The Call to Create a New IP After 26 years in the games industry, Bret Robbins (Founder & CEO at Ascendant Studios) felt it was time to begin something new. He had spent his career working on world-famous franchises like Lord of the Rings, 007 James Bond, and directing multiple Call of Duty campaigns, but there was something about his experience creating an original IP from scratch, like Dead Space, that kept calling to him. Read the full story Dreaming up a new game and the studio to create it "I remember working on one of the Call of Duty levels and thinking, what if instead of a helicopter, that was a dragon. And instead of RPG explosions, those were fireballs. And instead of soldiers, we were all battle mages, firing off spells and wrecking the place.
And I stopped and thought ‘Where is that game? I want to play that game!'" Investing in the Vision "I had an opportunity to just sit and write for about four months. I would park myself at a small cafe and work on the game design document and the story outline. It was a time of allowing myself to think that anything was possible and I could design whatever I wanted. Since then, a lot of the ideas have changed and gotten better, but the heart of what I wrote back then is still the vision for the game today." When a surprising opportunity strikes "We had been going for about a month when we heard that Telltale Games was shutting down and that the entire staff had just been laid off. Someone heard that they were commiserating over at a nearby bar, so we drove over and started meeting with people.
I hired about a half dozen people that day, including my Art Director." Building a sustainable culture "One thing I learned over years of working at different studios is that the culture starts at the top. I don't want people to crunch and burnout, because I personally don't want to do that either. I want people to feel that they are being treated fairly and honestly. I put a high premium on being open and transparent with the team, and I think that's surprisingly rare in our industry." A partnership to launch Immortals of Aveum "Just when we were getting into full game production, we started to attract attention from publishers. It was a very validating moment. We chose to partner with EA because we knew they could reach the biggest audience, and their Originals label had a great track. We also kept creative control and ownership of the game, which was key for us."