Zynga’s Marko Lastikka teams up with Netflix to open new studio

The studio will be responsible for delivering “a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games”

Netflix will open a new studio in Helsinki, the company’s second in Finland, with Zynga vice president and general manager Marko Lastikka is set to head up operations as studio director.

Following its acquisition of Night School Studio, Next Games and Boss Fight Entertainment, Netflix is set to continue its upwards trajectory by opening a fourth internal studio based in Helsinki. Netflix’s vice president of game studios, Amir Rahimi, shared that Helsinki is home to “some of the best game talent in the world,” which informed the company’s decision to expand there.

“This will be a games studio that we build from scratch,” he continued. It will be Netflix’s “second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year.” Speaking to the acquisition of Night School Studio and Boss Fight Entertainment, Rahimi continued that the four studios each have “different strengths and focus areas” and will develop games to “suit the diverse tastes” of Netflix users.

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Farmville 3
Farmville 3. Credit: Zynga.

Lastikka, who is also known for his work as general manager and executive producer at EA as well as almost nine years working with Digital Chocolate, will be the new studio’s director. Lastikka was responsible for the creation and live service operations of Simcity Buildit during his time at EA as well as working on Farmville 3 in his current role at Zynga.

The new Finnish studio will be responsible for delivering “a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games” said Rahimi, before adding that there will be “no ads and no in-app purchases” in any of the studio’s offerings.

At Tudum 2022, a majority film and TV-based fan event, Netflix sandwiched in a few surprise game announcements. Firstly, Oxenfree, the acclaimed supernatural adventure game, is out now for subscribers. Strategy game Desta: The Memories Between will release tomorrow (September 27) alongside Spongebob Squarepants: Get Cooking.

In other gaming news, Jeremy Corbyn has been playing a modded Doom game that enables the re-killing of Margaret Thatcher.

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