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Published on April 9th, 2021 | by minshewnetworks

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People Used To Move Overseas To Star In Movies. Now They’re Doing It To Make Video Games

In the past, actors and actresses would move overseas to star in movies and become members of communities, like Hollywood. But, in the modern era, they’re doing it for video games instead,

Pexels – CC0 License

Over the last fifty years, we’ve come a long way in graphical fidelity. Modern video games are often like movies in their own right, with photo-realistic graphics and intense plots. And that means that there’s a massive demand for global talent.

The video game industry is now substantially larger than the movie industry. And the number of professional actors and musicians involved with them is truly staggering. If John Williams were born today, he’d probably be doing the next Call of Duty soundtrack, not theme songs for Star Wars movies.

But why is this? Why is the market so international?

Diversity Of Video Game Settings

Part of the reason for the globalisation of the video game labour market is the diversity of the games themselves.


Take the Assassin’s Creed series, for instance. Over just the last few years, we’ve had games set in ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. And that means that Ubisoft has had to source actors and creators with experience in those regions.

Cultural Understanding

Then there’s the need to develop a greater sense of cultural understanding. A Western person’s impression of Japan, for instance, is quite different from the experience of someone who actually lives there. And that’s a problem when you’re selling video games. Making cultural mistakes comes across as jarring. And that doesn’t always go down well with players.

Of course, for people involved in the video game industry (or who want to make their careers in it), these realities are creating all kinds of living arrangement difficulties. Most people can pick up a work visa for themselves. But meeting spouse visa accommodation requirements is another thing entirely. It can actually be quite hard for workers to prove that their dependents are authentic.

More Innovative Teams

Developers are also moving overseas to become members of more innovative teams. Being stuck in the same place with the same type of people can hamper the flow of creative energy after a while. But when you surround yourself with people from different backgrounds, it allows you to take on entirely different perspectives. Suddenly, you find yourself contributing fascinating new ideas to the team.

The projects are also usually more interesting. Studios that like to gather people from all over are usually passionate about the games they’re making and want to create something genuinely original. They’re not interested in reinventing the wheel. They want to do something fundamentally new.

Better Artistic License

Some developers want to work abroad purely for the renewed artistic license it gives them. Over time, professionals can feel a little stuck in their home countries, going through the same tried-and-tested processes as they always have. When they move abroad, it’s an opportunity to experiment with new art styles and get out of their comfort zone.

Video games are, slowly but surely, creating a new class of people. Perhaps it’ll become the new Hollywood.


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