Irrational Games co-founder and Director of Development on BioShock, Jonathan Chey announced the founding of Blue Manchu, a new independent development studio dedicated to innovative strategy and simulation gaming and as well as a collaboration with Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering, on Blue Manchu’s first game, Card Hunter.
Blue Manchu is a loose collective of industry veterans making games that probably would not be funded within the prevailing industry models. Chey was one of the two owners of Irrational when that studio was sold to Take 2. After directing the development of BioShock, Chey left Take 2 in order to pursue game development free of the constraints of big studio development. Blue Manchu has brought together a group of other ex-Irrational developers with the same vision, including Ben Lee, art director from Freedom Force, indie-legend Farbs, of Captain Forever fame and Dorian Hart, a designer whose credits include Ultima Underworld 2 and the original System Shock.
Card Hunter is is an innovative new take on strategy gaming that lets its developers flex their turn-based gaming muscles in a way that they never could have as part of a bigger outfit. "Instead of making the game we think the market wants, we’re making a game we want to play" says Chey. "We have the luxury of being able to do that and we’re not going to waste that chance. At Irrational I had the privilege of working with co-founders Ken Levine and Rob Fermier on some amazing games like System Shock 2, Freedom Force and BioShock. Those successes have given me the opportunity to explore gaming territory that would never get funding through normal channels."
To make that vision happen, Blue Manchu has also obtained the help of the father of collectible card-gaming, Magic designer Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias, inventor of the Magic pro-tour. With their expertise and advice, Card Hunter will have all the twists and turns of Magic but which requires learning a whole new set of strategies. "I am very interested in computer games that feel like board games – that have the mechanics of a board game but the convenience and speed of a computer. If you like board games, card games or role-playing games, I think you’ll love Card Hunter." added Richard Garfield.
Follow Card Hunter’s progress at http://www.cardhunter.com.