Even if you don’t know Chet Faliszek‘s name, you’ve likely heard of his work. As one of the writers at Valve Software in the 2000s, Faliszek helped create the stories of seminal video games including Portal, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life 2: Episode One, and Counter-Strike. To put it less gently, he’s one of the reasons why cakes have been lies for the last 12 years. More recently, since leaving Valve in 2017, Faliszek was working in Seattle at Bossa Studios.
This week, at the start of this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Faliszek officially announced the founding of his newest venture, Stray Bombay, with Dr. Kimberly Voll. Based in Seattle, Stray Bombay is actively hiring at GDC for multiple positions, with funding already in place via Riot Games and Upfront Ventures, in order to create a new cooperative-play video game.
“Players are smart, they are social,” Faliszek wrote on the company’s website. “But games often don’t reflect that and we think that can change. So we’re forming a new studio in Seattle that is itself co-operative.”
I am starting off #GDC19 by announcing, @zanytomato and myself just formed a new game studio in Seattle – Stray Bombay Company (@straybombay) – you can read our announcement at https://t.co/i8Cuc2LdfX and we are at GDC all week looking for people to come join us!
— Chet Faliszek @ GDC (@chetfaliszek) March 18, 2019
Voll left a position as principal technical designer at Riot, the studio behind the popular MOBA League of Legends, to found Stray Bombay. As a programmer, she’s also worked on several titles for Radial Games in Vancouver, B.C., such as Fantastic Contraption and Rocketsrocketsrockets. Voll holds a Ph.D in computer science from Simon Fraser University. Faliszek called her the “smartest person I know.”
“We think now is the time to change the culture of game development. Make everyone equals, not just in their impact on the project but in how we divide the loot of our success,” Voll said in the announcement. “Relax strict PTO policies because we trust each other to take the time you need. We want to build games that reflect our culture.”
The unnamed maiden project for Stray Bombay is already in prototype, according to Faliszek in an interview with PC Games Insider. The final project is expected to be iterative, as more developers join the studio and contribute to it, but Faliszek and Voll are specifically planning for it to be a cooperative-play, first-person game. Stray Bombay has five open positions on its website.