Former Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Yaiba and Spec Ops Devs Form New AAA Studio
Written Tuesday, March 18, 2014 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Consisting of a fifteen person team and a next-gen project with the working title of Daedalus, former Call of Duty, Spec Ops: The Line, Tomb Raider and Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z devs have jumped ship to form their own AAA games studio, Tangentleman.
The team includes ex-Infinity Ward Art Director Richard Smith whose credits include the Call of Duty series and Titanfall, Lead Designer Cory Davis, who was the leading creative on Spec Ops: The Line, Game Director Toby Gard, the Lara Croft creator who helped launch the original Tomb Raider and five other members fresh off the back of working on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z.
Their first project, Daedalus' is described as "an existential horror trip into a surreal, half-forgotten dream," and is set for next-gen platforms, with Xbox One and PS4 considered viable formats for the developer to release on. The team is looking to either forge a publishing deal or turn to crowdfunding like Kickstarter for Daedalus.
The formation of Tangentleman is part of what Cory Davis sees as a gradual shift away from mainstream game development to smaller indie operations. "From my perspective, many of the most experienced and motivated developers in the industry are jumping the AAA ship and swimming to indie life rafts," Davis said.
"There are tons of great recent examples of talented, creative people leaving larger teams and having success on their own–such as Supergiant Games' Bastion or Fullbright Company's Gone Home."
Richard Smith elaborates: "I was finding the structure of making big games to be too rigid and restrictive. There seems to be a problem with chasing after photorealism - it makes everything else about the game very myopic. By moving into an illustrative space, the look of the game can become a voice in its overall intent, rather than a limitation to that intent. It's indie games that understand this, and because of that, it's indie games that are really progressing the art form of game making."
Currently working out of a garage, the next step for Tangentleman is to secure funding for its "smaller, more daring projects," starting with Daedalus. "We're looking for publishers who would be interested in smaller, more daring projects, but I'm personally really interested in seeing if we can Kickstart our first game," stated Gard.
"Being able to engage directly with game players right from the start of development sounds like an incredibly liberating way to do things."
Of course, Xbox One and PS4's indie game initiative might go some way towards helping too. "There are a number of programs that allow independent developers to self-publish their games on next-gen platforms, and that has potential to be very exciting," Davis added.
"Tearing down the fences that kept smaller-budget, but high quality games off of those platforms is a positive thing for the entire industry. Sony is looking toward joint ventures with indies who can fund their own development, while Microsoft is just making it easier on self-funded devs by taking down the cost and other barriers to publish on their platform. The street cred for these platforms now lies as much in the hands of indies as it does in AAA developers."
We'll have more on Tangentleman and their game Daedalus as it emerges.