Ex-Respawn Devs Establish New Studio: Gravity Well

26 May 2020
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Drew McCoy and Jon Shiring, both recent Respawn expats, have set up a new game development studio with the goal of creating triple-A games with a small team that keeps creative freedom at its core. That studio is Gravity Well, and is currently looking to hire a small batch of developers to get its initially remote studio off the ground.

Shiring and McCoy note in the studio’s unveiling that COVID-19 is at the core of the decision to start things off remotely, but that doing so also has the benefit of opening its workforce up to more diverse applicants as it won’t be “hamstrung by relocation or work visa issues,” says Shiring. “We want to hire the best talent in the industry, regardless of where you live.”

The pitch for the studio sees things starting, and ultimately staying, relatively small for a triple-A developer. Shiring says the goal is to grow to a studio that is around 80 people at most because “once your team size crosses 100 people, everything changes. It’s nobody’s fault – big organizations just move slowly.”

In that same vein, McCoy notes that Gravity Well aims to put its teams first and foremost by building its studio culture with the goal of being anti-crunch, offering good compensation, and ensuring each member of the team has creative freedom. More on the new studio and the founding duo’s vision for it can be found on the Gravity Well website.

Find the full messages from McCoy and Shiring below:

A Studio for the Long Haul (Drew McCoy)

Hi! I’m Drew, and I’m stoked to start a new studio here in LA with Slothy. We’ve been making games together for a long time and have learned a ton about ways to lead teams and ship games. We believe the time is right to shake things up in AAA game dev.

We are starting a studio because of how we want to make games. We want time to iterate on everything and get ideas and feedback from the whole team. We’re building this studio to last for decades, and that doesn’t happen without putting the team first.

We take team health as an absolute top priority. That means we are anti-crunch. That means good compensation. That means everyone at Gravity Well has creative freedom, because when someone else makes all of the decisions, work isn’t fun and the end product isn’t as good.

We prefer to cut and focus down so we only ship what we love.

If this sounds like an adventure that you want to join we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

A Smaller AAA Team (Jon “Slothy” Shiring)

Okay, Slothy here. I just pried the keyboard away from Drew.

Ask around, and you’ll get the same answer from devs—once your team size crosses 100 people, everything changes. It’s nobody’s fault – big organizations just move slowly. You need meetings just to make decisions. Choices get siloed and brilliant creatives become less creative. So let’s just not do that. We’re going to build a team that is 80 to 85 people at peak.

We aren’t satisfied with the low level of creative risk that gets project funding these days. We want to explore bold new ideas exclusively for next-gen hardware and PCs.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re starting the studio for remote work from the very start. Since one of the core values of Gravity Well is increased diversity, we’re excited about not being hamstrung by relocation or work visa issues. We want to hire the best talent in the industry, regardless of where you live.

We’re excited to build this new team and we hope that you’re interested, too. If now isn’t the right time, reach out anyway and we can just have a nice conversation. If you work in games, we’d love to hear from you.

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Toni By Toni: A life-long gamer. His favorite video games include Mass Effect 1 and 2, Oblivion, Skyrim, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age: Origins, Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Read his posts here.


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