Bad Robot Productions is J.J. Abrams’ production company, responsible for several film and television franchises including Alias, Lost, Fringe, Person of Interest, Westworld, Cloverfield, Star Trek, Super 8, and more prominently Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its sequels. On Thursday, June 7, the company announced their plans “to create both large and indie-scale projects for mobile, PC, and console.” They also announced a partnership with Tencent, the Chinese gaming and media conglomerate giant, who will provide funding to the venture, alongside Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment as a minority investor. Tencent will hold the commercial rights of distribution of all Bad Robot games released in Asia.
In Abrams’ words, “I’m a massive games fan, and increasingly envious of the amazing tools developers get to work with, and the worlds they get to play in. Now we are doubling down on our commitment to the space with a unique co-development approach to game making that allows us to focus on what we do best, and hopefully be a meaningful multiplier to our developer partners.”
A few years ago, Abrams talked about film adaptations of Portal and Half-Life, which could be a glimpse into the kind of games Bad Robot Games might be interested in developing. So far the only developers announced to be attached to the division are Dave Baronoff and Tim Keenan. Apart from being involved in Spyjinx with Epic Games, Baronoff has a couple of credits as a producer for Bad Robots Interactive division, with two Star Trek games and a Cloverfield game, while Keenan is an indie developer alongside his wife, behind the studio Misfits Attic, with two games completed so far: A Virus Named TOM, an “infectious action-puzzler” and Duskers, a “tactical sci-fi roguelike survival”.
Also of note is the fact that Bad Robot Productions is responsible for producing HBO’s immensely successful Westworld series, which is itself inspired by videogames such as Red Dead Redemption and BioShock. There is definitely a market for a Westworld game as a broad open world, full of quests and narratives, not unlike a Bethesda or Rockstar game.
For now, it remains to be seen how ambitious the division’s games will be in the following years.