LucasArts veteran Haden Blackman doesn’t need the force now that he’s got his own independent studio.
When 13-year LucasArts veteran and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed executive producer/lead writer Haden Blackman abruptly left the company in July while helming Force Unleashed 2, he said it was to “explore new creative challenges.” Those challenges apparently include starting up a new independent studio, with Blackman recently announcing the formation of Fearless Studios with partner and former LucasArts director of engineering Cedrick Collomb.
“I’ve always wanted to run my own development studio,” Blackman revealed to Joystiq, negating any talk that he was forced out of LucasArts. “It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for the last five or six years and have entertained a few other times in the past and this seemed like the right time.”
He says that while it was an honor to play in “someone else’s sandbox” with Star Wars, he wants to try and fill up his own now. Fearless Studios has “six different concepts” in the works, though its first release will likely scare gamers’ pants off. “I’m a big horror buff, and we’ve got a couple concepts we’re exploring in that [hardcore horror] vein,” Blackman divulged.
According to Blackman, most of Fearless Studios’ concepts are “story-driven action games” that combine genres. He agrees with Epic designer Cliff Bleszinski when he said RPG elements are the future of shooters, and embraces the idea of games becoming deeper than their genres. Blackman and Collomb want to create games that constantly surprise players, but admits that in horror games players eventually expect zombie dogs to jump through windows, so it’s not easy to pull off.
The scope of Fearless’s projects will depend on their individual visions, which means the studio could put out “AAA” console titles or downloadable games on XBLA, PSN, or even the iPhone. “Conservatively, I hope we’ll have something to announce in the first half of next year,” he added.
The timing of Blackman’s move to his own independent studio coincided with a large number of layoffs at LucasArts, though Blackman also said he’d been through that before and this move just made the most sense for him right now. With another promising independent developer now churning up ideas for new games, I’m not complaining.