Moncton-based Gogii Games announced today it is opening a new office to downtown Halifax, where it plans to hire more than 20 employees in the next 18 months.

The company, which has been developing online games since 2006, released a statement this morning headlined, Load the Wagons, We Go East!  The announcement outlined plans to set up an office in Halifax that will expand the video game design and development capabilities of the company.

“In the past 10 years, we have watched a strong game development community form in the Halifax area, and with our new expansion we knew it was the right place for us to grow,” said Gogii President George Donovan in a statement. “Looking at the talent pool already available in the region, the 38,000-plus undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Nova Scotia’s 10 universities and 13 community college campuses, and the commitment from the local and regional governments to support video game development, Halifax was an easy choice to expand Gogii’s operations.”

Gogii Games, which now has 10 employees in Moncton, is an independent mobile and casual game developer whose 90 games have been downloaded more than 160 million times worldwide. The company has released a long line of premium and free-to-play games developed in Unity and using Gogii’s own proprietary back-end game service platform.

Gogii, a maker of casual games whose titles include Pet Zoometery and Archie: Betty or Veronica, plans to launch three new mobile free-to-play games in 2017 in partnership with San Francisco-based Last Day of Work Software, or LDW. Gogii’s teams will develop and support the titles for players to give LDW’s massive player base more of the great experiences they’ve come to expect from the brands, said Donovan.

Gogii and LDW are looking to Halifax to support the growth needed to accelerate the development of additional titles, and to build out Gogii’s capabilities to support opportunities worldwide.

Donovan said Gogii, which is receiving support from Nova Scotia Business Inc., has lined up five employees to hire immediately and needs to bring on five more as soon as possible. He said the company has “more work than we can handle and with 13 new projects in our scope in Year 1 there is a lot in front of us.”

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Gogii’s first title to launch in the second quarter of 2017 will be “Fish Tycoon 2: Virtual Aquarium”, a new title in the storied Fish Tycoon franchise that has already seen more than 100 million lifetime downloads across the brand. The company said early performance of Fish Tycoon 2 through a soft launch is showing better-than-expected results.

Beyond the opportunities created through the LDW partnership, Gogii is working with a U.S.-based game publisher to work as its Research and Development team for new styles and types of games. The long-term engagement will see Gogii developing unique twists on hit games to disrupt the monotony players experience playing more carbon copies of games they’ve already tried before.

Gogii’s studio in Halifax will focus on hiring both junior- and senior-level developers, artists, operations and production personnel to support an ongoing growth trajectory.