Apex Legends leads leave Respawn to form triple-A Gravity Well studio
Apex Legends executive producer Drew McCoy and lead programmer Jon “Slothy” Shiring have a new studio. The pair have left Respawn Entertainment after 10 years there to form Gravity Well. This new company will also focus on blockbuster-scale games, but it will do so while mostly working remotely with under 100 employees.
Gravity Well is opening in Los Angeles, and it’s looking to hire up staff immediately. In a post on the studio’s website, McCoy says that this is an opportunity to change how people make triple-A games.
“We are starting a studio because of how we want to make games,” writes McCoy. “We want time to iterate on everything and get ideas and feedback from the whole team. We’re building this studio to last for decades, and that doesn’t happen without putting the team first.”
McCoy explains that Gravity Well is going to prioritize “team health.” And to ensure it can maintain that, McCoy and Shiring plan to keep things small.
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“Once your team size crosses 100 people, everything changes,” writes Shiring. “You need meetings just to make decisions. Choices get siloed and brilliant creatives become less creative.”
To avoid those pitfalls, Gravity Well will peak at 85 people. The founders think they will also take more risks without the fear of supporting a massive organization.
From Infinity Ward to Respawn to Gravity Well
It doesn’t feel like 10 years ago that McCoy and Shiring were helping to first build Respawn. The two followed Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West when they left the Activision studio following a nasty pay dispute with the publisher. After scraping by for a few years, Respawn launched Titanfall in 2014.
McCoy and Shiring were crucial members of that team from the beginning. They then took on even more senior roles with Titanfall 2 and then Apex Legends, both of which are critical successes. The latter is a massive live-service hit.
But the two are now taking on even bigger challenges by starting their own business. They’ve proven their capabilities up to this point, and now we’ll get to see what they do on their own.