Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Gardens, a New Studio Focused on Employee Wellbeing, Has Already Attracted AAA Developers to Join

A new, remote-first games studio aims to build a company built on the health of its employees and the world. This philosophy has attracted talent from across the industry including veterans who’ve worked on games like Marvel’s Spider-Man, What Remains of Edith Finch, Journey, Fallout 4, and more.

The studio is called Gardens and is co-founded by Chris Bell (Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch), Lexie Dostal (Dustforce), and Stephen Bell (Blaseball, What Remains of Edith Finch.). Gardens already has plans for its first game, which is set to be an online game where players will interact with each other within a mysterious and magical world. It will build upon the online games the team has built in the past including Journey, Ashen, and Blaseball.

Check out the concept art below.

This remote studio, with employees primarily based out of Portland, OR and Los Angeles, CA, was named after the kind of games the team is looking to create which are “artfully-crafted, living environments” primarily focused on online multiplayer experiences.

“With Gardens, we wanted to create a studio that cares as much about the health, happiness, and wellbeing of its team members as we do the craftsmanship of the games we create together,” says Bell in a statement on the studio’s founding.

Gardens has already attracted veterans with experience working on a wide range of games. Alongside the founders, the studio has a team that includes Leighton Milne (Asen, The Hobbit), Ryan Benno (Spider-Man, Ratchet & Clank), ma-ko, Sarah Sands (Fullbright), Rose Dale (Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4), Roldan Melcon (Where Cards Fall), and Tonia Beglari (Monster Hunter World: Iceborne).

“I decided to join Gardens after my first meeting with the founders,” says Sands who had previously left the games industry entirely before speaking with Gardens' founders. “I’m thankful every day that I get to help build a studio that is focused as much on creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected as it is on creating amazing innovative games.”

After receiving a round of funding, Gardens is also looking to hire and build up the team as it gets to work on its first online game.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.


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