Journey and Edith Finch devs form new studio to create “mysterious and magical” multiplayer games

Former Skyrim, Journey, and Marvel’s Spider-Man devs have founded a new multiplayer studio aiming to “foster relationships between players around the world.”

Announced today, Gardens is a new studio established by Chris Bell, best known for their work on Journey and What Remains of Edith Finch, Stephen Bell, and Lexie Dostal. Alongside the founders are developers who have worked across Skyrim, Fallout 3 and 4, Ratchet & Clank, and Insomniac’s Spider-Man games.

In an announcement today, Chris Bell said that the team’s aim was “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 game we create together.” The team will be working on “compelling, well-crafted, thoughtful games that cultivate novel shared experiences between players online.”


(Image credit: Gardens)

That’s certainly the case with many of the games that Garden’s founders have worked on in the past, from the gentle multiplayer of Journey, to the meticulous detail of What Remains of Edith Finch, to the novel community approach of Blaseball. Those ideas will be taken forward – the studio’s upcoming game will see “players crossing paths in a mysterious and magical world” based on fantastical, verdant concept art. Gardens describes those worlds as “artfully-crafted, living environments […] designed to foster rich multiplayer interactions while relying on care by their communities in order to thrive.” 

Speaking to GamesRadar+, Chris Bell said that “we’ve really put together a great team of developers that have tons of experience. And many of which the games that they’ve worked on directly relate to the work that we’re doing with our first game. We really look to talent that not only matched our cultural values, but understood the kinds of games that we’re making, and could look to their past work and say, okay, they have the skills and the experiences and the ideas that we can bring together to put something new out there.”

It’s likely to be a while before we get to see Gardens’ first game, but its goals are certainly interesting, and given the cult popularity that some of the team’s games have gone on to enjoy, it’ll be fascinating to see what it comes up with.

GamesRadar+ spoke to Gardens co-founders Chris Bell and Stephen Bell about the studio’s ethos and the kind of online game they’re trying to create.

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