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'We're confident it's possible to create triple-A quality games with smaller, focused teams.'

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 12, 2024

2 Min Read
The Emptyvessel logo on a bold yellow background
Image via Emptyvessel

A band of industry veterans have formed a new independent triple-A studio called Emptyvessel to push into the immersive shooter space.

The studio is led by CEO Emanuel Palalic and COO Garrett Young, both of whom held key roles at Doom maker id Software. Former Weta Digital coder Wei Ning will serve as technical director, and former Gearbox Software systems designer Kevin Powell has been appointed senior design director.

Other notable hires include animation director Rico Flores, who previously worked on the Uncharted franchise at Naughty Dog, and art director Alex Palma, another id Software and Doom alum. Doom and Wolfenstein composer Mick Gordon has also joined the team alongside former Call of Duty artist and Doom Eternal senior producer Dan Moditch.

Emptyvessel to aim for triple-A quality with smaller, focused teams

According to Palalic and Young, Emptyvessel hopes to give its nascent team the freedom to explore new ideas. "Many game developers like myself began our journey fueled by the dream of one day bringing our worlds to life," said Palalic. "By prioritizing and aligning with our strengths, we're confident it's possible to create triple-A quality games with smaller, focused teams.

"The industry has often overlooked the people who pour their hearts and souls into crafting these worlds. With Emptyvessel, we're determined to change that narrative and make that dream a reality for as many developers as we can."

Emptyvessel is based in Austin, Texas, but operates as a fully remote studio with staff located around the world. The company is billing itself as a "developer-founded, developer-first studio" that aims to break away from traditional business models and work towards a common future "powered by people and creativity."

"Our industry is at a crossroads between business and talent. At Emptyvessel, we take a developer–first approach to our direction and execution," added COO and general manager, Garrett Young.

"We understand every innovation in this industry has been led by a developer taking a risk–every new IP, every billion-dollar franchise. Gaming's next massive hit can come from anywhere."

The studio's first project will be an immersive shooter inspired by movies, graphic novels, and other games set in dystopian sci-fi worlds. The title will be powered by Unreal Engine 5 and is being financed with the help of investors such as Sisu Game Ventures, Raptor Group, and other individuals.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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