Our Studio

Dlala Studios was founded in 2012 by two friends who had previously worked at two studios together and decided to form their own.

Within the first six months of forming the studio, Dlala had released a Windows 8 launch title, were featured on the front cover of Develop Magazine (“Two Guys, One Game, No Cash”) and moved into Microsoft Games Studios Soho office as their first-ever internally incubated studio.

Over the next 6 years the team grew from 2 guys in a garage to 14 wonderful people in a studio in Essex, with regular collaborative partnerships across the globe.

Our Culture

Making games we love; with people we love; for people to love.

From day one this has been the number one rule at Dlala and, whilst many things have changed since the days in the garage, this rule has remained true and is critical to our success.

We always take the work we create very seriously, however that doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves too seriously!

Our Team

  • Aj Grand-Scrutton CEO
    Top 5 Games
    • Day Of The Tentacle
    • Battletoads
    • Halo: Combat Evolved
    • Super Mario 64
    • Final Fantasy XV
    • Background

      As Dlala’s founder and CEO, Aj focuses on the creative and strategic direction of the studio and all products we create and/or contribute to. Aj leads the business development and also managers the design, art and audio departments of the studio. Previously, he worked for companies such as Jagex, Bossa Studios and Microsoft Games Studios, in a variety of roles such as Lead Client Developer, Game Content Developer and Executive Producer.

    • Typical Day

      Get into work, take credit for everyone else’s hard work, get paid.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Batman, I know it’s cheating but he is technically in a game. Why? WHY?!? He’s the goddamn Batman.

  • Ben Waring Technical Director
    Top 5 Games
    • Super Mario Galaxy
    • Portal
    • Resident Evil 4
    • Super Bomberman 2
    • The Legend of Zelda – All
    • Background

      Ben has been with the studio since its first year of formation in 2012. He has subsequently led all technical aspects of every project undertaken by the studio and has consequently been required to develop a wide breadth of expertise across a number of programming disciplines. Ben has previously served as a Programmer and Lead Programmer for companies such as Microsoft Games Studios and Bossa Studios. He was officially moved into his current role as Technical Director in 2017.

    • Typical Day

      Implementing the many brilliant features/ideas of our design team and collaborators. Making all the tough technical decisions. Being the team cynic.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Conker – people that know me understand why…

  • Gemma Foster Operations and Production Director
    Top 5 Games
    • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
    • World of Illusions starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
    • Valiant Hearts - The Great War
    • Rayman Legends
    • Background

      Gemma is Dlala’s swiss army knife of an Operations Director. She joined the team, and the games industry, in 2015 with a varied background in both private and public sectors including, but not limited to, over half a decade in the legal profession. She subsequently worked as the Lead Software Developer in the delivery of a national initiative focused on the standardisation of legal case management applications, before  moving into the position of Business Improvement and Operations Manager for an award-winning international education business. Originally, Gemma joined the team as a Producer but quickly found herself not only developing the production processes of the studio but also taking control of all financial and operation protocols; in effect, rebuilding the structure of the studio from scratch. She subsequently, officially, moved into the role of Operations Director within just 2 years of joining the studio.

    • Typical Day

      I cannot lie, the ‘typical day’ is still completely unknown to me… My time is split across business operations and game production and, as anyone who has worked in either discipline will know, despite our desperate attempts to be organised and proactive, the need to be reactive as a result of ever-changing priorities often overshadows those attempts and our oh-so-carefully formulated plans!

      In relation to our projects, I am ultimately responsible for the planning of all schedules, budgets and the oversight in delivery of the development roadmap, including the management of quality assurance and any liaison and/or negotiations required between all project stakeholders. From an Ops perspective, I manage all operative, financial, legal and HR aspects of the business and work closely with Aj to assist with any business development needs to ensure we keep the studio lights on!

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Miles Power (Tails) because he is super-cute, a mechanical genius and can fly helicopter-style!

