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    Star Wars: Jedi Director Announces New Studio to Make a AAA Narrative-Driven Single-Player Action-Adventure Game

    Stig Asmussen, the game director of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, as well as God of War 3, has announced the new studio he formed after leaving Respawn and EA last year. It’s called Giant Skull, and his new team aims to create a new, premium, AAA narrative-driven single-player third-person action-adventure game.

    “I can’t underscore enough that mystery and intrigue is a huge part of what we’re doing,” he told me as we discussed the goals of his new studio. “We want our players to have a certain degree of autonomy and ownership in the game and agency as they’re playing it. We want to make a game that has a momentum to it that you want to keep on playing it. And we respect our players. We wanna create real authentic worlds that don’t feel random; they feel like there’s a rich history. And [that] there’s thought behind them.”

    The logo for Stig Asmussen’s new game development studio, Giant Skull.

    But why leave Respawn, where he’d just created two massively successful Star Wars games (with a third underway in his absence despite significant EA layoffs) that were themselves AAA narrative-driven single-player third-person action-adventure games? “Honestly it’s not something that I was looking for,” he explained. “I was very happy at Respawn. Love the team, love the studio, EA was great. It was more just, I was approached with a really interesting opportunity. It started to be like a little kernel in my brain: ‘Wow, what would it be like to start my own studio?’…It was something that was incredibly enticing.”

    Giant Skull is based in the Los Angeles area and currently numbers around 30 people – many of whom are veterans of Star Wars Jedi and Fortnite – though how and where its developers work will be entirely up to them on an individual basis.

    Giant Skull is based in the Los Angeles area and currently numbers around 30 people – many of whom are veterans of Star Wars Jedi and Fortnite – though how and where its developers work will be entirely up to them on an individual basis. “The main goal is to build an environment where people can come and collaborate and make something that’s going to ship,” he said. “It’s up to the individual. We’ll support whatever you need. We can approach people on an individual basis. If you want to work from home all the time in another part of the world, totally fine. We’ve learned how to make that operation work at a really high level [on Jedi Survivor]. If you want to come into the office every day, we’ve got a great space in a great location. If you want to come in [some days each week] for hybrid, it’s up to you. We don’t care. The most important thing is you have all the tools you need to get the job done.”

    As to whether or not Giant Skull will stay fully independent or whether they might partner up with a first-party platform holder or other major publisher to get their game out to the world, that has yet to be decided, Asmussen said. “We’ve secured significant funding. It’s sufficient to support our vision, but at the same time we’ll explore partnership opportunities with global publishers when the time comes.”

    I asked Asmussen if, given that he’s just walked away from working on one of the biggest brands in the world on a licensed game, if it means we should expect Giant Skull’s first game to be a new original IP. He left the door open for any possibility: “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” he said. “We have a very clear vision on the type of game that we’re going to make, and that’s playing to the strengths of myself…single-player focused third-person action-adventure, gameplay-driven that’s seamlessly integrated into a compelling narrative. Those are the main pillars of our criteria. If there was an opportunity…we have a lot of experience with licensed games obviously. But it is very compelling to make an original IP as well. We can flex in either direction.”

    Check out the studio’s unique website to see what else you can learn (hint: type “culture” without the quotes into the DOS-style command prompt).

    Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s executive editor of previews and host of both IGN’s weekly Xbox show, Podcast Unlocked, as well as our monthly(-ish) interview show, IGN Unfiltered. He’s a North Jersey guy, so it’s “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.

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