A group of former Volition developers have started new studio Shapeshifter Games. This comes just months after the team fell victim to Embracer Group’s restructuring.
Shapeshifter Games announced its opening on LinkedIn (spotted by TechRaptor), describing itself as a “new co-development studio that was started by pulling together a group of experienced developers from Volition.”
The core team consists of experienced developers and managers, including:
- Studio director Rob Loftus — former principal producer at Volition, who also was a producer on the first Red Faction games and worked at companies like Activision Blizzard and Vivendi (F.E.A.R., Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena);
- Studio director Brian Traficante — former creative director at Volition, who also worked as art director at Ubisoft Montreal and environment artist at Mythic Entertainment;
- Studio head Matt Madigan — former financial director at Volition;
- Software engineer David Andsager — former principal programmer at Volition (worked there since 1997), with his portfolio including games like FreeSpace, Red Faction, Saints Row, and Summoner;
- Level designer Jeff Touchstone — former lead level designer at Volition, who also worked at Arkane Studios, Raven Software, and Electronic Arts.
“The industry climate remains tough and I know I’m fortunate to reconnect with colleagues and turn the page on a new adventure,” Loftus wrote on LinkedIn. “I’m hopeful for more groups like us and for the brighter days ahead.”
Traficante added that he is “grateful for the chance to work with such an inspiring team as we begin this new chapter.”
Shapeshifter Games noted that it is already “at work with a top publisher on their next great IP and looking to grow.” According to the studio’s expert lighting artist AJ Nelson, this might be one of the upcoming Xbox Games Studios projects.
Since Shapeshifter is a co-development studio, it will focus on working with other AAA developers and publishers by providing various production and art services for their games. At the moment, it is unclear whether the team will be making its own titles.
Embracer Group shut down Volition Games in August 2023 as part of its cost-cutting restructuring program, with the studio saying that its parent company “evaluated strategic and operational goals and made the difficult decison to close Volition effective immediately.”