First, they were People Can Fly. Now they’re aiming higher than the sky. Now they are The Astronauts. Poland’s favorite shooter developers have started their very own studio, and they’ll be making games using the engine built by their former employers.
It’s hard not to be exhausted by the preponderance of guns in video games. There are other things to do in the digital world that are just as entertaining as shooting people, monsters, and aliens. When the games about shooting things are made by People Can Fly, though, it’s hard to complain. The studio’s signature work on games like Painkiller and Bulletstorm singled them out as makers of balletic chaos, games of cartoon bloodshed as concerned with momentum as with gore.
Excitement abounded when word came out that the Polish studio would take on Epic’s Gears of War series with next year’s Gears of War: Judgment. Concerns were raised one month after that game’s announcement though. Shortly after E3 2012, Epic announced that it would take full ownership of People Can Fly, but the studio’s co-founder Andrian Chmielarz, artist Andrezj Poznanski, and artist Michal Kosieradzki left the studio at the same time.
It turns out that all three creators, key minds behind Bulletstorm, Painkiller, and even Gears of War: Judgment, went off to found their very own independent studio. Enter The Astronauts. The studio announced itself to the world on Thursday, opening a funny website discussing the philosophy of the studio and the founders history together at People Can Fly.
No love was lost in their departure from Epic it seems since the studio has signed a “long-term” license to make games using the Unreal Engine. “We thought about making our own engine for our projects,” reads The Astronauts’ website, “That lasted about ten seconds, nine of which were filled with laughter.” It makes sense that The Astronauts would gravitate towards a development platform they have history with rather than devoting the massive resources necessary to develop their own technology, but the question remains: What will they make with it?
Unknown. The team is targeting its first release for next year, so it’s safe to assume that The Astronauts aren’t making a massive retail console game. They do say that there first game will be built on Unreal Engine 3, not the graphically and physics intensive Unreal Engine 4, so a downloadable or mobile title also seems like a good bet.