ArenaNet co-founder Jeff Strain, who left NCsoft
in August of this year, has revealed his new project: Seattle-based game development studio Undead Labs.
Strain, a key figure in the development of Guild Wars
, will continue to focus on MMOs -- this time on consoles, promising to "pioneer a new development model that will create a new breed of MMO built from the ground up for console gamers."
The sole focus of Undead Labs, according to the announcement, will be a massively-multiplayer zombie MMO -- or "MMOZ," as Strain calls it -- focused on action-humor elements.
"Every time I see a good zombie movie with friends, we spend days debating our strategies for surviving the zombie apocalypse," Strain says.
"The police station or the supermarket? Garden rake or staple gun? Bach or The White Stripes? I’m a game developer, so I’d probably be useless for anything other than ghoul bait, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to build an MMOZ that lets us put those strategies to the test and find out for sure."
Strain began his career on Diablo
at Blizzard, where he created the latter title's campaign editor. He was also part of the initial World of Warcraft
team as team lead and lead programmer.
He and fellow Blizzard leads Mike O'Brien and Patrick Wyatt founded ArenaNet in April 2000; aside from heading Guild Wars
, he was also president of product development NCSoft's company's Western operations.
He says the founding of Undead Labs represents a return to his roots as a developer after "a year wearing button-down shirts and dark socks."