Binnen de helse coronacrisis waarin voortdurend games worden uitgesteld en studio’s zwaar in de problemen komen, duikt er soms ook wel eens wat beter nieuws op. Dat beter nieuws komt ditmaal in de vorm van een gloednieuwe AAA-studio die het daglicht heeft gezien: Gravity Well.

Aan het roer van deze nieuwe studio staat enerzijds Drew McCoy, de man die ooit Respawn oprichtte en er talloze games bij maakte. Hij wordt bijgestaan door anderzijds zijn partner Jon Shiring, met wie hij samenwerkte aan projecten als Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Titanfall en Apex Legends.

Gravity Well wil games maken die de ontwikkelaars zelf leuk genoeg zouden vinden om na het werk te spelen. Gezien de studio nog maar in zijn kinderschoenen staat, weten we echter nog bitter weinig over welke games dit dan precies zullen worden. De studio heeft intussen wel al een eigen site, waarop ze aangeven dat ze momenteel nieuwe werkkrachten aan het zoeken zijn.

Beide heren stellen zichzelf ook even aan ons voor:

Drew McCoy

Hi! I’m Drew, and I’m stoked to start a new studio here in LA with Slothy. We’ve been making games together for a long time and have learned a ton about ways to lead teams and ship games. We believe the time is right to shake things up in AAA game dev.

We are starting a studio because of how we want to make games. We want time to iterate on everything and get ideas and feedback from the whole team. We’re building this studio to last for decades, and that doesn’t happen without putting the team first.

We take team health as an absolute top priority. That means we are anti-crunch. That means good compensation. That means everyone at Gravity Well has creative freedom, because when someone else makes all of the decisions, work isn’t fun and the end product isn’t as good.

We prefer to cut and focus down so we only ship what we love.

If this sounds like an adventure that you want to join we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Jon Shiring

Okay, Slothy here. I just pried the keyboard away from Drew.

Ask around, and you’ll get the same answer from devs – once your team size crosses 100 people, everything changes. It’s nobody’s fault – big organizations just move slowly. You need meetings just to make decisions. Choices get siloed and brilliant creatives become less creative. So let’s just not do that. We’re going to build a team that is 80-85 people at peak.

We aren’t satisfied with the low level of creative risk that gets project funding these days. We want to explore bold new ideas exclusively for next-gen hardware and PCs.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re starting the studio for remote work from the very start. Since one of the core values of Gravity Well is increased diversity, we’re excited about not being hamstrung by relocation or work visa issues. We want to hire the best talent in the industry, regardless of where you live.

We’re excited to build this new team and we hope that you’re interested, too. If now isn’t the right time, reach out anyway and we can just have a nice conversation. If you work in games, we’d love to hear from you.

There are some key points raised in those statements. First, in an industry known for crunch it seems Gravity Well will not operate with that mind and will prioritise employee health. The studio is also going to be set up as a remote working studio, which means anyone from anywhere can apply to work for Gravity Well and not need to worry about moving cities or countries to go to work. We’re probably a couple of years away from seeing anything concrete from Gravity Well, but I’m sure the studio will be one to keep an eye on.