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Former Valve developer Chet Faliszek and Riot Games veteran Dr. Kimberly Voll have joined forces to form new Seattle-based game studio Stray Bombay.
Faliszek spent 12 years at Valve before leaving back in 2017, and helped build the stories for every game in the Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and Portal series.
Following his departure, the veteran scribe joined Worlds Adrift and Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios to serve as game director on a mystery project, but has now seemingly left that post.
Voll, meanwhile most recently worked as a technical designer at Riot Games, where she helped develop the various game and social systems present in League of Legends.
She is a specialist in player psychology, artificial intelligence, and human-centric design, has a PhD in computer science, and like Faliszek has a keen interest in the world of virtual reality -- having previously worked as a coder and designer on the well-received VR puzzler Fantastic Contraption.
In their new venture, the pair want to make social games that "give players a place to breathe and live in the moment," and hope to do so while also changing the culture of game development.
"Players are smart, they are social. But games often don’t reflect that and we think that can change. So we’re forming a new studio in Seattle that is itself co-operative. As Kim and I talked over the years about the kind of games we want to make, we realized we want to create games that give players a place to breathe and live in the moment," wrote Faliszek in a blog post.
"We think now is the time to change the culture of game development. Make everyone equals, not just in their impact on the project but in how we divide the loot of our success. Relax strict PTO policies because we trust each other to take the time you need. We want to build games that reflect our culture," added Voll.
You can find out more about Stray Bombay by checking out the full announcement post, but don't expect any concrete game details until Faliszek and Voll have finished laying the foundations.