ZeniMax Online Studios, which is working on a new as-of-yet untitled AAA IP, has recruited several developers formerly linked to Sony to join their team. Four developers, including Quentin Cobb, Senior Game Designer at Sony, John Bautista, Senior Game Designer at Sony, Chris Kovach, Gameplay Animator at Sony Interactive Entertainment and TJ Madigan, Lead Core Technology Director at Sony Interactive Entertainment, have all departed the company to join Zenimax.
Zenimax, based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, was purchased by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in September as part of its takeover of Bethesda. Cobb, a senior game designer on Sony’s The Last of Us and Uncharted 4, announced the move on Twitter, writing, “I am happy to announce that I’ve joined @ZeniMax_Online as a Sr. Designer working with my good friend Ben Jones (@Bagelbeard) on a new, unannounced AAA IP! I’m thrilled this is finally happening.”
Jones came onboard at Zenimax after serving as Creative Director of Daybreak Game Company, a former subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment and was joined by Alex Sulman, a Lead Gameplay Designer at DICE and former Senior Designer at Sony Computer Entertainment. In a follow-up tweet, Cobb mentioned his former Sony colleagues, writing, “Along with some talented folks, we’ve formed the basis of a new satellite studio for Zenimax Online here in San Diego.”
Jones, a 15-year gaming industry veteran, has worked for Valve, EA, DICE (Battlefield 4), Daybreak Company (H1N1), while his new workmates have helped develop games such as Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, X-COM 2, and Shadow of Mordor. Given its substantial investment, Microsoft seems to be banking on the success of ZeniMax, known for The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG released for PC and consoles in 2014, with versions for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S planned. The aim seems to be to develop a new game that can match the success of Sony’s The Last of Us, one of the studio’s most critically acclaimed and profitable titles.
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