  • Mark Ragon IT Director
    Top 5 Games
    • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
    • GTA V
    • The Curse of Monkey Island
    • Max Payne
    • Earthworm Jim
    • Background

      Mark comes from a background outside of the games industry. Previously a Senior Systems Technician in the corporate sector, Mark has experience dealing with the creation, maintenance and evolution of infrastructure at large scale corporations. Joining Dlala in 2015, Mark, like a lot of Dlala, was thrown in at the deep end… Having to convert a warehouse unit, previously used as a dance studio for over a decade, into a working space with remote and mobile hot-desking (no small undertaking on premises which had only 4 power outlets and no internet access). Mark fully embraced the role and, in 2017 , was moved into his new role as IT Director of the studio.

    • Typical Day

      I am responsible for the management, strategy and execution of our IT infrastructure. I don’t really have a typical day as the role is quite varied but it can involve anything from developer kit setups, continuous integration for our projects to disaster recovery and server / network management.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Nathan Drake – For The Treasure!

  • Chris Rickett Senior Programmer
    Top 5 Games
    • Doom
    • Gears of War 2
    • Natural Selection
    • Empire Earth
    • Left 4 Dead
    • Background

      Chris was Dlala’s first non-founding team member, joining the team soon after the studio’s inception in 2012, and was instrumental in the development of Dlala’s first-released title “Janksy”, in which he had less than 10 weeks to build the game from scratch! He now has over six and a half of experience as a professional games programmer and has developed a breadth of expertise across programming disciplines.

      In 2018 Chris was promoted to Senior Programmer.

    • Typical Day

      The majority of my day involves adding content to the game from other teams. Whether it’s animations, gameplay features, tools or audio – the rest of my day is spent making tea.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      The space marine from the original Doom games (“Doomguy”) because no-one knows my name, but I work hard and get the job done.

  • Grant Allen Lead Designer
    Top 5 Games
    • Pokemon Blue
    • Pokemon TCG
    • Super Mario Bros. 3
    • Bishi Bashi Special Edition
    • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
    • Background

      After working part-time as a character designer on Dlala’s title “Overruled!” Grant joined the team on a  full-time basis as an Artist. However, within just a matter of months it became apparent that he had a particular talent and passion for design. After supporting the design team for a month, he was soon moved across to the design department and has never looked back!

      In 2018 Grant was officially made Dlala’s Lead Designer, with his first project as lead being Battletoads.

    • Typical Day

      A typical day begins with coffee the elixir of life, meetings take place, Ideas are throw into the pot, Ideas are thrown into the bin and design work can begin.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Pete from Earthworm Jim, he's cute but can pack a punch

  • Eric Ciccone Lead Animator
    Top 5 Games
    • Sega NHL 94
    • Nintendo Super Punch Out
    • Zelda Wind Waker
    • Ico
    • Shadow Of Colossus
    • Background

      Eric is Dlala’s youthful veteran! He started his career over 20 years ago as an Assistant Animator to Mike Dietz, Ed Schofield and Doug Tennapel on the awesome Earthworm Jim and then proceeded to fulfill a number of senior roles, working for studios including Shiny, Dreamworks, THQ and 5th Cell. Eric’s projects include Earthworm Jim, Earthworm Jim 2, The Neverhood, The Last Airbender and much, much more.

    • Typical Day

      Make things/characters move around. Drink a lot of coffee. Draw. Work with cool people.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Dhalsim. Because he can levitate…and breath fire. Well and stretch as well…you can’t beat that!

  • Rory Jobson Concept Artist
    Top 5 Games
    • Fallout 3
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker
    • Pokemon Red & Blue
    • Gone Home
    • Overwatch
    • Background

      Rory is an example of Dlala’s commitment to young talent. Further to him joining the team as a fresh-faced graduate, and his relocation from Scotland, Rory’s talent and dedication to his craft soon led to an evolution of his role; you will find him doing everything from concept art through to environmental production art.

    • Typical Day

      I get to work on lots of different and hilariously exciting projects here, so there’s a lot of different visual direction work, quick sketches and visual style research (the fun stuff). Although recently I’ve been doing a lot of polished environment artwork and animation, which has been a really fun learning curve! One of my favourite aspects of the job is the opportunity to jump between different visual styles and tasks, which really forces me to get better at things which lie at the edges of my comfort zone! My other favourite aspect is Hugo the pug.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Parappa The Rapper. No explanation required.

