Chet Faliszek and Dr. Kimberly Voll today announced their new studio, Stray Bombay Company.
Based in Seattle, the studio will focus on co-op games. Faliszek was interested in pursuing that angle in part because of his prior experiences working on co-op titles like Portal 2 and the Left 4 Dead series.
"After the release of Left 4 Dead (L4D), I received an email that changed forever how I think about making games," Faliszek said. "It was from a soldier stationed in Iraq who said L4D had saved his marriage. It was simple-he and his wife missed each other and talking on the phone just made them realize this more and feel even more miserable. But jumping into a game of L4D let them forget that and just exist in the moment. They could spend time in each other's company as if they were sitting next to each other on the couch at home. That is powerful and something only the shared experience of games can bring."
While there's no project ready to announce just yet, Faliszek said he and Voll "want to create games that give players a place to breathe and live in the moment. Games that tell stories knowing you are going to come back again and again, that change each time you play them without feeling completely random, and that help you feel like a real team that supports each other...not a bunch of folks in each other's way. And where AI drives not just the enemies but helps drive the entire experience."
The pair are also trying to apply the cooperative theme to the way the studio will be set up.
"We think now is the time to change the culture of game development," Voll said. "Make everyone equals, not just in their impact on the project but in how we divide the loot of our success. Relax strict PTO policies because we trust each other to take the time you need. We want to build games that reflect our culture."
The studio has backing from lead investor Upfront Ventures, and Voll said that her former employer Riot Games is also planning to invest in the company. Voll recently left Riot after three years with the company. She has also worked at Radial Games Corp and co-founded the Fair Play Alliance.
Prior to Stray Bombay Company, Faliszek worked at Bossa Games for a year and a half, and had been at Valve for 12 years before that.