ArenaNet, Undead Labs Founder Jeff Strain Opens New Studio

Industry veteran Jeff Strain has opened Possibility Space, a new game development studio that embraces remote working to tap into talent from around the world.

Strain is a former Blizzard developer and co-founded ArenaNet, the studio behind Guild Wars, more than 20 years ago. He also founded Undead Labs, the studio behind State of decomposition that Microsoft acquired in 2018. Possibility Space has also assembled some impressive talent, with former developers from Campo Santo, Ubisoft, Insomniac, Double Fine, BioWare, EA, and more.

“We felt the time was right to create something new – a studio built from the ground up to encompass changing needs and perspectives for both gamers and developers,” Strain writes in a press release. “Like many others, the last year and a half has been a difficult time for me. While I am grateful that my family is safe, the anxiety, fear, and isolation of the past 18 months have been almost unbearable at times. That fear and isolation were the catalyst for Possibility Space, a type of modern game studio, where we are creating a lighthearted game that has been my dream for many years. ”

That COVID-19-related anxiety also apparently inspired Strain to make Possibility Space a “distributed game development studio” that allows “developers to live and work wherever they want.” While the company welcomes remote work, Possibility Space will be based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Some of the talents that joined Strain at Possibility Space include former Firewatch lead environmental artist Jane Ng, who also served as an artist on Half-Life: Alyx. Ng is the visual director for Possibility Space. Liz England, who previously served as lead designer on Watch Dogs: Legion and Sunset Overdrive, will join the studio as director of narrative systems design. Making the leap from gaming media to game development, former Waypoint editor-in-chief Austin Walker will serve as the director of IP for Possibility Space.

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Beyond its commitment to remote work, which opens doors to developers around the world, Possibility Space also aims to serve underserved communities where its developers might reside.

“[Possibilty Space] it is built from the ground up as a distributed studio, allowing staff to live where they want to live and work where they want while supporting the communities they love, ”a press release about the studio reads. “Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, the studio also works to identify, mentor, train and hire people from underserved and underserved communities and settings.”

Today’s news comes two months later Strain called on the gaming industry to unionize in light of the ongoing lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, citing “enough is enough.” In the open letter where Strain said this, he also said that he welcomes his own employees to unionize and that they have his “full support.”

Are you excited to see what Possibility Space is preparing? Let us know in the comments below!