A team of developers whose past work includes Halo Infinite, the Batman: Arkham trilogy, and Doom (2016) has teamed with Chinese tech giant NetEase to form a new studio that’ll create narrative-driven action games with a AAA polish.
The announcement of the new all-star studio Jar of Sparks comes less than two months after Halo Infinite head of design Jerry Hook left 343 Industries. Hook is the studio head and CEO and will work with fellow founding members Paul Crocker, who was lead narrative director on the Batman: Arkham trilogy; Greg Stone, who produced 2016’s Doom revival, and Steve Dyck, whose credits include the Halo series, SSX, and NBA Street.
Hook says the studio’s mission “is to create a new generation of narrative-driven action games in a new world.”
“We will be building games that are a blast to play, with a team that has the creative freedom to innovate and deliver on their dreams,” Hook wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab). “We are just getting started as a remote/hybrid studio and will be opening roles available worldwide.”
“We have built games for some of the biggest companies in gaming, and now it’s time to take a shot at putting our own personal lightning in a bottle. We want to create something new, innovative and that’s a blast to play,” Hook said in the press release (opens in new tab).
“When looking to create a new studio the most critical part of finding the right partner was being aligned on the fundamental goals of having the freedom to take innovative risks and to put the passion of our creators first. This meant that our player experiences came before the business, which itself is a risk. NetEase came to the table with a strong creative first approach; they demonstrated the same passion we have for our players and building new experiences that we believe players are looking for.”
In an interview with IGN (opens in new tab) accompanying today’s announcement, Hook predicted Jar of Sparks’ debut title is about 3-4 years from releasing. And while his work on projects like Xbox Live and Destiny might raise a few eyebrows, Hook has confirmed that the studio’s first project won’t be a live service game due to the pressures that sort of stuff puts on a small studio in its infancy.
“[O]ne of the main challenges we all seem to struggle with is there’s only so much risk you can take on within a new studio,” Hook said. “You’re forming a complete team with people who don’t know each other, have never worked with each other or brand new IP. Live service adds more complexity on top of that and I really think from my own experience for service driven games, the amount of work you need to do to make a live service work is pretty tremendous.”
To keep up with everything nearer on the horizon, check out our extensive guide to new games of 2022.