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Cambridge game developer's pub gets the green light

Impression of the Bird or Worm? pub on Newmarket Road
Impression of the Bird or Worm? pub on Newmarket Road

Ninja Theory wants a pub in its new building on Newmarket Road.

Ninja Theory
Ninja Theory

A new pub on Newmarket Road has been given the green light and will be run by a Cambridge video games developer.

Ninja Theory, which was formed in Cambridge in 2004, will take over the site where the The Five Bells now stands, unused.

Company co-founder Nina Kristensen, one of the firm’s directors, said: “We’re really excited about having a pub. It’s been wrongly reported before as a gaming bar, and I’m not really sure what that is, but what we’re hoping to make is just a really nice, comfortable pub that we would like to hang out in and one that other people will want to come and hang out in too.

“It sits nicely within Cambridge and that particular area.”

The pub, called The Bird or Worm?, will take space on the ground floor of the building, which will also hold a new studio for the gaming pioneers. Nina continued: “There’s a few nods to it being Ninja Theory – the name is from a particularly poignant moment in one of our earliest video games.

“We had been looking for a space for at least five years. Our requirements were pretty specific. We wanted something central which is really hard to find, and this location is amazing.

“We are also building a performance capture studio. In order to make it work properly it needs to be very tall, so that we can fit cameras on the ceilings.

“We can’t do studio work in our current office because if you swing a sword you will hit the ceiling.”

The company has been at the forefront of motion capture since the mid-2000s, and is now working on something it calls live drive, whereby people can interact in real-time with animated characters which can be ‘pushed’ into a hologram.

Nina said the industry is continuing to develop these technologies, and while they previously had to go to studios in Los Angeles or New Zealand to shoot motion capture, they will now be able to do so at their Newmarket Road studio, and other companies will also be able to use the facilities.

Planning permission for the studio and pub was granted last week, and Nina confirmed that the firm will be on the hunt for an experienced publican to take on management of the premises when they open.

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