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Vicarious Visions founders form new game developer Velan Studios

Bala brothers will focus on experimental games, still based in Upstate New York

Guha and Karthik Bala have re-emerged at the head of a brand new development house, Velan Studios.

The US-based developer will focus on "breakthrough experimental games and new kinds of experiences", according to the studio's website. In an interview with VentureBeat, the Balas said they have not decided to concentrate on a specific area such as mobile or virtual reality.

The brothers are best known as the founders of Vicarious Visions, where they worked for 25 years. While the duo sold the company to Activision in 2005, they stayed on to help develop franchises such as Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk and Skylanders.

The Balas left the firm back in April in order to pursue new challenges, now revealed to be their work at Velan Studios. The intention is to form small teams that will prototype new ideas, and Velan is already recruiting to expand its overall workforce.

Their new company is based in Troy, Upstate New York - just four miles from their old stomping ground in Menands, where Vicarious Visions is based. Both Guha and Karthik have been key contributors to helping develop the creative talent in what's known as the Capital Region of Upstate New York - teaching game development classes, sponsoring hackathons, and attending local IGDA events - and will continue to do so while at Velan.

The name Velan originates from the Hindi word for the spearbearer, which the brothers see as symbolic of what their new studio can be. The firm's website describes the Velan a "the holder of the sharp, incisive tip of the spear, and a person whose vision and ingenuity can lead others to new frontiers".

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was