Industrial Toys was created by three self-described and proven industry veterans: Alex Seropian (Bungie founder), Tim Harris (Seven Lights founder) and Brent Pease (Bungie San Jose). They came together in Pasadena, California, in February 2012, with a mission to create hardcore games for mobile, touchscreen devices.
Since then, Industrial Toys has picked up sci-fi writer John Scalzi to help build its worlds, Marvel's Mike Choi and DC's Phil Tan as artists (and to balance the company's comic zen), and a handful of "grizzled veterans and fresh, new talent," president Tim Harris told Joystiq at E3.
There are a total of 15 employees at Industrial Toys, split down the middle between those new to the industry and those who may have seen too much of it, Harris said.
If splitting an odd number of employees into two even groups seems like an improbable feat, know that it isn't the most ambitious of Industrial Toys' goals: By the end of the month, Seropian and Harris plan to release information about their first title, a sci-fi shooter with a world potentially as large as World of Warcraft's.
The mix of old and new within games, writing, and comics reflects the approach Industrial Toys is taking to mobile gaming, focused on innovation with both touchscreen controls and the integration of community features. It also reflects Harris' comic book roots. He runs a comic store in Chicago, and snagging Choi and Tan was a real treat for him.
"These are the guys you'd want an autograph from," Harris said.
As DC and Marvel men, Choi and Tan are used to dealing with existing IPs, at times drawing characters that have a 50-year history. With Industrial Toys, they have the opportunity to create entirely new characters, and they're currently working on concept art, final builds and in a few other areas at the studio, Harris said.
Scalzi, the author of Old Man's War and Redshirts, is helping with story elements and creating the game world – but, as his Industrial Toys introduction teases, his work "won't just manifest itself IN the game. There's so much more in store...."
Seropian, Harris and Pease didn't turn to Kickstarter or venture capitals to generate the funds for Industrial Toys; they raised the money themselves, and they did it well.
"You could probably characterize it as 'a lot of money' for mobile, and the intention in doing that was so we could innovate," Seropian said. "Part of what's attractive to me about mobile is that it's a place where you can make a game without spending $50-$100 million, without having 100 people and without having a funding force that controls the creative process."