Emptyvessel debuts as triple-A game studio in Austin

Emptyvessel is coming out of stealth as a triple-A game studio in Austin, Texas. It’s working on an undisclosed shooter game.

With a focus on creative independence, the company hopes to usher in a new wave of development focused on creating high-quality, meaningful games that feel great to play.

The team has veterans from game companies like id Software, Naughty Dog, and Activision. It will operate with a fully remote team spanning the United States, Australia, and Europe.

Led by CEO and game director Emanuel Palalic and COO and general manager Garrett Young — both distinguished figures from id Software — Emptyvessel aspires to create an environment fostering exploration and innovation.

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“Many game developers like myself began our journey fueled by the dream of one day bringing our worlds to life,” said Palalic, in a statement. “By prioritizing and aligning with our strengths, we’re confident it’s possible to create triple-A quality games with smaller, focused teams. The industry has often overlooked the people who pour their hearts and souls into crafting these worlds. With Emptyvessel, we’re determined to change that narrative and make that dream a reality for as many developers as we can.”

The team includes CTO Wei Ning, art director Alex Palma, animation director Rico Flores, and other industry luminaries, each bringing a wealth of experience from iconic franchises like Doom, Quake, Call of Duty, Last of Us, Borderlands, Tomb Raider, and Uncharted.

Emptyvessel is making a shooter game.

The studio’s ethos is rooted in being developer-founded and developer-first.

Emptyvessel said it is determined to challenge industry norms, providing a platform for developers to craft meaningful gaming experiences without compromise.

“Our industry is at a crossroads between business and talent. At Emptyvessel, we take a Developer-First approach to our direction and execution,” said Young, in a statement. “We understand every innovation in this industry has been led by a developer taking a risk — every new IP, every billion-dollar franchise. Gaming’s next massive hit can come from anywhere.”

The studio is keen on fostering innovation within a nimble, core team of triple-A-level talent, empowering them to create high-quality intellectual properties with achievable scope.

The team is currently engaged in an undisclosed first project, delving into the immersive shooter genre. Powered by Unreal Engine 5, the game draws inspiration from dystopian sci-fi worlds depicted in film, graphic novels, and games. A teaser video on YouTube offers a glimpse into emptyvessel’s vision and creative direction.

The studio has garnered support from strategic partners and investors, including Sisu Game Ventures, Raptor Group, Bill Munk (co-owner, Tripwire Interactive), and Dan Bunting (former co-studio head, Treyarch). The advisory board includes industry veterans like Riley Russell (former Sony SVP) and award-winning composer Mick Gordon.

Emptyvessel has also teamed up with creative agency Petrol Advertising for brand strategy, campaign planning, and asset creation, leveraging Petrol’s extensive experience in more than 2,000 game launches.

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