Film director, producer, and screenwriter J.J. Abrams’ film production company Bad Robot Productions is most known for Cloverfield, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Westworld. Today, Abrams’ accomplished studio expands into video games. Bad Robot Games is the result of the new partnership between the company and Tencent, the Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate. Warner Bros. Interactive is also joining as a minority investor and will help develop large and small original console, PC, and mobile games.
Bad Robot Games will use talent from inside the film studio and be led by David Baronoff. Baronoff has led the Bad Robot games and interactive portion since 2006. During that tenure, he helped the alternate reality game for the Cloverfield app as well as the PASS Time mode for Team Fortress 2 in 2016. Tim Keenan, best known for the PC roguelike Duskers, will also join Baronoff.
Abrams is no stranger to video games either. In 2013, he had a talk at DICE with Valve’s Gabe Newell explaining storytelling across different forms of media. During the presentation, they both talked about they would like to collaborate on making a game or movie together one day. Not much of substance has come from that talk since but Abrams claimed in 2016 that something was coming “fairly soon.”
He’s even discussed his undying love for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, especially its killer opening. Nolan North, Nathan Drake’s voice actor, even landed a small part in Star Trek: Into Darkness because of Abrams’ fondness of the game. Abrams channeled this love of games into his prepared statement on the press release about the new studio.
“I’m a massive games fan, and increasingly envious of the amazing tools developers get to work with, and the worlds they get to play in. Now we are doubling down on our commitment to the space with a unique co-development approach to game making that allows us to focus on what we do best, and hopefully be a meaningful multiplier to our developer partners,” stated Abrams. “Dave’s creativity, deep passion and skillful leadership will be incredibly valuable as we harness our partner Tencent’s expertise, experience and reach to bring our games to audiences around the world.”