Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed III, has left Ubisoft to start his own studio. Hutchinson took to Twitter to announce the news.
“So! I left Ubisoft after 7 years. Extremely proud of all we achieved on Far Cry and Assassins but very excited to build something new,” he wrote.
Hutchinson announced that Reid Schneider, former Warner Bros. Montreal executive producer, was joining him at his new company, Typhoon Studios. Typhoon Studios’ website is bare bones at this point, besides a call for “outstanding talent” and “people who are not afraid to be bold.”
The studio is hiring at all levels for technical artists, environment artists, and gameplay programmers.
One interesting aspect of the site is what may or may not be the studio’s slogan: “Incredibly Loud and Uncomfortably Close.” The phrase riffs off of Jonathan Safran Foer’s critically acclaimed 2005 novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which was later turned into a dismal film starring Tom Hanks.
Hutchinson followed up his announcement with a pair of nondescript tweets about Typhoon Studios. “Probably won’t have much to announce in the near future as we hire, build our studio, buy a coffee machine, and build Ikea furniture but … we are hard at work imagining a brand new world to inflict on all of you, so stay tuned,” he wrote.
Hutchinson worked at AAA studios for more than a decade. Before he helmed two of Ubisoft’s most popular franchises at its Montreal studio, he worked on The Sims at Maxis. He moved over to EA Montreal to serve as lead designer on both The Sims 2 and Spore before transitioning to the same role at Ubisoft Montreal.
Hutchinson’s departure from AAA studios comes a few years after he received attention for his negative comments about AAA games as a whole. In 2012, he claimed that major studios’ desire to make increasingly large-scale projects with realistic graphics would cause AAA titles to become “nothing more than the last of the dinosaurs. Upon the launch of Assassin’s Creed III later that year, Hutchinson said that the game was the “last of the dinosaurs.”
Whatever Typhoon Studio ends up developing, it’s safe to say that Hutchinson and his team won’t be looking at AAA games as a model.