What a few weeks it has been! Since my initial trip on a job interview in late April, everything has become a blur; so much that I have a ton of catching up to do on my very own forums! A few days after getting back to Austin from there, it seems like I was back on a plane and this time headed for E3 2006 (which I definitely need to do a write up about still). Had a great time there and actually got about half the things accomplished I set out to (which is good for E3).
I headed back to Austin and wait the dreaded May 15th; the last day of Wolfpack Studios. I showed up early in the morning as I usually do, and sat down at my desk. Sitting there, though, I really was unsure what to do and, from the look of things, most others did not either. Our last deadline was upon us and there were no future ones.
Well, the day dredged on as employees were brought into the HR office and given their walking papers. Slowly but surely, the Pack started to dwindle. You would think that would be the end; but it wasn’t.
From the ashes of Wolfpack Studios, a new company has formed called Stray Bullet Games (SBG). Unlike Wolfpack, SBG is not a Ubisoft company. Instead it is a Third-Party Development Studio. This basically means the studio is, technically, answerable to itself. I say technically because, obviously if a studio undertakes a contract from a publisher, that publisher will be making payments and will garner them at least some say in the project they are contracting for.
Which brings us to Shadowbane. Ubisoft has contracted Stray Bullet Games to keep Shadowbane alive and well. Since SBG is not a Ubisoft company, things will be a little different than it was with Wolfpack Studios. For the most part, these changes will be transparent to players.
Is Shadowbane the only thing Stray Bullet Games is working on? At this point I cannot go into much detail but there are other things in the works. Stray Bullet Games definitely does not plan on being a one-trick pony. And, of course, we have the goal of designing and crafting our very own next-generation MMO.
What will it be? Well, it is much too early to say and it is something we are discussing internally as to what exactly we want to do. I will be blunt and say we will not be doing Shadowbane 2. The publishing and intellectual rights are not owned by Stray Bullet Games and we will, more than likely, make an original title. With that said, we plan on doing what we do best so it wouldn’t be unthought-of to expect player-vs.-player and strategic combat. And while the implementation and specifics may differ, the aspects I talk about in my (crazy) sandbox idea Dominion, such as an in-depth political system, territorial and economic control systems, and character building with meaning are echoed by everyone at Stray Bullet Games.
While Stray Bullet Games might be considered by some as a new start-up company, it is not really. In fact, Stray Bullet Games picked up most of the key personnel from Wolfpack Studios. Frank Lucero, the General Manager and founder of Stray Bullet Games (not to be confused with the Latino Comedian), has been in the gaming industry for over fifteen years. Most other members of the company are seasoned industry veterans, not even including their time in Wolfpack Studios, such as Ala Diaz, Clay “Nazgul” Towery, George Ruof, Ivan Enriquez, Mike “Ramsie” Madden, and Ranjeet Singhal. And we must not forget our loremaster Sam “Meridian” Johnson. With this much experience and passion under one roof, not even the sky is the limit!
Stay tuned for the new website (for Stray Bullet Games) which will contain much more information and official press releases.