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A League of Their Own: 30+ Game Development Studios from the CEE

While the US, Japan, and Canada are well-known for producing some of the most popular games, there is a rising force of game development companies and studios in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that are making a name for themselves in the gaming world.
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The video game industry is one of the fastest-growing and most innovative sectors in the world, with millions of gamers around the globe. While the US, Japan, and Canada are well-known for producing some of the most popular games, there is a rising force of game development companies and studios in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that are making a name for themselves in the gaming world.

According to a report by the European Games Developer Federation, the gaming industry in Europe generated more than €23 billion in revenue in 2021, with an estimated 800 game development studios across the continent. Out of these, the CEE region is home to some of the most prominent game development hubs, with Serbia especially becoming a frontrunner with more than 70 active game development studios at the moment, a recent report shows.

With a highly skilled workforce, lower operating costs, and supportive government policies, game development studios in the CEE region are poised to make a significant impact on the global gaming industry.

In this article, we explore 30+ game development studios in the CEE region, their stories, and what makes these companies stand out from the rest.

Feel free to reach out suggest more CEE game development studios to us at [email protected]

Game design

Name: 3Lateral

Country: Serbia

What they do:  3Lateral is a Novi Sad-based game development studio that develops tech game innovations focusing on digitization of human appearance and motion with a very high fidelity. The other product that 3Lateral works on, jointly with the Unreal Engine team, is the MetaHuman Creator tool, a cloud-based product that allows users to create digital characters. 

The tool enables creators to build their own characters to support their projects, such as simulations, architectural presentations, and so on. Since 2019 the Serbian company is a part of US video game and software developer Epic Games. 

Name: machinations.io

Country: Romania

What they do: Machinations.io develops a global browser-based platform to design and predict game economies and systems for premium, free2play, and play2earn games. The platform is currently used by more than 35,000 professionals, having built one of the largest game design communities out there.

The Romanian startup has attracted so far about $5 million of funding. Before this Series A round, Machinations.io raised $1.6 million in funding from Seedcamp, GapMinder, Acequia Capital and several top angel investors.

Name: Pixune Studios

Country: Poland

What they do: Pixune Studios is a Wroclaw-based full-service creative studio working with companies and individuals worldwide. The studio has an integrated team of game artists, animators, character designers, and digital artists.

Pixune has designed up to 2,000 characters for animation movies, games, books, comics and mascots in different style styles.

Name: Amber

Country: Romania

What they do: Amber is a full-service game development and creative services agency, with offices in Bucharest, Botosani, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara and Montreal. 

The company is structured as a network of studios with different skills and specializations, delivering services in full game production, co-development, engineering, design, live ops, quality assurance and more.

PC Games

Name: Ocean Media

Country: Croatia

What they do: Ocean Media is a game development company founded in 2006 and headquartered in the small Croatian town of Zapresic.

Ocean Media has developed over 100 video games for various platforms including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS/Wii, PS4. For the first seven years the company was oriented towards client work and since 2013 the company is exclusively developing and publishing original titles such as The Man With The Ivory Cane and Where Angels Cry. 

Name: Croteam

Country: Croatia

What they do: Croteam is one of the country’s pioneers in the gaming industry, founded back in 1992. The Croatian game developer has made the award winning Serious Sam series and first person philosophical puzzler The Talos Principle, and has developed more than 26 games. 

The company launched its marquee game Serious Sam in 2001, at a time when it only had only six employees and four contractors working on the development of Serious Sam. The last game from the hit series was released in 2011. 

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Name: Warhorse Studios

Country: Czech Republic

What they do: Warhorse Studios is a game development studio that creates video games for PC and consoles (Xbox One and PS4), with a team of more of than 120 professionals.

In 2014 Warhorse had a successful Kickstarter campaign for its RPG project Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a game focused on unsparing realism, re-imagined melee combat and cinematic storytelling. The game was released February 2018 and sold more than a million copies.

Mobile games

Name: Nordeus

Country: Serbia

What they do: Nordeus is a mobile games developer based in Belgrade, Serbia. Launched in 2010, Nordeus game-Top Eleven, lets users create and manage their football club. Today, the game has 260 million registered users, it is the world’s most successful mobile football management game. The company has a team that consists of more than 180 developers across 22 countries.

In 2021 the company was acquired by American video game holding company Take-Two Interactive, in one of the largest deals for the Serbian gaming industry, worth up to $378М.

That same year, the company also established the Nordeus Foundation focused on helping children acquire skills and knowledge needed to win in the digital economy by supporting education in Serbia.

