Developers of God of War, The Last of Us, Call of Duty, and more have formed the new AAA game studio, That’s No Moon. Founders Taylor Kurosaki, Tina Kowalewski, Michael Mumbauer, and Nick Kononelos have decades of experience in AAA game development. Interestingly, all of the founders are former PlayStation developers.
Kurosaki, Mumbauer, and Kononelos all worked at or with Naughty Dog, with the most notable titles attributions in The Last of Us and God of War. Kurosaki and Kononelos also worked at Infinity Ward, developers of Call of Duty. Kowalewski worked as director of product development at Sony Santa Monica and is the founder of Giant Squid, the developer behind The Pathless and Abzu.
In a post on Twitter, the devs announced that That’s No Moon (which is also a Star Wars reference) is developing its first game, a narrative-driven single-player action-adventure. It is backed by a $100 million investment by South Korea’s CROSSFIRE developers, Smilegate.
Introducing That's No Moon. We are a new, independent, AAA development studio founded by industry veterans focused on creating genre-defining, narrative-driven games.
— That's No Moon (@ThatsNoMoonEnt) July 28, 2021
The studio says in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that it received this investment because Smilegate wants to expand its presence in the West by utilizing something it lacks – storytelling. That’s No Moon’s collection of talent is in no small part thanks to Smilegate’s belief that the Hollywood and film experience at the studio will elevate AAA gaming blockbusters.
The studio is comprised of about 40 members at the time of writing, but it is hoping to reach 100 employees by 2022. On its official website, That’s No Moon makes a point that it hopes to have a diverse and inclusive staff, “where people of all backgrounds, ideologies, orientations, and identities are treated equitably and with respect.”
With its focus on narrative storytelling, That’s No Moon is hoping to create game worlds that expand beyond just gaming. To do so, the developer is currently building a new “state-of-the-art” studio with an in-house virtual production stage.
We want to create characters and worlds that begin in our games, but will eventually extend into linear media—whether that’s TV, film, or beyond.”
All of the talent at That’s No Moon instantly gives the impression that this is gaming’s first super team. In basketball terms, it’s like the formation of the 2014-2019 Golden State Warriors. With the amount of AAA developers leaving and starting new studios in the past two years, it seems that this new generation of gaming is about to shift the gaming landscape forever.