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More senior development leads are leaving behind big publishers and triple-A blockbuster gaming to start something smaller and independent, and Wushu Studios is the latest example of this trend. Former Evolution Studios designers and directors, who worked on DriveClub and more, announced today that they have come together to start Wushu in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, with the goal of producing new kinds of gaming experiences. The company formed in August, and it has already worked on the prototyping phase for a new sci-fi adventure.
Wushu’s founders include studio lead Alan McDermott, design director Nigel Kershaw, and art director Stuart Trevor. McDermott was an audio director at Evolution for 11 years before working on the VR god sim Tethered in 2016. Kershaw was director on MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, a beloved arcade racer for the PlayStation 3. He has over 30 years of game-design experience, working with Ocean Software, Deep Silver, and Sumo Digital. Trevor was lead artist and creative lead at Evolution, and he also worked on the critically acclaimed role-playing adventure Dark Souls and the open-world Saint’s Row crime games over the last 15 years.
“Our core team at Wushu have worked together closely on numerous projects over the years so there was no downtime in figuring out how to work together,” said McDermott. “We just fell straight into a groove kicking around game ideas that appealed to us as players and developers.”
Wushu didn’t share many details about its first game, but it did give some insight into how it is approaching the project. In its press release, the studio explained that it wanted to get away from the “triple-A grind” and to focus more on games with “interesting mechanics, unique concepts, and to deliver fun, refreshing gameplay experiences to players.”
To help facilitate those goals, the company has decided to work with Epic’s Unreal game development tools.
“We firmly believed in the idea that our initial concepts needed to be gamepad experiences as quickly as possible, so we turned to Unreal Engine for it’s amazing rapid prototyping capabilities,” said McDermott. “This approach has helped us figure out which of our concepts would allow us to flex our creative muscle most. It’s definitely not what people will be expecting to see from us; it’s absolutely not a racing game.”
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