Shapeshifter Games is the new place for Saints Row developers, Volition. A studio famous from Saints Row and Red Faction was shutdown a few months ago, a recent development show that studio members started a new development company called Shapeshifter Games.
Shapeshifter Games Started It’s Way
Embracer Group, formerly known as THQ Nordic and the Nordic Games Licensing prior to that, has continued to scoop up assets over the past 10 years or so, including assets from THQ, Crystal Dynamics, and tons of different IPs.
Unfortunately, recent events have not been quite as kind, as a reported failed deal between Embracer and Savvy Gaming Group, forced the company to announce a large scale restructuring plan involving studio closures and staff reductions.
As staff were laid off and projects canceled, one of the studios to shut down was Volition, which was one of the original THQ assets Deep Silver acquired before being purchased by Embracer in 2018. The studio had become well known for the Saints Row series, though the studio’s final two launches of Agents of Mayhem and the franchise reboot Saints Row, found a dedicated smaller audience but largely failed to resonate with consumers.
As such, Embracer announced that Voltion would be shut down on August 31, 2023, prompting the studio to post one final heartfelt message to fans. However, our of the ashes of Volition has seen the rise of a new studio with a number of veterans from the Champaign, Illinois company.
The announcement came from a post on LinkedIn by Matt Madigan, the studio head at Shapeshifter Games. Madigan reveals that Shapeshifter Games is a co development partner for AAA games, meaning they’re going to assist other developers/publishers with their projects.
Located in Champaign, the studio also appears to have work as the profile of lighting artist AJ Nelson, who arrived from Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios, seemingly confirmed that Shapeshifter is currently co developing a project with Xbox Games Strudios. Unfortunately, no additional details were provided.
Addition to Madigan, who previously served in various financial roles with Volition, THQ, and Koch Media, Shapeshifter has managed to bring in a number of veterans from the Saints Row studio. This includes people like Rob Loftus and Brian Traficante, who are serving as dual studio heads, at Shapeshifter. Others include longtime Volition level designers like Jeff Touchstone and Chad Dodson, software engineer David Andsager, quest designer Alex Cline, along with designers Darren Dienst and Bryan Dillow.
Volition closure came to a happy ending for many people, but we can’t say the same thing for other Embracer studios such as Black Forest Games, a studio which is known for Destroy All Humans Franchise, also currently working on a video game adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin. Recent report show that studio layoffs 50% of it’s workers.