There’s a new games studio in town: Possibility Space, led by veteran game executive Jeff Strain. Strain, of course, is best known to MMORPG audience as one of the founders of ArenaNet and pioneers of Classic Guild Wars, but he also founded Undead Labs and rolled out the State of Decay franchise and was a senior dev on multiple classic Blizzard titles, including Diablo and World of Warcraft. (Unsurprisingly given the ongoing Blizzard scandals, the press release doesn’t mention Blizzard at all; we’ve previously covered how Strain departed Blizzard in 1998 over disagreements that most definitely make Strain look even better – and Blizzard look even worse – in hindsight.)
In any case, his other companies have long since been sold off (to NCsoft and Microsoft, respectively), freeing up Strain for new projects. The new company includes luminaries from a wide range of studios, including Valve, Ubisoft, BioWare, and EA – many of whom get a quote in the press release, which is somewhat unusual.
The downside is we don’t really know what they’re working on. “Possibility Space is built around an innovative model where game developers can create shared human experiences in an ambitious, physically distributed studio,” the announcement reads. “Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, Possibility Space is drawing talent from around the world by allowing passionate developers to live and work wherever they want. It’s the natural next step in Strain’s decades-long commitment to creating world-class games within safe and ethical work environments.” The statement also says that the company “works to identify, mentor, train, and hire individuals from underserved and overlooked communities and backgrounds.”
The jobs page doesn’t offer many clues either: “services that enable players to connect and interact with each other in novel ways,” “scalable game experience,” “experience developing for a live, service-based game,” and experience with Unity, Unreal, PlayFab, Docker, Kubernetesor, Azure – again, not too revealing.
“We felt this was the right time to create something new–a studio built from the ground up to embrace evolving needs and perspectives for both players and developers,” Strain says. “Like many others, the past year and a half has been a fraught time for me. While I am grateful that my family is safe, the anxiety, fear, and isolation of the last 18 months has been almost unbearable at times. That fear and isolation was the catalyst for Possibility Space, a modern kind of game studio, where we are creating a joyful game that’s been my dream for many years. I’m delighted and grateful for the team that has chosen to share in this vision and bring it life.”
The website has probably the best analogy for a video game studio I’ve ever seen.
“We are a gumbo. With core support offices in New Orleans, we know a thing or two about a good gumbo. And just like the layered, complex tastes of a good gumbo, our strength is in the combination and collaboration between quality people and their talents. We are diligent in looking for talent in unexpected places, and rigorous in nurturing emerging industry talent. Just like a gumbo, our collective, differentiated experiences, perspectives, and talents combine to form our strength.”
Obviously, it must be a gumbo-cooking simulation MMO with Firewatch’s art style. And you know… from Strain, we’d play that.