Volume and Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell is building his own studio instead of coding in his shed

Mike Bithell

A legendary British developer has “seismic, massive stuff” on the horizon. No, Peter Molyneux isn’t making an Ouya-exclusive sequel to Godus, it’s that lovely bloke Mike Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone and Volume, speaking to MCV about his secret projects and his now not-so-secret plans to build his own studio. 

Thomas Was Alone made its way onto our list of the best indie games on PC, so if you like games about sentient oblongs that definitely weren’t a product of budget restraints, check it out.

As well as creating Volume’s VR expansion, Coda, Bithell and team have been secretly beavering away on some other stuff, one of which might come out sooner than you’re expecting.

“I have a smaller project which I think will surprise people by how quickly it comes out,” Bithell told MCV over a cup of dairy free latte, probably. “It’s something I’ve been fiddling with since the end of Volume, so about six months. A little idea – a few ideas I’ve bashed together, actually.

“It’s probably the last thing I’ll code if everything goes to plan, and that’s a horrible thing to say. That’s a quote that some smart ass will throw at me in ten years time when I’m sat in my shed.” (Remember to make five headlines out of this in a decade – Ed)

Bithell also talks about the aforementioned “seismic, massive stuff”, which seems to involve some kind of collaboration born off the back of Volume’s success.

“Volume opened some very cool doors,” said Bithell. “We were already talking to various people about various things but once Volume came out and sold well and reviewed well, a lot of people became interested in working with us.” Reports of Bithell whispering “Kojima” from beneath his Costa Coffee napkin are unconfirmed.

The Bithell train doesn’t stop there, though, because the Thomas Was Alone creator is planning on opening his own development studio full of in-house creators. It seems like a logical step for the creator. After all, by the end of Volume’s development he was already leading a team of 30.

“Before I was independent I worked on games including tiny little projects and million dollar projects, so I know how someone like me fits into those processes,” Bithell explained to MCV, his coffee cup now empty, but with its frothy remnants clinging to his Kojima-style stubble. “I didn’t do much coding in the last six months of Volume’s development. I did the core game, but the servers weren’t me, a lot of the underlying UI and porting wasn’t me, so it’s something I feel I’ve transitioned into.

“I can see myself bouncing between smaller things and bigger things, doing smaller things on the side while making a bigger thing. I’m not sure how it will play out. I’m always gonna have that interest in both ends. I play a lot of triple-A stuff but I also like small games and I want to make both. Diversity is the objective.”

Cheers, MCV.