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Respawn veterans form new AAA studio with a focus on next-gen games

Apex Legends Octane
(Image credit: EA/Respawn)

Drew McCoy and Jon Shiring, respectively Respawn Entertainment's former executive producer and the former lead programmer on Apex Legends, have co-founded their own games studio. 

It's called Gravity Well, and as McCoy explained to GamesIndustry, it's emphasizing remote work - particularly in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - and relatively small but nevertheless AAA production. As of now, the studio is just its co-founders, but it's aiming to grow to 80 - 100 people. More details are available on its newly minted website.

"That is the team size we are really comfortable with," McCoy says. "That's the size where decision making can be spread out and it doesn't need to come from someone at the top of a pyramid. You get tons of speed benefits because the team is smaller, they understand the game better, and they can make decisions on an hourly basis without having to interact with a bunch of other people. So keeping a team smaller, while still trying to hit all the hallmarks of a AAA game, that's the aim." 

McCoy also affirmed that Gravity Well has its eyes on PS5 and Xbox Series X. "The transition to next-gen, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, is really exciting," he says. "It dovetails with our desire to find new spaces that people haven't explored.

"While this new generation feels like an iteration of what we've already seen, I think that things like the amount of CPU power and I/O speed actually opens up opportunities that we haven't had before. Even when the Xbox One and PS4 were in development, what we were screaming at platforms to do was give us faster I/O, please. I am excited to see where we can get to with it."

McCoy's comments echo the sentiments of many developers who are transitioning to next-gen tech. It's looking more and more like the next console generation will have less impact on graphics, and more on systems like AI and content generation and loading. It'll be interesting to see how Gravity Well breaks into that environment - likely with a shooter, going by McCoy and Shiring's experience, but nothing's set in stone. 

Here are all the upcoming PS5 games and upcoming Xbox Series X games that we know of.

As a staff writer and former freelancer, Austin focuses on day-to-day news happenings which serve as the perfect cover-up for his Destiny 2 column. He majored in journalism, loves to hate headlines, and never takes his Switch out of the dock.