Former EA and Activision development leader Michael Condrey has been signed by Take-Two's 2K label.
The creator, best known for his work on the Call of Duty and Dead Space franchises, will form a new studio based in Silicon Valley.
The exact location and scope of the studio is still to be determined, by Condrey tells GamesIndustry.biz that the new outfit will be proactive in building a diverse workforce.
"This is definitely a personal priority for me," he tells us. "One of the most exciting things about setting up a new studio is the opportunity, from a clean canvas, to shape the commitment to culture from the start. In fact, almost three years ago to the day, I spoke about the subject with GamesIndustry.biz.
"Diverse teams are more creative, more innovative, hit deadlines better and ultimately create experiences that are compelling to the broadest audience possible. It's hard to argue when you watch the critical and commercial success that films like Black Panther and Wonder Woman have achieved in Hollywood. Hiring people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints is critical for our new studio to grow and flourish. It also shows for future hires that there are people in all levels of the organization who represent beliefs and experiences like their own."
This will be the second studio that Condrey has set-up after forming Sledgehammer with Glen Schofield. Sledgehammer is the Activision-owned developer responsible for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Call of Duty: WWII.
" Hiring people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints is critical for our new studio to grow and flourish"
Condrey's new outfit is part of the 2K games label, which operates a model where the development studios control their own creative destiny - something Hangar 13 spoke about last year. 2K doesn't mandate how a studio should look or operate.
"I've always admired the ambition and boldness of Take-Two," continues Condrey. "The company's portfolio is as exceptional as it is diverse. 2K, under [2K president] David Ismailer, is committed to an independent studio model, where development teams have creative and technical autonomy to collaborate and make their dreams become realities while still having the full support of one of the biggest publishers in the industry."
He continues: "I believe in the power and structure of the independent studio model and the magic that can happen when gifted creators can focus on the art and quality of their craft. By joining 2K, we get to enjoy the benefits of that structure with the confidence that smart partners are handling the parts of the business that would otherwise distract us from making the absolute highest quality game possible."
Condrey wouldn't be drawn on what his new studio might be working on. At Visceral, he was best known for building story-driven games, but under Sledgehammer has delivered some big multiplayer experiences, too. He simply tells us that he wants to make "high quality, ambitious and innovative games that connect people across the planet."
His first job, he says, is to build a leadership team before deciding on the cultural, style of games and even the scale of the studio. In other words, all options remain on the table.
"The industry is experiencing innovation at a rate that is exciting and unprecedented," he concludes.
"There are more platforms, genres, ways to market and avenues for developers to reach fans. At the same time, there is potential for incredible disruption coming via subscription services, cloud-based processing power, freemium business models on console, cross-play capabilities and a new console generation just around the corner. Our new studio, with no legacy creative or technology constraints in place, has tremendous latitude to explore, take risks and ultimately chart the most exciting and ambitious course available."