The former developers of hit titles such as Journey, Skyrim, and Spider-Man have just announced a new “remote-first studio,” Gardens. The news was revealed in a press release today saying the new studio would “build on collective growth.”
Gardens’ co-founders include Chris Bell (Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch, Sky: Children of the Light, Way), Lexie Dostal (Dustforce), and Stephen Bell (Blaseball, What Remains of Edith Finch). Additional developers have also joined the team coming from previous projects such as Spider-Man, Ratchet & Clank, Skyrim, the Fallout series, Ashen, and The Hobbit.
Along with exceptional resumes for all involved, Gardens is said to be a “remote-first studio” built on “the initiative of growing a studio that’s transparent, sustainable, inclusive, and empowering. The team’s core mission is to create vibrant online games that foster meaningful multiplayer moments and relationships between players around the world.” Gardens will function fully remotely, based primarily in Portland and Los Angeles.
Gardens Co-founder Chris Bell shared his hopes for the new studio:
With Gardens, we wanted to create a studio that cares as much about the health, happiness, and wellbeing of its team members as we do the craftsmanship of the games we create together. Our top priority is making sure our teammates enjoy their lives and are given the tools and resources to grow while creating compelling, well-crafted, thoughtful games that cultivate novel shared experiences between players online.
As for the new studio’s name, “Gardens’ name is rooted in the kinds of game worlds the team wishes to create. These artfully-crafted, living environments will be designed to foster rich multiplayer interactions while relying on care by their communities in order to thrive. They are games that aspire to cultivate lasting friendships (like Journey, Sky, or Way before them) while encouraging players to be considerate of each other and the world they inhabit together.”
The new studio is also hard at work creating a “yet unnamed game” that will have players cross paths in a “mysterious and magical world driven by the concept art of ma-ko, art direction by Leighton Milne (Ashen, The Hobbit).” In the current climate of the world, it is not surprising that a studio like Gardens has joined the industry. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the new studio in the future.