Former Naughty Dog veterans Jason Hughes and Andrew Gilmour have announced the formation of a new independent studio named Steel Penny Games. The Austin, Texas based studio has already announced its status as a WiiWare games developer, with its first title using an original intellectual property due to be released in mid-2008.
The title is described as blending a "challenging puzzle game with dramatic fantasy environments and appealing characters for an exceptionally satisfying experience". No screenshots or other details of the game have been revealed at this time.
Naughty Dog, where Hughes was a senior graphics tools engineer and Gilmour a senior background artist, are best known for the original Crash Bandicoot games, as well as Jak & Daxter and the more recent Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - all titles exclusively released on PlayStation formats.
Although the company is described as being focused on digital distribution, as yet there has been no indication that it will release games for either Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network. Instead the team has spent the last year building a proprietary engine specifically for the Wii and creating its new intellectual property, which is expected to be used across several games.
Hughes describes the company's strategy as "The modern equivalent of the garage method for an independent to gain a foothold in the industry - a unique opportunity WiiWare presents that we appreciate."
"I am impressed with the egalitarian approach Nintendo has taken toward WiiWare developers. It allows the risk burden to shift back onto the creative developers," he added.