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Spec Ops creator fights AAA "creative stagnation" with new indie studio

Jonathan Lester
Horror games, Indie Games, Tangentlemen

Spec Ops creator fights AAA "creative stagnation" with new indie studio

Tangentlemen working on new surreal horror title

Cory Davis, the lead designer behind Spec Ops: The Line, was horrified at having to shoehorn pointless multiplayer into Yager's thought-provoking sleeper hit. He's now teamed up with a Tomb Raider veteran to form a new indie studio dedicated to creating new and innovative games, and pushing against the "creative stagnation" that often AAA games development.

Tangentlemen have a great name and amazing beards. It's a promising start.

Toby Gard joins Davis as joint creative directors, alongside staffers who previously worked in Infinity Ward and Activision, who met while helping out on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. Their first title promises to be "an existential, surreal horror trip," currently in the planning and pre-production stages.

"The rocketing costs of AAA development led to a creative stagnation in games until the recent explosion of the indie scene," reads a missive from co-creative director Toby Gard. "We have formed Tangentlemen to take some creative risks and trust our belief that there is an audience who want fun experiences that don't fall comfortably inside predefined marketing boxes."

"At Tangentlemen, we see each creative dilemma — no matter how challenging as a dance with the devil, so to say," Davis added. "We live for those challenges. By relying on our collective experience, mutual respect, and off-kilter personalities, we're able to twerk it out into new exciting thematic territory."

"Our solutions are not what you'd expect. They're often weird, or even absurd, with strong gestures that challenge the status quo. Our games are extreme in their thematic, narrative, and mechanical design. I seriously can't wait to tell you exactly what we're up to right now!"

Cory Davis' hatred of triple-A development is a matter of record, as he spoke out in no uncertain terms regarding Spec Ops: The Line's vestigial multiplayer last year.

""It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience," Davis told Polygon. "The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package — it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating".

Ouch. It's no surprise that he's decided to 'go indie,' and though Tangentlemen now face an entirely new set of funding and development hurdles, we look forward to seeing what comes of it.

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