A team of developers whose previous work includes Halo Infinite, the Batman: Arkham trilogy and Doom (2016) has teamed up with Chinese tech giant NetEase to create a new studio that will bring AAA polish to narrative action games will develop.
The announcement of new all-star studio Jar of Sparks comes less than two months after Halo Infinite’s head of design Jerry Hook left 343 Industries. Hook is the studio head and CEO and will work with fellow founding members Paul Crocker, who was senior narrative director on the Batman: Arkham trilogy; Greg Stone, who produced the 2016 Doom revival, and Steve Dyck, whose credits include the Halo series, SSX, and NBA Street.
Hook says the studio’s mission “is to create a new generation of narrative action games in a new world.”
“We will make games that are fun with a team that has the creative freedom to innovate and pursue their dreams,” Hook continued Twitter (opens in new tab). “We’re just starting out as a remote/hybrid studio and will be opening roles that are available globally.”
“We’ve made games for some of the biggest gaming companies, and now it’s time to bottle our own personal Blitz. We want to create something new, innovative, and that’s fun,” Hook said in the press release (opens in new tab).
“When looking for a new studio, the most important part of finding the right partner was aligning with core goals, having the freedom to take innovative risks, and putting our developers’ passion first. This meant that our player experiences came before the deal, which itself is a risk. NetEase came to the table with a strong creative initial approach; they showed the same passion we have for our players and building new experiences that we believe players are looking for.”
In conversation with IGN (opens in new tab) Accompanying today’s announcement, Hook predicted that the debut title of Jar of Sparks will be around 3-4 years after release. And while his work on projects like Xbox Live and Destiny might raise a few eyebrows, Hook has confirmed that the studio’s first project won’t be a live service game, due to the pressure such things put on a small studio in its infancy exercise
“[O]One of the biggest challenges we all face is that there is a limit to the risk you can take in a new studio,” Hook said. “You form a complete team of people who don’t know each other, have never met, worked together or have brand new IP. The live service adds even more complexity on top of that, and I think from my own experience with service-oriented games that the amount of work you have to do to get a live service up and running is pretty massive.”
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