In an article on Gamespot, former members of some of the biggest AAA game studios have departed their jobs to form Tangentlemen, a 15-person supergroup of game developers whose credits include games such as Titanfall and Tomb Raider. Their website launched with an announcement proclaiming the new studio as “An unholy brew of ancient game development alchemists” who have “joined forces to create boundless interactive experiences.”
Tangentlemen’s most prominent personnel include Toby Gard, the man behind the original Tomb Raider and its lead character Lara Croft, Rich Smith, an artist who worked for Infinity Ward on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, John Garcia-Shelton, a producer for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z as well as the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series, and Cory Davis, the creative director behind the thought-provoking military shooter Spec Ops: The Line.
The new studio’s setup is a far cry from the multi-million dollar companies these men came from, and is instead more of a return to the days of groundbreaking titles such as Doom, which was developed by an id Software composed of less than 15 people. In fact, Tangentlemen’s current studio is not within a fancy office building, but is instead in producer John Shelton-Garcia’s garage.
Gamespot quotes Tangentlemen’s art director Richard Smith as saying that “most of the creative people in the industry have great ideas that they truly want to come to fruition one day, ideas that are not possible to develop in a AAA environment. Those ideas are typically the ones that push the industry forward, and prove what can be accomplished when that creativity is not stifled by group or marketing think.”
The studio also announced the development of their first game, currently titled Daedelus. Little else has been revealed, but lead designer Cory Davis describes it as being “an existential, surreal horror trip” that will take the player on a “strange journey into human consciousness.” Funding for the game is expected to come from crowdfunding , with Toby Gard saying that “We’re looking for publishers who would be interested in smaller, more daring projects, but I’m personally really interested in seeing if we can Kickstart our first game. […]Being able to engage directly with game players right from the start of development sounds like an incredibly liberating way to do things.”
The founding of Tangentlemen is not the first instance of well-regarded gaming figures shunning large-scale game studios to instead work independently, financed by crowdfunding and other alternative sources of income. Jordan Weisman, the man behind Shadowrun and Mechwarrior, founded Harebrained Schemes and developed Shadowrun Returns with funds raised through Kickstarter, while Wing Commander designer Chris Roberts and his studio, Cloud Imperium Games, is developing Star Citizen with over 40 million dollars raised through crowdfunding alone.
More information on Daedelus is expected to come in the following weeks.