A veritable dream team of talent comprised of Klei’s Mark of the Ninja lead designer, Nels Anderson, the creative director and lead writer of Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead, Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, along with graphic designer Olly Moss announced the founding of a new independent games studio, Campo Santo, today in the studio’s inaugural post on their official blog. Their first game will be developed in a partnership with app-developer Panic Inc. who is providing the seemingly no-strings-attached funding required to bring the project to light.
When describing why, in the face of all the challenges independent game designers, and developers at large, this A-Team decided to band together to form Campo Santo, Sean Vanaman said the following:
“As we talk to our friends and industry colleagues about “doing something indie” with us, there’s a shared pragmatism informed by years in the industry that melds with the lingering youthful enthusiasm that got us into games to begin with. Some of us want to tell stories, some of us want to build systems, and some of us want to create beautiful looking worlds, but we all want to make something. The stultifying difficulty of making a good game is instantly tempered and then squashed.”
Nels, Jake and Sean are all highly visible game developers and writers, with Jake and Sean being two members on the Idle Thumbs Podcast, and Nels a somewhat regular contributor to Unwinnable.com. Given the presence on social media, we can assume they will be somewhat transparent about the studio’s development of their first title and it should prove exciting to watch unfold.
Interestingly enough, not only were the games these developers worked on previously, Mark of the Ninja and The Walking Dead, among the best games of 2012, they were digital releases developed at a smaller scale than most standard retail AAA games. Recently the Fullbright Company released Gone Home to much acclaim, which was an example of another studio of veterans who left their employers to come together to work on a passion project that was distributed digitally. Given their familiarity with the format and the quality of their previous titles, excitement and expectations are high for Campo Santo.