Entirely made up of former Blizzard Entertainment developers, the 8 men headlining the studio include a wealth of experience in systems design, art, and gameplay engineering, along with their dog Ellie, who has been named Chief Morale Officer. The studio is backed by investments from Riot Games, Galaxy Interactive, and 1UP Ventures, who have invested in similar small studio startups, such as Frost Giant Studios and LightForge Games.
Although most of these developers left the company within the last year, Blizzard Entertainment has been under fire recently after widespread allegations of gender inequality, discrimination, and sexual harassment were revealed in the announcement of a multi-year investigation by the State of California. In an interview with GamesBeat, co-founder Chris Kaleiki shared his thoughts regarding the troubles within Activision Blizzard, and facing the games industry as a whole.
Chris Kaleiki, via GamesBeat
The challenges that Blizzard’s had that have been unearthed in the last several months or so have been really troubling, hard to hear about. It affects us as well, even though we’ve been out of Blizzard for a while. What’s important is starting a culture and having no tolerance for harassment and things like that, and also being transparent and open. We’re aspiring to do a flatter structure. None of us are leads or directors. Previously in our careers we were all individual contributors. We were the ones who’d just build or code or make art or design things. We aspire to have that flatter structure where we don’t have a rigid hierarchy. Harassment usually comes from a subordinate-superior sort of relationship. We’re hoping that flatter structure can address some of those problems.
Kaleiki went further to explain his journey in forming the new studio in a series of tweets, which highlight his excitement in the small startup venture. Although game development is a notoriously long process and we probably won’t see much for awhile, Notorious Studios is currently hiring, with hopes to grow their Southern California offices from 8 to 12 team members by early next year.