New NetEase Studio Bad Brain Established, Helmed By Ex-Ubisoft Producer

Published: May 23, 2023 9:06 AM /


The logo for NetEase's newly-established Bad Brain studio headed by ex-Ubisoft producer Sean Crooks

NetEase has announced the establishment of Bad Brain Game Studios, a brand new development outfit helmed by ex-Ubisoft producer Sean Crooks. The studio is currently hard at work on its debut game, which will launch a new franchise "inspired by cult 1980s movies".

In a new NetEase press release, the Chinese gaming giant says Bad Brain will be based in three locations across Canada: Toronto, Montreal, and Ontario. Its first project will be built in Unreal Engine 5 and will be a "story-driven action-adventure game" with a focus on open-world gameplay. It'll be coming to PC and consoles, by the sound of things.


Bad Brain is helmed by Sean Crooks, an ex-Ubisoft producer who's worked on games like Watch Dogs Legion. The studio also boasts a team of "passionate veteran developers" who've been involved in the creation of games like Far Cry 2Driver: San Francisco, and Splinter Cell: Conviction

A character letting off a spray paint can in another character's face in Watch Dogs Legion, a game produced by Sean Crooks, who's made the leap to NetEase's Bad Brain
Bad Brain includes ex-Ubisoft luminaries responsible for games like Watch Dogs Legion.

Crooks says NetEase has given his studio "an abundance of support and creative freedom", and that Bad Brain's first game will "truly free [their] brains". For NetEase's part, investments and partnerships president Simon Zhu says Bad Brain represents NetEase's commitment to "nurturing top-tier talent in Canada". 

We'll have to wait and see what Bad Brain's first game looks like, but one thing's for sure: this is far from the first NetEase studio established by industry veterans. The Chinese gaming giant has seen new studios built by ex-Capcom and Sega staffers, and it's also got its fingers in pies elsewhere in the industry thanks to its ownership of studios like Quantic Dream and Grasshopper Manufacture.


Stay tuned for more news on Bad Brain's inaugural project. The chances are it's a little ways off from being fully announced, although we might hear something during one of the upcoming major summer gaming events. Either way, we'll bring you more on Bad Brain and NetEase as soon as we get it.

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