Former Microsoft employees David Edery and Daniel Cook today announced they're forming a new development studio, Spry Fox, which they say will use a different employment model than most other developers.
Instead of hiring a permanent staff or outsourcing projects to other development houses, Edery writes in the announcement
that Spry Fox will "create games by partnering with other talented individuals whose development abilities we respect."
Edery compared the effort to the model of "a modern movie studio" or game development houses like Alex Seropian's Wideload Games
that form devoted, excited teams around a specific project and then disband when it is complete.
"Such a system puts the incentives where they belong," Cook writes on his blog, Lost Garden
. "The team is focused on making a great innovative game, not on compromising the soul of their idea (or the creators) to ensure the survival of the studio."
"[We're interested in] building true partnerships with outside individuals and firms who are treated as integral to the creative process and who share in the profit," Edery said. "We believe that by building small, tightly-knit teams, we can make this work."
To start, Spry Fox will be focusing on the "under-served markets" of free-to-play web-based titles and downloadable games for "emerging platforms," Edery said. The studio's first projects include an expanded, multiplayer version of aerial dogfighting game Steambirds
(which Cook originally worked on with Andy Moore), and a new, more social version of island-based adventure RPG Bunni
(which Edery worked on with Andre Spierings).
Other unnamed projects for the new studio include "two downloadable games and one exceedingly unusual flash MMOG," Edery said.
Edery has previously worked as Microsoft's Worldwide Games Portfolio Manager for Xbox Live Arcade. He also manages an independent consulting firm, Fuzbi and serves on the board of the IGDA. He's the co-author of Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business
Cook was once a game designer for Microsoft Game Studios, working on games including Overlord, Age of Wonders and Tyrian. He's the author of game design blog Lost Garden