Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street has been talking big on Twitter about his new game studio and new MMORPG following his exit from Riot Games and the Riot MMO this past spring, and today, we finally know what it is – and who’s funding it: No less than NetEase Games announced today that Street is helming a NetEase studio called Fantastic Pixel Castle, an all-remote team working on a AAA “modernized fantasy MMORPG” currently codenamed Ghost, “set in a new fantasy universe.”
“With Fantastic Pixel Castle and Ghost, we want to demonstrate our commitment to open communication and development in front of players,” Street says. “MMOs are arguably one of the most challenging genres of games to make, but we have some big advantages. We are a fully remote studio, allowing us to hire the best game developers, and we plan to stay small, so that we can iterate on our design quickly. We also want to show the game early and often to the community and make sure we are on the right track to incorporate constant feedback. This is possible because NetEase Games is a strategic partner that understands our vision, and gives us the creative autonomy, resources and support to be successful.”
Readers will recall that Street was the popular former lead systems designer for World of Warcraft and the EP on Riot’s League of Legends MMO; he announced the formation of this new studio back in April, just weeks after leaving Riot. He’s been scooping up devs ever since, including WoW’s Brian Holinka.
And of course, NetEase’s ongoing quarrels with Activision-Blizzard have led to multiple former Blizzard leads fronting new NetEase-funded studios, including Ben Brode of Hearthstone (and now Marvel Snap) fame. In fact, the Chinese gaming giant is spearheading multiple big-name MMORPGs for the western market led by veteran devs, including Jack Emmert’s Warhammer MMO and Rich Vogel’s unnamed MMO at T-Minus Zero, making NetEase’s intentions here more than clear.
In the announcement video, Street calls Ghost an “epic new MMO” and reiterates his Twitter musings on interfacing with the MMO community earlier than most AAA titles do. He promises an AMA – but not gameplay footage – in a stream next week on November 8th.