Hinterland: High-tech from home

A Cumberland business uses crowdsourcing to fund a video game.

The Village of Cumberland is no booming metropolis, however, that doesn’t hinder small businesses from succeeding.

Hinterland is a prime example.

Hinterland is an independent game studio located on Dunsmuir Avenue.

The company’s upcoming game, The Long Dark, has already received international attention.

The Hinterland team has been working on The Long

Dark since the busi- ness launched in Feb. 2013, and is nearing the finishing stages of the game. The game was featured on the crowd- funding website Kick- starter. With an original goal of $200,000, The Long Dark successful- ly captivated people’s interest, generating $256,000 from the site’s donors.

Founder and creative director of Hinterland, Raphael van Lierop, who lives in Cumber- land with his wife and two children, is excited.

“We looked at a lot of other towns and we picked Cumberland because it has a really interesting, creative spirit,” van Lierop says.

Van Lierop, who has 13 years of game industry experience, moved from Vancouver, leaving his job at Relic Entertainment to try some- thing new.

“There’s no reason at all why peo- ple shouldn’t be able to decide where they live based on the quality of life and what’s right for their families first, and then figure out the work piece after,” van Lierop says.

Van Lierop says that his choice to set up in Cumberland hasn’t stopped his team from expanding, adding that because he was tired of moving around for work, he wouldn’t ask others at Hinterland to do the same. “My team is all over North Amer- ica. I’ve got people in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Chi- cago, L.A. They’re all over the place, and we’re all able to work together because of all these tools that we have, and all of us are able to live where we want to live.”

The Long Dark, which is set in a Canadian wilderness, is esthetically influenced by Cumberland’s land- scape and nature. Van Lierop adds that there’s a bit of humour found in the idea of a high-tech business being located in a place like Cumberland.

“I’ll admit, I really love the contrast: The idea of doing world-class work in the high-tech field in this tiny town of 3,500 people at the foot of the mountains. This

is the last place that people would expect for it to be possible.”

Van Lierop, who travels inter- nationally every year, appreciates that Cumberland is an accessible location.

“You have the benefit of being able to link up to big cities when you want to, but you also can retreat back here when you’re done.”

Van Lierop believes that the Comox Valley is recognizing that high-tech businesses such as Hin- terland are becoming a large part of the future.

“I’d like to see Hinterland become like an anchor business here.”

For more information about Hinterland, visit www.hinterlandgames.com.

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