One year out of school, the founders of OddBird Studio are soaring to new heights.
Joshua Cappelli, Shae Humphries, Brendan Muir, Cody Romphf, Benjamin Scott and Zack Wolfe (Bachelor of Game Design ’18) are the masterminds behind OddBird – a company that offers services for all aspects of the game development process. Today, the young grads are building off the accolades they won as students.
OddBird was first conceived during the group’s second year at Sheridan, when the team came together to create Arrow Heads —a fast-paced multiplayer archery game that features bow-and-arrow-wielding birds. The game picked up several awards, including Best in Show and Best Artistic Achievement at the 2016 Level Up: Student Showcase. It was also the winner of the 2016 ESAC Student Game Competition and a semi-finalist for the 2016 Adobe Design Achievement Awards. The awards gave OddBird the unique opportunity to pitch their product to top execs from some of North America’s leading video game studios.
The team says that their business acumen was refined at Sheridan, thanks to entrepreneurship seminars that equipped the young grads with the skills needed to get a business off the ground. Shortly after graduating in 2018, OddBird moved into EDGE at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion Campus — a space developed to help entrepreneurs build their ventures through networking and mentorship opportunities, co-working space and training.
While OddBird initially planned to use their time at EDGE to bring their games to market, the company temporarily put their own game design work on the backburner. Instead, they began focusing on building their business and earning a reputation in the industry.
“We’re working to be more sustainable. We want to structure our business in a way that we can continue to do what we love, but also to make sure it doesn’t stop one day because we didn’t plan ahead and give ourselves enough runway,” explains Romphf.
“The difference was in our teamwork and communication. We have a constant, underlying respect for one another. We know each other as friends as well as co-workers, and we don’t just say goodbye when we leave the office. We take the time to hang out and celebrate our victories.”
The strategy is paying off. OddBird has quickly gained cachet in Canada’s gaming industry, enabling them to fly the coop at EDGE and move into a new office space by the Waterfront in Toronto. They count Beautiful Glitch, Laundry Bear and Those Awesome Guys among their clients, recently worked with tech company Avara to create assets that were used in the Anthropocene exhibit on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and have partnered with Snowman to develop new properties.
The team credits much of their success to the fact that they’ve prioritized communication. Looking back to some of the gaming competitions they won as students, Cappelli says he remembers seeing other student teams that, individually, had better programmers or artists.
“The difference was in our teamwork and communication. We have a constant, underlying respect for one another,” Cappelli says. “We know each other as friends as well as co-workers, and we don’t just say goodbye when we leave the office. We take the time to hang out and celebrate our victories.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Bachelor of Game Design program here.