07 Feb 2021 in Review: Numbers that Shaped our Year
Despite the challenges that the world continued to face in 2021, Secret 6 remains grateful for the opportunity to learn from our experiences. We enter the new year excited to continue working on games we love.
Let’s take a look back at six notable figures that shaped our 2021.
250: Our Biggest Headcount Yet
2020 was a year of adaptation amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there’s no clear end in sight to that, 2021 didn’t stop us from thriving in what is clearly the new normal.
As we approach two years (and counting) working from home, we’ve continued to update our policies, processes and provisions, to match the needs of our teams and clients. All thanks to the efforts of our operations and development teams!
With over 60 remote hires across our teams in Manila and Madrid, Secret 6 now hosts more than 250 full-time employees working full-time to provide our biggest range of game development services yet.
Our Madrid team has more than doubled in size, expanding to have VFX artists working closely with our team in Manila on projects set to be announced or released this year.
2: Expanding Core Skills
As the needs of our long-time partners continued to evolve, so too did our offerings for game development services. We created two new teams: one for visual effects (VFX), the other for user experience (UX).
Our focus on VFX started as a small initiative to dive into how each class, weapon, and skill in Project Xandata could have distinct visual identities in the game. Now, the team has massively expanded its capabilities. Apart from working on our own title, they have also started working on projects for several overseas clients! We ended the year with nine amazing talents, spanning the Manila and Madrid studios.
We’d love to share more, of course! But for now, though, let’s wait until these titles are released. Once they’re out, we’ll be sure to let you know!
This year also marked the start of our dedicated UX design team to further improve the quality of our games. We’ve built our UX pipeline all the way from research to design and testing, and we are continuing to grow our capabilities in this craft. With this initiative, we aim to boost development and advocate for the value of good UX across the industry.
500: A Commitment to Our Local Industry
We share in the responsibility of putting Filipino talent on the map, as well as nurturing the potential of our local learners. This year, we reached over 500 students through talks and workshops thanks to our academic partners. We also got some decent media coverage, which was another fun way to share our knowledge and skills!
In October, we got to share the stage with speakers from Riot Games, EA, and more, at Gamescom Asia, for a talk entitled Reverse Engineering Established User Interfaces to Amplify Player Immersion.
Our senior UI designer, Mika Montano, showed attendees how he solidified the UI art style for Project Xandata well into the production timeline without requiring a major overhaul. He also shared how he built the style guide that allowed the team to balance functionality with aesthetic and scale UI art production without compromising on consistency— in effect, enabling better player immersion.
We also spoke at Untethered 2021, a summit aimed at bringing together and educating professionals in the world of events.
Our senior events manager and brand coordinator, Hannah Donato, delivered a talk titled ‘Pivoting a Roofdeck Party To A 3-Month Online Celebration.’ Here, she shared how we, as a company, creatively celebrated our 15th anniversary and maintained our sense of community in the midst of the pandemic.
Our programmers were also busy sharing their knowledge and skills at local universities. Red Quito spoke at events with UP Cursor and with the DLSU Computer Society about starting a game development career. We also established a partnership with the University of Makati by speaking at their CSS Learning Camp, which we hope to be the first of many talks to help aspiring game developers!
Finally, we facilitated a comprehensive hands-on Unity Workshop in DSC Loyola’s Techfest 2021 led by one of our senior developers, Willard Torres.
8: Portfolio Additions
Throughout the year, our full range of development teams— from game designers, programmers, artists, and QA, all the way from Manila and Madrid— have been hard at work on so many projects. This year, we had the privilege of promoting eight releases from that slate.
We continued to work with a growing pool of AAA clients, including Ripple Effect and EA on Battlefield 2042, their latest and biggest entry in the franchise to date. Many of our artists’ works can be found in the game’s world— from weapons, vehicles, and environment props down to a number of UI icons and elements.
We also enjoyed working for Activision Blizzard in bringing a genre-defining title back for both old and new audiences alike with Diablo 2 Resurrected, where we worked on several organic assets.
Apart from the game in the next section, we also worked on projects like Balay Kawayan and Hope Town Hero, launched an update to BMO’s Game Lab, as well as worked on VFX for Mad Devils and NFT Champions.
62: Our First Ground-Up Console Title!
There are 62 quests for players to enjoy in our first ground-up Nintendo Switch title, L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Night. In a collaboration with Other Ocean Interactive and publisher Nighthawk Interactive, we solidified our full game development competencies by designing and developing the game from proposal all the way to post-production, and in a completely remote setup. Check out the launch trailer!
In this game based on the franchise’s new Movie Magic toy line, players go on a journey to become the biggest star in L.O.L. Ville while performing in a variety of activities and games, as well as meeting fierce friends along the way.
The game was released on October 26, 2021, which means you can already (and probably really should) get a copy today.
2022: Yet Another Beginning
This opens an an incredible new chapter in our continuous pursuit of passion and growth— not just as a work-for-hire studio but as a fully-armed game development studio creating our own titles.
We want to thank everyone who lent a hand in making Project Xandata what it is today— from our in-house teams, to our external partners and testers. We’re excited to continue improving on the game and making the best version of Project Xandata even better every day. Beyond that, all hands are on deck to face everything 2022 has in store for us.
We’ve got projects to finish, an endless list of skills to add to our arsenal, and a renewed enthusiasm to play our favorite games. Fingers crossed we get to work on them too!
As always, we look forward to making bigger and better games for everyone this year.
Edited 02/14/2022: Changed Miks to Mika for consistency with the graphic.