It’s becoming quite a common occurrence these days to hear of AAA studios closing, and smaller indie developers popping up from the remnants.
The latest is mobile game studio PlaySide, revealed this week and made up of six former staffers from Visceral Melbourne, which EA closed down back in September.
This new studio is being led by Gerry Sakkas, a game designer who had worked at Electronic Arts for over three years. Sakkas told Gamasutra that he was offered a position at one of EA’s U.S. studios, but declined.
“After spending three years on a title that I thought was brilliant and having it torn away from us when it was literally 90 percent finished, for little to no reason at all, it was very disheartening,” he explained.
“I couldn’t see myself jumping straight back into a big company straight away. Mainly because I wanted to control my own destiny and show the world how amazingly talented our team is, since they never got to see our work.”
Fortunately, starting his own indie company is a notion that Sakkas has always entertained. “Towards the end of Visceral Melbourne everyone started looking for jobs elsewhere — for two weeks we knew our studio was doomed and everyone kept asking me ‘have you sent your resume anywhere yet’.”
My answer was always ‘Nope’, I didn’t send one resume out, or contact anyone. Most of the other EA staff took what they could find and moved on and I am so happy for them, but I saw this as my time to really make something of myself.”
With PlaySide, Sakkas is looking to begin development on a mobile casual title sometime next month. “I cannot wait to share the game we are working on with the world,” he said. “It will be a casual-style fun game but unlike any you have seen before it.”
Sakkas is aiming for releases via iOS and Android, although Windows Phone is also a possibility as long as it is “possible without sacrificing quality.”
The former EA staffer won’t be alone in his sparkly new studio, as other ex-Visceral Melbourne devs have joined up too — although the studio isn’t ready to reveal all just yet.
“I can’t delve too much into who exactly will be working for me, other than to say they are ex-Visceral Melbourne peeps.”
He added, “I can say there will be six of us initially and more will come on board as we move towards alpha. I like the idea of a small team, it’s what we had at Visceral Melbourne and it really worked.”
Former Visceral Melbourne Staffers Establish Mobile Games Studio