Industry veteran Jeff Strain has opened Possibility Space, a new game development studio that uses remote working to attract talent from around the world.
Strain is a former Blizzard developer who co-founded ArenaNet, the studio behind Guild Wars, over 20 years ago. He also founded Undead Labs, the studio behind it State of decay that Microsoft has acquired in 2018. Possibility Space has also garnered some impressive talent, including former developers from Campo Santo, Ubisoft, Insomniac, Double Fine, BioWare, EA and more.
“We felt this was the right time to create something new – a studio built from the ground up to accommodate evolving needs and perspectives for both gamers and developers,” writes Strain in a press release. “Like many others, the last year and a half have been a stressful time for me. Although I am grateful that my family is safe, the fear, anxiety and isolation of the past 18 months have sometimes been almost unbearable. This fear and isolation were the trigger for Possibility Space, a modern game studio in which we develop a happy game that has been my dream for many years. ”
This COVID-19-related fear also apparently inspired Strain to turn Possibility Space into a “distributed game development studio” that “allows developers to live and work wherever they want”. While the company welcomes remote work, Possibility Space will be based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Some of the talents joining Strain at Possibility Space include former Firewatch senior ambient artist Jane Ng, who also served as an artist on Half-Life: Alyx. Ng is the visual director of Possibility Space. Liz England, previously the lead designer on Watch Dogs: Legion and Sunset Overdrive, will join the studio as design director for narrative systems. Former Waypoint Editor-in-Chief Austin Walker will serve as Possibility Space’s IP Director.
In addition to its commitment to remote working, which opens doors to developers worldwide, Possibility Space also aims to help underserved communities where its developers might live.
“[Possibilty Space] is built from the ground up as a distributed studio that allows employees to live where they want to live and work while supporting the communities they love, ”read a press release about the studio. “The New Orleans, Louisiana-based studio is also working to identify, mentor, train, and hire people from underserved and overlooked communities and backgrounds.”
Today’s news comes two months later Strain urged the gaming industry to unionize in view of the ongoing lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, citing “enough is enough”. In the open letter in which Strain said this, he also said that he welcomes his own employees to unionize and that they have his “full support”.
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