Typhoon Studios Inc.
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
FoundedFebruary 2017; 5 years ago (2017-02)
Founders
DefunctFebruary 1, 2021 (2021-02-01)
FateDissolved
Headquarters,
Canada
Key people
Reid Schneider (studio head, executive producer)
ProductsJourney to the Savage Planet
Number of employees
25 (2018)
ParentStadia Games and Entertainment (2019–2021)
Websitetyphoonstudios.com

Typhoon Studios Inc. was a Canadian video game developer based in Montreal. It was founded by Alex Hutchinson, Yassine Riahi, and Reid Schneider in early 2017 and acquired by Google in December 2019, becoming part of Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E). After releasing its first game, Journey to the Savage Planet, in 2020, Typhoon Studios was shut down alongside SG&E in February 2021.

History

Alex Hutchinson, Yassine Riahi, and Reid Schneider founded Typhoon Studios in Montreal in February 2017.[1][2] They had previously worked for development studios of Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE), among others.[1] According to Schneider, the founding team was purposely composed of a creative director, a production person, and a technical director, so that starting a company made sense.[3] He also stated that the company sought to occupy a near-extinct middle market of "mid-sized games" (such as Firewatch and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice) between indie games and big-budget AAA games.[3][4] He specifically cited a lack of budget to create a game like Call of Duty.[5]

Hutchinson announced Typhoon Studios' formation in April 2017.[2] Early on, the company received funding from Makers Fund, a Chinese venture capital firm, although this did not translate into an increased focus on the Asian video game market.[3] Typhoon Studios' first hire was the art director Erick Bilodeau, who had worked with the founders at WBIE. The first office was established in a motion capture studio for which the company did not have to pay rent, fit with IKEA desks and second-hand furniture from Craigslist. After occupying another temporary office in a basement, the studio received sufficient funding to move into its first proper office.[6]

By September 2018, Typhoon Studios had signed a long-term partnership with 505 Games, which would see the latter publish Typhoon Studios' debut game. By this time, the studio had 20 employees, which grew to 25 by December.[4][7] During The Game Awards in December 2018, the company announced its debut game as Journey to the Savage Planet.[8]

On December 19, 2019, Google acquired Typhoon Studios and placed it under Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E), the division developing games exclusively for Stadia, Google's cloud gaming service.[1][9] The studio was integrated with SG&E's existing Montreal studio, which was headed up by Sébastien Puel.[9][10] Jade Raymond, the head of SG&E, stated that the purchase was driven by the expertise of the Typhoon Studios team, citing multiple AAA games previously shipped by the individual members.[10] Journey to the Savage Planet was not part of the acquisition.[9] The game was released for PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One on January 28, 2020.[11] It was ported to Nintendo Switch in May that year and released to Stadia on February 1, 2021.[12][13]

Also on February 1, 2021, Google announced the closure of SG&E and its studios, with the former Typhoon Studios team leaving the company.[14] Former members of Typhoon—including Hutchinson, Schneider, Bilodeau, Yannick Simard, and Marc-Antoine Lussier—founded Raccoon Logic as a new development studio in August 2021 with initial funding from Tencent, among others. They negotiated with Google to maintain control of the Journey intellectual property, including the work on its planned sequel that was in development before Typhoon's closure.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c Roettgers, Janko (December 19, 2019). "Google Buys Typhoon Studios for Its Stadia Cloud Gaming Service". Variety. Archived from the original on December 5, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Brightman, James (April 7, 2017). "Ubisoft's Alex Hutchinson departs to form Typhoon Studios". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Bradley, Dave (December 10, 2018). "Behind the scenes at Typhoon Studios: an exclusive visit to Montreal's super-indie – #1: Founding the company". PC Games Insider. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Chan, Stephanie (September 5, 2018). "Far Cry 4 creative director's new Typhoon Studios is 'definitely not doing a battle royale game'". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Bradley, Dave (December 10, 2018). "Behind the scenes at Typhoon Studios: an exclusive visit to Montreal's super-indie – #3: The first game". PC Games Insider. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  6. ^ Bradley, Dave (December 10, 2018). "Behind the scenes at Typhoon Studios: an exclusive visit to Montreal's super-indie – #2: Company culture". PC Games Insider. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Bradley, Dave (December 10, 2018). "Behind the scenes at Typhoon Studios: an exclusive visit to Montreal's super-indie". PC Games Insider. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  8. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (December 6, 2018). "Typhoon Studios Reveals First Project 'Journey To The Savage Planet'". Variety. Archived from the original on September 28, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Takahashi, Dean (December 19, 2019). "Google buys triple-A game dev Typhoon Studio to beef up Stadia". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on December 27, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Sinclair, Brendan (December 19, 2019). "Google Stadia acquires Typhoon Studios". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  11. ^ Wilson, Tony (January 31, 2020). "Top New Video Game Releases On Switch, PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Week — January 26 – February 1, 2020". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  12. ^ Sheridan, Connor (May 21, 2020). "Journey to the Savage Planet Switch version is out now". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on May 21, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  13. ^ Li, Abner (February 1, 2021). "[Update: Claim now] Google adds three Stadia Pro games for February 2021, including Journey to the Savage Planet". 9to5Google. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  14. ^ Robinson, Andy (February 1, 2021). "Google has closed its Stadia game development teams". Video Games Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  15. ^ Robinson, Andy (August 11, 2021). "Savage Planet studio Typhoon has reformed and kept the IP after Stadia closure". Video Games Chronicle. Archived from the original on August 11, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2021.