Jeff Strain—co-founder of Guild Wars studio ArenaNet and founder of State Of Decay studio Undead Labs—is now founding a new game studio once again. Strain’s studio Possibility Space has already drawn in a group of leadership talent worth paying attention to with history at the likes of Valve, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, BioWare, Double Fine, and more. Possibility Space doesn’t have a game to announce just yet, but is hiring up for their first “joyful game” that Strain describes as his “dream for many years.”
In lieu of a game announcement, Possibility Space focus on their plans for “ethical work environments,” particularly the distributed studio format. Although it’s based in New Orleans, the studio allows members to live anywhere they choose. “We felt this was the right time to create something new–a studio built from the ground up to embrace evolving needs and perspectives for both players and developers,” Strain says of the plan for Possibility Space.
As for the other talent involved, Possibility Space has brought on an experienced group of developers to start. Former Firewatch lead environment artist and Half-Life: Alyx artist Jane Ng joins as visual director. Watch Dogs Legion team lead designer Liz England will be their simulation and narrative systems director. They’ve also pulled in Austin Walker, Waypoint journalist and podcaster, as IP director.
The names continue on in Possibility Space’s formal announcement:
“Richard Foge (Undead Labs, ProbablyMonsters) as VP of design; Brandon Dillon (Oculus, Double Fine) as VP of engineering; Leah Rivera (Undead Labs, ArenaNet) as senior narrative systems designer; Brian Jennings (NZXR, Magic Leap) as technical design director; Charles Randall (Ubisoft, BioWare) and Erica Tam (Electronic Arts, Oculus) as senior gameplay engineers.”
As for what they’re working on, Possibility Space haven’t said yet. “The phrase ‘triple-A’ has a lot of baggage in the development community,” Strain told IGN, “so it’s not a phrase I like to use. It often implies a lack of innovation. Developers are often not viewing [AAA] as a positive. [But] are we going for a small-scale, purely innovation based attempt to capture a niche market, or do we have big ambitious goals and the resources to match those big ambitious goals? I can tell you it’s very much the latter.”
Strain’s former studios ArenaNet and Undead Labs both have well-regarded game series to their names. With a solid group of leadership also with interesting work under their belts, I’ll be keen to see if they can pull it off again.
That’s all from Possibility Space for now, though if you want to clue hunt through their job postings, you can find those on their website.