Name: Nanobit

Country: Croatia

What they do: Nanobit is an award-winning global game development studio based in Zagreb, Croatia. Founded in 2008, Nanobit mobile games have amassed over 185 million downloads and a vibrant community that has reached 10 million monthly active players.

The company created its first iOS game, Fashion City in 2011. In 2015 Nanobit released its superhit game,Hollywood Story: Fashion Star, and in 2018 it had one of its game – My Story: Choose Your Path – ranked among U.S. top 100 most downloaded games and 8th most downloaded free game in the UK.

Today the company has a team of over 150 employees with expertise in art, design, mathematics, writing, content creation, programming, and engineering.

Name: Peaksel

Country: Serbia

What they do: Peaksel is a mobile development and publishing company, based in Nis, Serbia. The company was founded in 2012 and today has over 60 full-time employees, and works closely with top companies from the gaming industry. Some of its original titles include Red hands, Snake game, and Math vs Dinosaurs. 

Peaksel has a portfolio of over 300 mobile apps and games that have been downloaded more than 300 million times. The company is bootstrapped and has had no external investors up to date.

Name: Outfit7

Country: Slovenia

What they do: Outfit7 is a Slovenian game development studio that has created the Talking Tom app, one of the most famous animated cats in the world. Its games have been downloaded over 12 billion times and the animated series are watched by millions.

Outfit7 has a team of over 400 experts and consistently expands its universe of products, topping leaderboards with Talking Tom & Friends as its most prominent product.

AR/VR

Name: The Knights of Unity

Country: Poland

What they do: The Knights of Unity is a development studio that comprises 45 professional Unity developers. The company programs games, apps and simulators in Unity for other companies in the game development industry.

The company’s key areas of expertise include custom shaders, secure multiplayer server back-ends, advanced AI scripts, UI, UX, and gameplay programming. Its developers also write Unity plugins, provide security audits and teach Unity.

Knights of Unity also develop virtual reality games for multiple platforms, including Oculus and Gear VR and HTC Vive.

Name: Crystal Apps

Country: Poland

What they do: Crystal Apps is a game development studio that works on high-end virtual and augmented reality.  The Polish company provides exclusive and refined solutions for marketing, PR, education and entertainment.

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Crystal Apps has provided educational, marketing and gaming solutions for top-ranked Polish influencers that have topped Google Play charts.

Name: DPS Games

Country: Romania

What they do: DPS Games is an independent game development studio based in Bucharest, Romania. The team’s members have over 50 years of experience in producing and implementing applications spanning over all the game and software platforms and programming languages.

DPS main areas of focus are animation, rigging, mesh deformation, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

Massively multiplayer online (MMO) games

Name: Lion Game Lion

Country: Croatia

What they do: Founded in 2014 by a team of game development veterans, Lion game Lion is a developer of online multiplayer games with deep gameplay mechanics and service business models. 

The Zagreb-based game studio development have released their own games such as RAID: World War II and heist titles The Golden Grin Casino Heist, The Bomb Heists, and Sizzling Hot BBQ Pack.

Name: Moonmana

Country: Poland

What they do: Moonmana is a Gdansk-based gaming company building global online MMOs (multiplayer online games), PC, console and mobile games. Founded in 2008, Moonmana focuses on developing games for all platforms, and has developed mobile MMO strategy Pirates of Everseas which reached Top 5 strategy games in 44 countries and Top 8 strategy games in App store US.

The Polish studio has also developed a tool called Vividglow which is similar to Google translate but for programming languages.

Indie games

Name: Pine Studio

Country: Croatia

What they do: Pine Studio is a Croatian boutique games studio that crafts puzzle games, such as Faraway and The Birdcage series, SEUM, Cats in Time, Escape Simulator. Founded in 2012 and with headquarters in the town of Samobor, Pine Studio’s small team is specialized in video game development, 3D Graphics, unity 3D, puzzle and mobile games.

Name: Exordium Games

Country: Croatia

What they do: Exordium Games is an indie studio based in Zagreb, Croatia. It was founded in 2014. The studio looks to offer a diverse set of games which differ by genre and platform, thriving on fast prototyping and original concepts. 

During the past 9 years, the company has created  more than 100 games and 30 other projects in both innovation and education. 

Its games have accumulated over 20 million mobile users and over 500 thousand downloads on standalone platforms. The studio’s original projects include games such as Zero Reflex, Bear With Me, Agenda, and Last Encounter.

