Chris Wanstrath announced today the formation of a new games publishing studio, Null Games. Wanstrath, one of the original co-creators of GitHub, said the studio is a developer-friendly environment designed to foster creativity in games.

Null Games has also announced the release date of its first title, a hockey-based rogue-lite called Tape to Tape from developer Excellent Rectangle. The developers originally funded Tape to Tape via Kickstarter. Players build a team in a procedurally generated hockey tournament. Losing a game means restarting the run, but with better equipment and players. Excellent Rectangle describes the game on the Kickstarter as “heavily inspired by games we love like Hades, Slay the Spire and NHL 94.” It launches sometime this year.

Wanstrath said in a statement, “Null is part of a new wave of indie game publishers that put developers first. So many of us grew up exploring amazing digital worlds. But as we got older, we learned that the games industry isn’t always fun. The creative people directly responsible for making great games are often treated the worst. In the world of indie games, the publishers have all the power and they know it. Contracts are often one-sided, as is the risk. We think there’s a better way.”

Game development is rife with stories about such difficulties, in both the indie and triple-A sphere. Wanstrath added, “Null is just one publisher. We can’t change the industry, but we’re part of a growing movement that can. By partnering with developers and offering great terms, we believe they’ll make better games in a more sustainable way.”

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