Trion World Network has announced the opening of a new studio in San Diego, the acquisition of some key staff members, and has confirmed with Gamasutra in an interview that it has a server-based MMO game title in development in its Redwood City studio.
Following the announcement, Gamasutra had a chance to speak to Lars Buttler, CEO and co-founder of the company about the company's expansion. Buttler was formerly Vice President for Global Online at Electronic Arts, and leads the companies with Jon Van Caneghem, Founder and CEO of New World Computing and creator of the Might & Magic
Specifically, the company has announced the opening of its San Diego studio with a number of key developers from EverQuest
creator Sony Online Entertainment, including SOE's head of development. Nicholas Beliaeff. Beliaeff is joined by lead game designer Bill Trost, senior producer Robert Hill and principal engineer Brandon Bogle, all formerly of SOE.
Trion has hired away talent from EA, Activision, and NCSoft in the past. According to Buttler, "It's not because we go aggressively after big companies, but because we believe great talent makes great games both from a content and technology perspective. You continue to build out -- I don't think you're ever done. We have about a dozen of the top people down here in San Diego and of course we continue to hire."
Buttler was somewhat coy on both further hires and, of course, the company's projects. On the former front, he promised "a number of other people we haven't announced."
As for upcoming content, the CEO demurred comment but pointed to the company's IP partners, such as Warner Bros. According to Buttler, the Redwood City and Austin studios are complete and functional, though still hiring. Trion's Redwood City studio is currently at work on a game title, while the Austin studio focuses on back-end technology.
When asked about the new San Diego studio, Buttler said, "I'm here with about a dozen or so of the best talent in the game space today. What we are announcing and have built are all of the pieces to become a publisher and developer of next-generation server-based games."
Buttler refers here to the previously-announced Trion Platform
and the company's ability to distribute its products, being complemented by building out its ability to develop the games it intends to sell and service. Buttler said, "We have an incredible network of IP partners and distribution and marketing partners."
Trion is funded by venture capital, including a most recent $30 million dollar round of funding led by Rustic Canyon Partners, and bills itself as a "premium publisher and developer of innovative server-based games".