Name: Gamechuck

Country: Croatia

What they do: Gamechuck is a Croatia-based game development studio that wants to provide innovative and unique gaming experiences. Its vision consists of games where the mechanics are intertwined with the story, the visuals, and the sound, but also of researching ways of pushing the boundaries of existing game genres.

The studio is currently working on a new genre of games called “interactive comics”​, and also on retro styled games for its very own home-made arcade system.

A League of Their Own: 30+ Game Development Studios from the CEE, TheRecursive.com

Name: BEEZ Agency

Country: Albania

What they do: BEEZ Agency is a game development studio based in Tirana, Albania. Founded in March 2022 by entrepreneur Lorena Gjana, the project is meant to help develop the gaming industry in the country, as well as its rising gaming community.

The studio is already working on small game projects, including its upcoming game Seven Seas, and helps various clients in the industry develop their product. 

Name: Snowball 

Country: North Macedonia

What they do: Snowball Games is a North Macedonia-based indie gaming studio that creates, develops, and publishes mobile games for a full and entertaining user experience. The game studio specializes in board games such as Yatzy Dice Clash and Yatzy Ultimate, and has published 8 original titles so far.

Name: Eipix Entertainment

Country: Serbia

What they do: Eipix Entertainment is an independent game developer. Founded in 2005, the company currently has a team of 250 employees and has worked on several indie titles of various sizes, and is also active in the outsourcing business where it makes games for a variety of platforms out there. 

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During the past few years the company’s shift is towards casual games, mostly hidden object puzzle adventure and free to play games of all genres for their exclusive partner Big Fish Games on all popular platforms.

Name: Brave Giant

Country: Serbia

What they do: Brave Giant is an independent game development studio that works with premium quality video games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows Store. The studio published numerous games worldwide in more than ten different languages, across various gaming markets.

Brave Giant’s portfolio featured titles such as board games Restaurante, Vojvodina and Kings of Serbia.

Name: Intetic

Country: North Macedonia

What they do: Intetic is an independent game development studio based in North Macedonia. Founded in 2012,  the company has been developing their own games, and has released two games so far: The Strange Story of Brian Fisher Chapter 1 and The Strange Story of Brian Fisher Chapter 2. 

The studio takes a customer-centric approach to game development, with a combination of classic gaming engineering and modern practices.

Name: Cat-astrophe Games

Country: Poland

What they do: Cat-astrophe Games is an indie game studio created out of the founders’ love for cats and computer games. The studio’s games feature comic-inspired graphics. 

The game studio is also dedicated to developing computer games using blockchain technology. The Polish company is also working on addressing the limitations of current blockchain gaming, which relies on integrating NFTs and tokens into centralized Web2.5 systems, offering minimal benefits for players.

Name: Whitemoon

Country: Poland

What they do: Whitemoon is a Polish independent game development studio that specializes in mmorpg games. Established in 2008 and based in Wroclaw, Poland, the company has a team of 20 experienced industry specialists.

The company’s activities were pushed towards browser mmorpg on the Polish market and its title The Pride of Taern is the most popular Polish browser mmorpg with over a million registered players.

Name: Fineway Studios

Country: Slovakia

What they do: Fineway Studios is a small team of professional game developers founded in Slovakia and it also has an outsourcing studio based in Brno, Czech Republic. The studio is working on game production from small 2D games, up to 3D action adventures. 

The Slovak studio has so far released one game, titled Frankenstein: Master of Death, and it is also looking to release its second game called Vestige of the Past. 

Name: Masthead Studios

Country: Bulgaria

What they do: Masthead Studios is a Bulgaria-based independent game development studio focused on creating next generation games for new platforms. The company was founded in 2005 with a primary goal of making high quality, original and fun games for its users.

Name: Primal Game Studio

Country: Hungary

What they do: Primal Game Studio is an independent game development studio based in Hungary. Established in 2012, the studio is working on Supernova, a sci-fi strategy MOBA PC game and other titles such as Mandragora, an epic and dark fantasy action RPG, and Around, a hand-drawn adventure game. Its team consists of more than 50 gamers and seasoned developers dedicated to long-term and prime community experience.  

Name: NeoCoreGames

Country: Hungary

What they do: NeocoreGames is an independent video game development company founded in 2005 with its headquarters located in Budapest. The company’s team consists of professionals from diverse backgrounds including game development, graphic arts, programming and acting. 

The studio is best known for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing trilogy and Deathtrap games. The Hungarian company has also developed Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come, The Kings’ Crusade and the King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame series.

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https://therecursive.com/author/bojanstojkovski/

Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.