ZeniMax staffs up for its push towards free-to-play games


ZeniMax Media has grown gradually over the past decade, slowly expanding by acquiring new studios and releasing big hits from a stable core. At its heart is Bethesda Game Studios and its projects like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3. Those heavy hitters help fuel smaller, but equally ambitious groups like Arkane Studios and its game Dishonored, as well as ventures into new competitive markets like ZeniMax Online’s foray into MMOs with The Elder Scrolls Online.

To date, ZeniMax has in large part left some of gaming’s fastest growing segments, like free-to-play games, to its competitors. Its first free-to-play focused studio, Battlecry Studios, is only now ramping up development of its first release, and the company is looking for new employees to join its staff in Texas.

Battlecry opened the floodgates on Thursday morning, announcing that it is looking to fill fifteen separate positions with the studio covering everything from technical design, to all types of artist positions, to designers for monetization systems. In fact, the only major position that Battlecry doesn’t seem to be looking to fill is that of game designer.

A lot of information about what Battlecry is making can be gleaned from this lineup. For starters, since it’s not seeking a new game designer, the studio likely already has a game in mind that it wants to make. It simply needs engineers and artists to help realize it. Also, it’s not yet sure how it’s going to build this game to make money. ZeniMax opened Battlecry to get into free-to-play video games, but until its game is closer to a finished project, it will need someone to steer around the delicate issue of making a game that doesn’t feel exploitive.

Somewhat ironically, Battlecry Studios is led by an individual who helped build games that bucked against the free-to-play movement: Rich Vogel, formerly of Sony Online Entertainement and Electronic Arts. Vogel has been plying his trade in MMOs from the beginning, including Ultima Online and Star Wars: Galaxies. His more recent job was working as executive producer on the ill-fated Star Wars: The Old Republic, a game that fought for months against the move for MMOs to go free-to-play.