strength, enabling us to bring a junior comms manager on to the team. The comms dept is looking after some amazing indie studios – in a variety of different ways – as well as some bigger studios like Interior Night.
Linda: On the video team side of things, the team has been working with a plethora of amazing games and studios, such as Supermassive Games, Stellar Entertainment, EA/Codemasters, Natural Motion and Outright Games. We’ve collaborated with Hitachi for Cop 26 and traveled to Europe to film rally driver Jon Armstrong’s freshly-branded Junior World Rally Championship car – sponsored by Liquid Crimson and our friends at EA and Codemasters.
Lauren: Collaboratively, alongside brand partnership experts Miai, Liquid Crimson have designed and built two amazing Animal Crossing islands, for both H&M and Pandora, and worked with some incredibly talented YouTube and Twitch creators to conduct
tours and get glossy imagery for the brands. Not to mention interviewing Maisie Williams about her love for Animal Crossing!
And of course, we’ve also been involved in organising and executing another Guildford Games Festival since we last spoke – for which we created around nine hours of interviews, hosted by our Lauran, Head of Comms, and featuring talented Guildford devs talking about their work and experiences. We are Guildford Games’ #1 fans and are so passionate about getting the word out there about just how important our little hometown is to the UK games industry. Considering over two million people watched the interviews on Twitch and Steam, we think we achieved our goal!
From among those highlights, what are you most proud of as an organisation?
Lauren: It would be a toss-up between our work on Supermassive’s House of Ashes and The Quarry, and Looop Isle, our H&M Animal Crossing island and associated work with Maisie Williams. Each project brought interesting conundrums to the table that we needed to bash our heads together to get around, but we did and the results were wonderful! Go Team!
Linda: The pride we feel comes from the faith and trust our clients give us – to understand not only the project brief but also the best way to communicate and get the attention of the relevant fan base.
We’ve also just hosted our first Guildford.Games drinks since the pandemic, alongside our fellow G.G committee members. It was awesome! The Guildford games community is very dear to our hearts having been part of it for the last 30 years, so it was wonderful to have everyone together again!
Has the creative challenge you face evolved over the last couple of years?
Linda: The way we approach creative work is always changing depending on the latest trends and advances in technology, sometimes in little ways, other times in huge leaps. With all the challenges the pandemic created, we just adapted, evolved, worked smarter, to the point where we needed to hire more staff, all the while making sure everyone felt supported and comfortable in what has been possibly the craziest two years that any of us have ever experienced!
We now have a team that can work remotely, in the office, or any combination of the two. Allowing them to continue working with the best tools possible and with a work-life balance that suits them.
It’s also interesting to chat to our clients and see how the pandemic has affected them, their staff, their working processes, and the challenges of bringing a game to market, with a large majority of staff members having to work from home and/or having to shield. Or things like having to organise shooting long mocap sessions within a “bubble” during lockdown, for example.
The past two years have certainly had their challenges and it’s a testament to games teams’ creativity and ingenuity on how they overcame what maybe five years ago, would have seemed like impossible challenges!
What opportunities do you see for video/event production in the months ahead and how will you be making the most of them?
Linda: As the world opens up again, it will be interesting to see what and how things have changed, for sure. Will events go back to being in-person, or will they remain online? Or maybe, a mix of both? Here at Liquid Crimson, we’re very lucky to be working with some of the best games studios, on some very exciting projects, so as the games industry pushes the boundaries and comes up with new technology or processes, Liquid Crimson will be there to help them bring their games to
Whichever way it goes, in-person, online, or both, the future for the games industry (and us!) is looking very bright!
The company is proud of having a more equitable ratio of women to men than most of the UK games industry – is that a result of a deliberate policy, or nature of the business you are in, or just the way things have turned out?
Lauran: Incredibly proud! However, we have to own up to the serendipity of the situation, as our team has organically grown to have a high proportion of female staff – at every step of the way we’ve hired staff with best skillset and talent for the job in question, as well as an overriding love of the games industry. Serendipity has served us well, though! We’re passionate about giving people opportunities and giving our team – no matter how ‘green’ to Liquid Crimson or the industry – the chance to work with some of the very best studios and developers in the business is always a joy to behold!
As mentioned, collaboration is a big part of what we do, and our core team works together like a well-oiled machine! Communication is also a big deal at LC, so creating an environment where all team members feel empowered to speak their mind and voice their ideas is top priority – hierarchy certainly doesn’t apply when it comes to putting creative ideas on the table. Everyone’s voice and opinions are vital to the overall process and makes Liquid Crimson what it is.
We’ve had the recent Ukie census, of course, with the proportion of women working in UK games increasing , but still lagging behind other creative industries. Is that progress?
Lauran: It is and it isn’t. The industry has come on leaps and bounds over the many years most of our team have been working in it. The days of women only being in studios to serve as PAs or office managers has gone and we’re seeing a much more diverse, creative workforce start to form.
As a whole, the industry needs to continue grabbing the attention of young, potential developers from all diversities and quash the general misunderstanding that it’s still a boy’s club. It’s another reason why the Guildford Games Festival is so important to us. We seek to interview and showcase the talent of gifted, creative people in the local games industry – with a view to highlighting the fact that the games industry genuinely is for everyone and will welcome those with a passion for it with open arms!