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Bad Robot, Tencent team up to open new dev studio

Bad Robot Games will create 'large and indie-scale original games' for PC, consoles, mobile; WBIE on board as minority investor

Bad Robot wants to make good games. The production company of filmmaker J.J. Abrams announced today that it has formed a new division, Bad Robot Games.

The studio plans to work with existing developers "to create both large and indie-scale projects for mobile, PC, and console." As for Bad Robot's part of these collaborations, the production company will lend its "world-building and storytelling expertise, in-house creative directors and network of visual artists, musicians, sound designers, writers and other world-class talents."

To help get the venture off the ground, Bad Robot has partnered with Tencent. The Chinese gaming giant is leading the funding of the new outfit, with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment also on board as a minority investor. Exact terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Tencent will own the Asian commercial distribution rights for all of Bad Robot Games' titles.

Leading Bad Robot Games will be Dave Baronoff, who has been responsible for Bad Robot's games and interactive content for a dozen years now. To this point, the company's biggest excursion into the games industry has been SpyJinx, a multiplatform game developed in collaboration with Chair Entertainment, a subsidiary of Epic Games, another developer which Tencent in which has made significant investments. That project was announced in 2015 and is still in development, but with no release date yet announced. Beyond that, Baronoff worked on promotional Cloverfield alternate reality games, the Action Movie FX app for iOS, and partnered with Valve on Team Fortress 2's PASS Time mode.

Also on board is Tim Keenan, who will serve as creative director for Bad Robot Games. Keenan and his wife Holly Keenan comprise Misfits Attic, developer of the strategy games Duskers and A Virus Named TOM.

"I'm a massive games fan, and increasingly envious of the amazing tools developers get to work with, and the worlds they get to play in. Now we are doubling down on our commitment to the space with a unique co-development approach to game making that allows us to focus on what we do best, and hopefully be a meaningful multiplier to our developer partners," Abrams said. "Dave's creativity, deep passion and skillful leadership will be incredibly valuable as we harness our partner Tencent's expertise, experience and reach to bring our games to audiences around the world."

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