Swedish film- and game director Josef Fares launches new studio, Hazelight, with core team from the production of Brothers.
Last year’s Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was one of the most positive surprises coming out of the Nordic games industry. After a lukewarm reception of their FPS remake of Bullfrog’s sci-fi classic, Syndicate, it looked like Starbreeze was back to their original strong form, with a strong narrative game, developed in co-operation with Swedish filmmaker Josef Fares.
But now it looks like Starbreeze will have to continue without Josef Fares and a number of key members from the production team behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. During this weekend’s Game Awards in Las Vegas, it turned out that Josef Fares has established his own studio, Hazelight, together with a number of the people from his previous project at Starbreeze, and the studio has already secured a partnership deal with EA for Hazelight’s first, still unnamed, release.
Details of the new project are still very limited, but Josef Fares promises in a statement on the official EA blog, The Beat, that “it is a new IP that is totally different from Brothers in both style and setting.” In the statement, he also sheds a little bit of light on the formation of the studio.
Hazelight is a studio that I have started together with the core team from Brothers and we are very excited to create a new experience.
People joining Fares from the Brothers production include former Starbreeze Art Director, Claes Engdal, animator Emil Claeson, and programmer Anders Olsson among other. However, judging from LinkedIn resumes, it seems that at least some of the staff did not come from Starbreeze directly, but had a stint at Uppsala-based Machinegames, before joining Hazelight.
Josef Fares himself comes from a filmmaking background, where he has directed a number of films, often starring his brother Fares Fares, and has won a number of awards for his films
EA’s Executive Vice President, Patrick Söderlund, also commented on the new partnership on The Beat.
When I heard its creator Josef Fares was forming an independent studio to work on a new concept and looking for a publishing partner, I jumped at the chance to meet with him. Fast forward to today, I’m thrilled to share that EA has partnered with his newly-formed independent studio Hazelight to publish their first game.
It also seems like the partnership is more serious than just a publishing deal. Even if Hazelight is an independant studio, they are currently being housed at EA-owned DICE’s offices in Stockholm, suggesting a somewhat deeper connection than that of a developer and it’s publisher.
No release date or target platfoms for the new project has been announced yet