Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain to open a game dev studio and academy in New Orleans

    
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Jeff Strain, the former ArenaNet co-founder who went on to helm State of Decay developer Undead Labs, has decided to expand his horizons with the announced launch of a game dev studio and broad-discipline game dev academy in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Specifics on just what this new initiative is all about are a bit thin, as things are still apparently pulling together, but the purpose of this new studio is to nurture talent in places that otherwise aren’t known as hotbeds for games development:

“Big ideas don’t always come from the biggest cities or the flashiest neighborhoods. Sometimes the heroes come from places like Marshall or Spencer’s Mill. That’s why game development needs a bigger base, where the know-how, grit, and ideas of even more people can find their way to the public.”

Strain will continue his role as studio head of Undead Labs with the support of Microsoft and Xbox, and this likely won’t mean anything for State of Decay 2’s arrival to Steam; it just means that New Orleans will hopefully become a bed for new talent to grow.

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Toy Clown

I love that he’s setting up in New Orleans. That area is rich in history and culture and is in need of what this could bring to the area. Good on him!

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Jack Pipsam

Reminds me a little of ‘The Insight Project’ at Ninja Theory where Microsoft is allowing the studios to open-up side gigs which aren’t directly just making games.

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peor togs

We need more stuff like this; good luck!

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Greaterdivinity

Huh, didn’t think SoD was doing well enough to spin up a new studio. Guess it’s doing better than I thought, or Microsoft has more confidence in them.

Still holding out hope for the MMO to come out one of these days…

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Jack Pipsam

The original Xbox 360 State of Decay was a massive financial success for Undead Labs/Microsoft, with extra revenue no doubt generation by the Steam and later Xbox One versions plus DLC.

State of Decay 2 I know did very well initially thanks to Game Pass for getting players in the door, but I no idea how it sold on its own though as the reception wasn’t that hot for it, but I know it has a following, how big of a following I cannot say as there was some interest around the expansion announced/release during E3.

That being said, of the different studios Microsoft recently bought, I personally took Undead Labs as almost saving face, I don’t think the studio can self-fund anything else or have any interest from any other publisher, so as they were in the buying mood they might as well make it a formality to just take the studio under their wing or risk it possibly going away.

I’ve heard since being acquired they’ve properly being able to hire up to fill the missing gaps in areas like animations etc.
But I believe the future of the series will be entirely reliant on whatever State of Decay 3 becomes, their last real chance I reckon. New hardware, new funding and hopefully polished at release.
Maybe after that a live-service MMO thing might be made or they might just give up on Zombies and go on to do something else.