  • India Crooke Animator
    Top 5 Games
    • Pokémon
    • Overwatch
    • Super Mario Galaxy
    • Spyro The Dragon
    • Mario Kart
    • Background

      I studied 2D character animation at the University of Hertfordshire, but my interest and enthusiasm for traditional animation has existed since late primary school when I somehow figured out how to scrub through animated films frame-by-frame on my old TV and realised that I could make drawings move. I’ve worked several freelance jobs alongside university work, and it seems I’ve hit the ground running having landed a job with Dlala shortly after graduating. I think annoying my teachers with doodling and wanting to do cartoony things rather than oil paintings paid off!

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Literally anyone in the Pokemon world, I just want a Bulbasaur is that too much to ask?

  • Roberto Macken Game Artist
    Top 5 Games
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee
    • Earthbound
    • Wario Land 4
    • Overwatch
    • Noby Noby Boy
    • Background

      I began studying traditional 2D animation at BCFE in ireland, but soon gravitated towards Abertay’s Computer Arts course in Scotland as I wanted to get more involved with games rather than movies. From there I got to work on a student led project called “Among the Stones” which won us Abertay’s own DARE competition, and then won us a BAFTA, cementing my passion for working in games as an artist.

    • Typical Day

      My typical day at Dlala starts with a with a quick morning coffee to catch up with the rest of the team, then it’s straight into working wherever the team needs me artwise, whether that’s making some animations, storyboards or concepting new ideas to be put in-game.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Dudley from Street Fighter 3rd Strike, so I can get away with calling everyone "Gutter Trash!"

  • Yeonjae Lee 2D Texture Artist
    Top 5 Games
    • Katamari Damacy
    • Machinarium
    • Professor Layton
    • Oxenfree
    • Super Mario Odyssey
    • Background

      I studied 2D animation in South Korea, am specialised in concept art and character design. I have various background. My first career was an Art Instructor in a small art academy in Korea, teaching kids aged 9-19 traditional art skills. In my last semester, I got an opportunity to work as an Intern Graphic Designer in a small design studio in London. After my intern programme, I went back to South Korea and worked as a Graphic/Package Designer. I experience a lot in that field but became more designer rather than an artist so I was always eager to be more creative artist with my talents and get into video games industry. And then I moved to the UK, have learnt about the industry by meeting a lot of people, going events and developing myself participating in game jams etc.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Rabbids! Because they're silly but so cute and funny!

  • Sam Thomas Audio Designer
    Top 5 Games
    • Monkey Island
    • Halo
    • Super Mario Sunshine
    • Portal
    • Mega Man
    • Background

      Sam is Dlala’s very own Ukulele playing musical maestro! After single-handedly composing all the music and sound effects for “Overruled!”, Sam originally joined the team as a QA tester. After realising that the musical magic just couldn’t be held in, Sam was moved over to a role which enabled him to embrace his true passion – audio design.

    • Typical Day

      Generally, I spend my day writing music and SFX for whichever project I’m working on. I’ll bug the heck out of people to get feedback, then throw it in the project once I’ve convinced myself it’s the best that it can be.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      If I could be anyone, I would be Luigi. He gets a bad rep, but he’s competed in the Winter Olympics and gets to ride Go-Karts.

  • Daniel Gonzalez Game Designer
    Top 5 Games
    • Soul Calibur 3
    • Bayonetta
    • Final Fantasy IX
    • MediEvil
    • Legacy of Kain: Defiance
    • Background

      Daniel is another Dlalan with a varied background. Starting his career as a Computer Science Teacher, for 5-8 year old, and then deciding to return to University to focus more on his creative passions. Daniel was a Creative Designer at companies such as Citroën before making his way into a Game Designer role for Video Games Without Borders. Daniel has worked for companies such as Wibbu and Preloaded working at times as sole designer on games such as Ruby Rei and Danger Mouse: Full Speed

    • Typical Day

      My typical day starts with a very hot tea at the studio, followed by a catch up with the Design team. I spend the day working on multiple design tasks, admiring the last creations of the Art team (whose work never cease to amaze me!), and coming up with the funniest and craziest game ideas with Grant Allen

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Solid Snake, cause only someone as boxing clever as him can save the world from a nuclear attack by using a cardboard box

  • Johannes Brunnhuber Technical Designer
    Top 5 Games
    • Pokémon Gold
    • Monster Hunter Freedom 2
    • Portal
    • Halo 3
    • Overwatch
    • Background

      Johannes is but a fledgling Dlalan, having only enlisted in mid-2018. Originally headed for an economics degree, he had a flash of panicked inspiration during a road-trip through the Nevada desert and made the drastic switch to a game development course. There he threw himself headfirst into the discipline and developed a healthy obsession for all things C#, Unity and tech art. He now aims to simplify the link between the designers and programmers.

