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Naughty Dog, Infinity Ward, PlayStation and EA veterans form new AAA studio
That’s No Moon is making a single-player story-driven action game
A team of veteran developers has established a new independent studio called That’s No Moon.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, the team includes former Naughty Dog, Infinity Ward, Sony Santa Monica Studio, EA, and Bungie developers, to name a few.
Among the key figures are studio co-founder and chief creative officer Taylor Kurosaki, and game director Jacob Minkoff.
The pair left Infinity Ward earlier this year, having served as design director and narrative director of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare respectively.
Prior to joining Infinity Ward in 2014, Kurosaki spent over a decade at Naughty Dog, where he was lead game designer on Crash Bandicoot and narrative design lead on Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3.
Minkoff also worked at Naughty Dog for five years, where he served as lead game designer on Uncharted 3 and lead designer on The Last of Us.
That’s No Moon is headed by co-founder and CEO Michael Mumbauer, who previously spent 13 years at PlayStation as the head of its Visual Arts Service Group.
The studio’s other two co-founders are chief strategy officer Tina Kowalewski and chief operating officer Nick Kononelos.
Kowalewski previously oversaw development of games like Journey, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and Twisted Metal as director of product development at Santa Monica Studio, while Kononelos was senior development director at EA, working on franchises like Need for Speed and Madden NFL.
The studio has secured a $100 million investment from South Korean developer and publisher Smilegate, the creator of the Crossfire franchise.
That’s No Moon’s debut project will be a AAA single-player, story-driven, third-person action-adventure game.
Smilegate’s vice president of business development, Harold Kim, told GamesIndustry.biz it will tell “a very positive story, giving an uplifting message but also being very thought-provoking.”
Mumbauer added. “We want players to think about our narrative experiences long after the game credits roll and they put the controller down.”
The studio, which has been operating for about six months, currently employs around 40 staff but plans to grow to 100 members by 2022.
And its website confirms that it has cross-media ambitions. “We also believe that the stories we tell should not be limited by any given medium,” it states. “We want to create characters and worlds that begin in our games, but will eventually extend into linear media—whether that’s TV, film, or beyond.
“To achieve this, we’re building a state-of-the-art studio in Los Angeles with a dedicated, in-house virtual production stage that will be home to our team when it’s safe to do so. Alongside our studio in Los Angeles, we have team members based in San Diego and remote staff around the country.”