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Halo vets team with Jeff Hilbert to form First Strike Games

Seattle startup will have a multiplayer focus due to team's experience on Halo, SOCOM and Age of Empires

Seattle's First Strike Games will take aim at the multiplayer console and PC market, leveraging its team's experience on respected franchises like Halo, Age of Empires and SOCOM.

First Strike will be led by CEO Kevin Franklin, who will also serve as the studio's design director. Franklin is best known for his work at 343 Industries, where he was multiplayer design director on Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Previously, he worked on Need For Speed at EA Black Box, and SOCOM while at Sony.

The rest of the founding team is just as experienced: COO Brian Lemon, a veteran of both Ensemble Studios and 343 Industries; CTO Doug Barnes, who was lead engineer on Halo 5: Guardians' 4v4 eSports multiplayer modes; and chief business development officer Jeff Hilbert, who founded and was co_CEO of DDM, the largest video game talent agency in the world. Hilbert left DDM in September last year.

"Our team holds a lifelong passion for competitive multiplayer," Franklin said in a statement. "In recent years the meteoric rise in this market has been incredibly exciting for us to experience. This is a fabulous time to start a new studio and we are in active discussions with potential publishing partners that share our vision for multiplayer gaming."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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