    • Typical Day

      Johannes has only just joined so he’s just discovering his typical day now!

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      City guard from Skyrim - they let you do that job even with a catastrophic knee injury

  • Mike Cooper Web Project Lead
    Top 5 Games
    • Halo
    • Football Manager
    • Age Of Empires
    • Donkey Kong Country
    • Broken Sword
    • Background

      Mike has 13 years experience working with websites and web software as a designer, developer and project lead. He loves a challenge and finding creative ways to solve complex problems, especially if it involves a fancy spreadsheet.

    • Typical Day

      My day to day work usually involves planning, work allocation, and as much coding as I can find time for.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      George Stobbart - "That was almost a great idea. Almost."

  • Jason Stone Lead Web Designer
    Top 5 Games
    • Terraria
    • Age of Empires II
    • Counter Strike: Global Offensive
    • Final Fantasy VII / VIII
    • Rocket League
    • Background

      Jason is a very driven and passionate Designer and Front-end Web Developer with over 10 years experience working with websites, drawing from a background in 3D model making and traditional graphic design.

    • Typical Day

      I spend my working days finding creative solutions with colleagues to realise a projects full potential. This usually revolves around Photoshop and front-end coding, as well as in-depth discussion and collaborative working.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Cloud. He has awesome hair and kicks ass! He also gets to ride Chocobos, which is cool.

  • Dan Smith Senior Web Developer
    Top 5 Games
    • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault / Spearhead
    • Counter Strike: Global Offensive
    • Qwak
    • Sensible World of Soccer
    • Timesplitters 2
    • Background

      Dan has now been a web developer for over 4 years and prides himself on attention to detail and clean code. He is a massive fan of web standards and is always looking for ways to make his code more efficient!

    • Typical Day

      On a typical day I would be implementing a front end design, but I like to get involved with the server side of things too.

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Leisure Suit Larry...

  • Jaime Gray Office Administrator
    Top 5 Games
    • Age of Empires II
    • Pac-Man
    • Theme Hospital
    • Diner Dash
    • Space Invaders
    • Background

      Prior to recently joining Team Dlala as an Office Administrator, Jaime has worked in a administration for over ten years, gaining a varied experience in diverse roles. In recent years this has included a more financial focus, including responsibilities in the areas of Credit Control and Debt Collection.

    • Typical Day

      The majority of my day is spent monitoring and recording bank transactions and ensuring everything is accurately logged onto our accounting software.  As the “new girl” I’m still enjoying learning all about the world of gaming!

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      This will probably change as my gaming education grows, but Pac-Man - he munches his way through life without ever putting on any weight!

  • Tom Butler Intern Dlalan
    Top 5 Games
    • Assassins Creed 2
    • Red Dead Redemption
    • Mafia 3
    • Batman: Arkham City
    • Spider-man
    • Background

      After a successful month long placement over the Summer, Tom is back again to the Dlala family to do one day a week whilst at college!

    • Typical Day

      Tom can be seen helping out across all the departments! No two days the same!

    • If you could be any video game character, who and why?

      Spider-man, because you get to travel in style and make cheesey jokes

  • Hugo Chief Dog Officer
    Top 5 Games
    • Harass Ben
    • Push Out Chairs and Jump On Tables
    • Destroy Cintiq Pens
    • Hunting Superman
    • Silent Barking
    • Background

      Hugo joined Dlala around 2 years ago just after his second set of vaccinations. Hugo technically belongs to Aj and his girlfriend Harri but in reality we all belong to Hugo!

    • Typical Day

      Runs in the office excited to be here, jumps onto Chris’s lap. Does a few laps of the office. Waits for Ben to get in, harasses Ben all day. Eats, sleeps and harasses Ben some more. Pushes out chairs, turns on Xbox Dev Kits, steals pens from Cintiqs.

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