Half of the LawBreakers founding team has left the studio

The face of LawBreakers development and Boss Key is arguably Cliff Bleszinski, but Arjan Brussee was co-founder of the studio and half of the brain trust behind the studio as a whole. We use the past-tense there, though, because according to Twitter Brussee is no longer with the studio. He’s announced that he has left and is heading back to Epic Games to work on a “secret project,” with no word on what that might entail.

Of course, that’s what makes it a secret, but you know how it is.

Bleszinski himself has wished Brussee the best of luck on Twitter without any acrimonious undertones. There’s no announcement at this point about who will take over Brussee’s duties at Boss Key. It’s not an entirely unusual move after a studio’s first major release has shipped for people to move on to different careers; we’ll see what this means in the longer term for Boss Key (if anything) in the months to come.

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The Daily Grind: Do you grade MMO studios on a curve?

Here’s a non-surprise that came out of a discussion between Bree and me: We totally grade MMO studios on a curve. That curve is determined by giving a damn. All else being equal, we tend to be a bit more forgiving of studios that give the impression of at least caring about what they’re doing, even if it’s care in horribly misguided directions or in service of awful design choices.

It makes a lot of sense to me; a lot of my own fondness for Funcom comes from a sense that even while the studio was struggling and/or making awful decisions, it’s still a team of people who care about what they’re doing. By contrast, there are companies that really don’t seem to give a toss about anything beyond the current big ticket. Part of my own uncomfortable feelings about World of Warcraft come from the sense that Blizzard has long since stopped giving a damn.

That doesn’t mean that we’re unwilling to be harsh when studios we like screw up badly; it just means that the sense of effort and genuine care gets a bit more leeway. What about you, dear readers? Do you grade MMO studios on a curve, and if so, what determines the adjustment?

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Nexon kills top-secret Nebula project, closes studio

What might be worse than having an interesting-looking MMORPG in development shut down before it reaches launch is having one cloaked under the veil of secrecy given the axe. The “what ifs” and “what could have beens” can drive one mad. is reporting that Nexon has made the decision to close a southern California studio, lay off the staff, and cancel the mysterious game known only as Nebula.

There was very little known about Nebula, other than some cryptic quotes and black-and-white art on its website. The game was subtitled “the thrill of adventure” and talked about exploring the unknown while a girl looked up at the heavens with a telescope. There were also images of a shattered world and comets streaking across the sky.

The team had been looking to hire a senior character artist, a level designer, a technical artist, and a technical director, although that looks to be over and done with now.



Rovio opens London-based MMO studio with a new IP

Angry Birds creator Rovio is branching out into the MMO market. The company announced that it has opened a new studio in London devoted to creating massively multiplayer online games. The studio already is focused on the creation of a new, unnamed IP as its first project.

Head of Studio Mark Sorrell explains the focus behind this studio, team, and project: “We believe that the best game experiences are those that you share with other people. So we’re starting a studio to do exactly this. We look forward to bringing a diverse team together to deliver unique MMOs that are creative, inclusive and delightful.”

With this move, Rovio now has five studios operating across Europe. The London studio is looking to hire and cultivate a team of 20 members over the next couple of years.

Source: Rovio. Thanks Daras!


Star Citizen is reportedly unaffected by the Crytek shutdowns

Here’s the bad news: Crytek, the company behind the CryEngine, has been forced to shutter five separate studios as part of a major restructuring. Here’s the good news: Star Citizen, which runs on a heavily modified version of the aforementioned CryEngine, should be unaffected by the state of Crytek. According to Chris Roberts, the game isn’t reliant upon anything from Crytek, so their change in status shouldn’t have any impact upon the game’s further development.

Here’s the even better news: Star Citizen’s Star Marine is still just around the corner, if you missed it yesterday. So it’s especially good to know that Crytek’s struggles won’t lead to any delays with that particular release. Not that any of that helps the people affected by Crytek’s sell-off and downsizing, of course.

Source: Polygon


Ubisoft Annecy joins the many teams working on The Division

You remember The Division, right? We sort of do. It was supposed to be released… eventually. Was it supposed to be now? Meh, doesn’t matter, it’s not here yet. But another team has taken on some of the duties of bringing it to life, as Ubisoft Annecy has joined Massive Entertainment, Red Storm, and Reflections in the network of studios collaborating on this one game.

Ubisoft Annecy is likely most familiar to players from Assassin’s Creed multiplayer portions, up to and including Assassin’s Creed Unity. Of course, The Division is supposed to be multiplayer by its very nature, so it’s not yet clear exactly what Annecy will be doing in the game. We’ll just have to wait and see.

[Source: Ubisoft blog]