Ex-Arkane devs are keeping their WolfEye on the prize.
Raphael Colantonio and Julien Roby announced, via an article over at gameindustry.biz, that they’ve founded an indie team called WolfEye Studios. They’re planning to formally announce their first game at The Game Awards next month.
Colantonio worked as creative director on Prey, and prior to that, co-creative directed Dishonored with Harvey Smith. Roby also worked at Arkane Studios, from the studio’s debut game, Arx Fatalis, through Dishonored’s The Brigmore Witches DLC. Since then, Roby worked as a senior producer on Mafia III at Hangar 13.
The pair’s new direction seems to be emphasizing a nimbleness, experimentation and individual creativity that massive AAA projects, with their huge budgets and emphasis on technology, can stifle.
WolfEye for Quality
“I remember this funny moment where we were doing Dishonored, and I asked my lead programmer how many characters I could have in combat. And he answered something between five and six. I thought well, okay. It makes sense. The AI is what it is, and we had characters with 10,000 polys or whatever they were,” Colantonio said.
“Fast forward four or five years, we’re doing Prey. It’s a new engine, new technology, new hardware. I’m back with my lead programmer, same question. How many characters can we have? Maybe five or six. The only difference between one generation to the next was that the budget had doubled, and because the budget was doubled, it goes into more people, instead of taking three months to make a character it takes six months now, there’s more optimization that is required, more of everything, every detail, making sure the eyes are perfect and the sun shines the right way.”
Colantonio and Roby aren’t the first developers to borrow principles from AAA immersive sims and apply them to indies. The team at Fullbright, developers of Gone Home and Tacoma, worked on BioShock 2’s Minerva’s Den expansion before leaving 2K. Jordan Thomas, director of BioShock 2, co-founded Question, the team behind co-op stealth game, The Blackout Club. And, Jon Chey, one of the co-founders of Irrational Games — the studio behind BioShock and System Shock 2 — founded Blue Manchu, which released roguelite shooter Void Bastards earlier this year.
WolfEye’s presence adds an extra layer of excitement to The Game Awards. Though, of course, we’re already excited to see if Control can pull off a GOTY win against Death Stranding.