Shapeshifter Games is based in Illinois and is positioning itself as a “co-development studio” which will help other studios with AAA game development.
“Founded by veteran developers from Volition, Shapeshifter Games was created to partner with world class developers and publishers on the creation of AAA games,” the company description reads on LinkedIn (as spotted by TechRaptor).
“Shapeshifter draws upon deep experience in open-world and character action games earned while working on some of the industry’s most beloved franchises.”
Game development will be led by studio director Rob Loftus, who was the principal producer on Saints Row.
“It’s been five months since the closure of Volition, but I’m grateful to post that a group of us have re-formed as Shapeshifter Games,” Loftus posted on LinkedIn.
“The industry climate remains tough and I know I’m fortunate to reconnect with colleagues and turn the page on a new adventure. I’m hopeful for more groups like us and for the brighter days ahead.”
Brian Traficante, who was creative director at Volition for a decade, remains creative director at Shapeshifter.
“I’m excited to share that I am a part of Shapeshifter Games, a new co-dev studio supporting AAA game development,” he wrote on his LinkedIn page. “Teaming up with former Volition developers, we’re on an exciting journey!
“Working with talented, familiar faces fills me with joy. Our shared passion and experience strengthen our partnerships and sparks creativity. I’m grateful for the chance to work with such an inspiring team as we begin this new chapter.”
Volition was shut down “effective immediately” in August as part of Embracer Group‘s wide-ranging restructuring program, which has seen other job losses and studio closures in recent months.
In its early days, the studio was best known for the Descent series, as well as the Red Faction games.
But it was the Saints Row series – 2006’s Saints Row, Saints Row 2, Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV – that became the studio’s most popular franchise.
In recent years Volition’s output has seen less critical acclaim. Agents of Mayhem was released in 2017 to a lukewarm response, and an attempt to reboot Saints Row in 2022 was also met with mixed reviews, with scores of 61-65 on the review aggregation site Metacritic.