About Us

About Your
Favourite Team


Our Story

We’re a award-winning Kiwi game development studio based in (Ōtepoti), Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand. We are the creative minds behind Before We Leave, a strategic, non-violent city building game that allows players to build immersive interplanetary civilisations at their own pace.

Our aim is to create accessible, inclusive games that spark a sense of wonder and exploration. As Mama Monkey and Chief Monkey might say, “We just want to help make good games and make the world a better place”.


Creative Director & Lead Developer

Sam began working on his first game Before We Leave in 2017 as a hobby project, while balancing the other demands of full-time work and fatherhood. He started his software development career 20+ years ago, working on the children’s television programme “Squirt” at Animation Research Limited and other assorted tomfoolery.


Technical Artist & Programmer

Isaac joined Balancing Monkey Games in 2019 after completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Photography. A self-taught programmer and Technical Artist, he is responsible for making Before We Leave look really pretty, as well as prototyping and developing many of the gameplay systems.


Managing Director

Anna and Sam Barham set up Balancing Monkey Games in 2017, and Anna picked up the role of Managing Director in September 2020. Prior to this she managed a medical centre for five years, gained an MSc in Psychology, and has worked in fundraising, volunteer coordination, and tutoring disabled adults.


Community & Media Manager

After moving across the Tasman to Aotearoa in 2019, Emily joined Balancing Monkey Games as their Community and Media Manager in March 2020 and has been there ever since. Bringing a wide range of skills to the team, you can usually find her juggling a weird and wonderful variety of tasks and imbuing the Before We Leave community with as much love as possible.


Junior Producer

Sarah joined Balancing Monkey Games as a Junior Producer in September 2021, after graduating from Otago University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2018. Coming from a theatrical and journalistic/writing background, her work days consist of an array of tasks from across the board, keeping team morale high and organisation galore.

Mereana Johnston

Programmer/Game Designer

Mereana joined Balancing Monkey Games in January 2022 after spending a year tutoring Game Development and Programming at Massey University in Pōneke, Aotearoa (Wellington, New Zealand). With a traditional art background that somehow morphed into writing code during her Bachelor’s degree, she is responsible for helping with game design and then prototyping those designs to see if they are any good.

Tom Garden

Senior Artist

After working in the games industry for over ten years with studios like TinMan Games and Dunedin's own Runaway Play, Tom decided to join Balancing Monkey Games as a Senior Artist. Excelling in all things creative, you can find Tom in his garden, noodling on his guitar, or writing and drawing his comic.