Jeff Strain, founder of State of Decay developer Undead Labs and former lead programmer for World of Warcraft, this week announced the formation of the new studio Possibility Space—and is starting out with some reasonably impressive talent.
While in New Orleans, Strain tells IGN That most of the employees will be working remotely. Studios may have struggled to adjust to the transition to remote work during the pandemic, but Strain believes the industry has proven at large that it can “develop great games in a distributed fashion.” may continue to do so”.
“The pandemic accelerated a lot of trends that were already in place,” Strain said. “The fact is, it’s totally possible to work wherever you want to work and live where you want to be. I think most developers prefer freedom.”
The decentralization of studio staff also opens doors to a wider range of talent, and the likely location starts with a impressive lineup– One of the key figures of Watch Dogs Legions, including Firewatch lead environmental artist Jen Ng, Waypoint founder and podcaster Austin Walker, and game designer Liz England play as anyone feature. Also included are Richard Foge (Undead Labs), Brandon Dillon (Oculus), Leah Rivera (Undead Labs), Brian Jennings (NZXR), Erica Tam (EA) and Charles Randall (Ubisoft).
Along with remote work, Possibility Space also hopes to try to create a safe, inclusive workplace from the ground up. In the wake of Ubisoft, Activision, and recent allegations of paradox, Strain has deemed “the most important issue facing our industry right now” is creating a culture that doesn’t foster abusive environments – one that hopes That would allow the studio well enough to continue even if he should leave the company.
“It’s not that hard to treat people fairly and equitably. I’ve learned that it’s not enough to just have good intentions. It’s not enough to aspire for diversity. You have to create a structure that you follow to be fair. .
“We started by making sure we cast a very wide net and looked at the widest range of people to make sure we were getting fair representation at all levels of the company. Those people are now on board and stronger. consultants and to make sure we hire people over the next five, 10 years, we build a culture that survives…
I’m usually very skeptical when seasoned industry figures brush it off on their own—after all, who’s still talking about disinformation these days? I’m also wary of Strain’s statement that the team has “big ambitious goals and the resources to match those big ambitious goals.” But considering the names involved, here’s hoping the likely spot can buck the trend and help set a better example for more sustainable, ethical game development.