Electronic Arts has signed a deal to publish the first game from Hazelight, a new Swedish developer that counts Josef Fares, an award-winning filmmaker and writer/director of the game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, as its studio head.
Fares and other veterans of Starbreeze Studios created the new studio to focus on “story driven experiences and innovation to deliver titles that are highly original yet elegant and mature.” EA announced the news at the BAFTA 2014 awards on Friday. The move shows that EA is serious about its focus on quality, which is the new mandate of its chief executive, Andrew Wilson.
Hazelight includes lead level designer Filip Coulianos, lead programmer Anders Olsson, lead animator Emil Claeson, and art director Claes Engdal. All of them worked on Brothers. The team is working at the EA DICE studio in Stockholm, but Fares said that the it would keep full creative control of its new game.
In a blog post, EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund said Fares’ background as a film director means he “deeply understands character development and storytelling.”
The video below is a taste of what the team is working on.
“It’s rare to find someone who can translate that experience in film so well to the medium of games,” Söderlund said. “I think Josef is one of the few people in the games industry I know of who can.”
Publisher 505 Games released Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in 2013. It’s a puzzle-adventure game with beautiful 3D landscapes, yet it uses stylized art. Two brothers go on a journey to recover a cure for their ailing father. The players must overcome obstacles by getting the brothers to work together. The controls of the game are unique, and the story is very moving.