The Remains of Edith Finch developers Chris Bell and Stephen Bell, along with Dust Force developer Lexie Dostal, announced a new indie studio on Wednesday. The studio, called Gardens, is “built on collective development” and has raised $4.5 million in funding to build the first game, which has not yet been announced, according to a news release.
The studio’s mission “is to create immersive online games that foster meaningful multiplayer moments and relationships between players around the world,” the developers said. Its first game was inspired by the “distinctive ways that team members have designed shared online experiences” in the past – as with games such as Journeys, Sky Children of the Lightand Blaseball. In the press release, Gardens said the multiplayer interactions the company intends to create will rely on “interest from their community to grow”.
That message is especially reminiscent of Blaseballonline community of, built around fantasy sports games, where the game thrives on its fandom.
The founders say part of Gardens’ collective growth mission includes creating a healthy and equitable environment for developers, which includes a 35-hour workweek.
“With Gardens, we wanted to create a studio that cares as much about the health, happiness and well-being of our team members as we do crafting games that we create together,” said co. founder Chris Bell said in a statement. “Our top priority is to make sure our teammates enjoy their lives and are given the tools and resources to develop and create compelling, well-crafted games, thoughtfully to cultivate novel experiences shared among online players.”
The team so far includes executive producer Sarah Sands (Fullbright), lead artist Ryan Benno (Spider-Man: Miles Morales), lead engineer Rose Dale (The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim), senior engineer Roldán Melcon (Blaseball), gameplay engineer Tonia Beglari (Monster Hunter World: Iceborne), and art director Leighton Milne (Hobbits).