Today it was revealed that Amazon Game Studios has yet again recruited another experienced developer to its ever-growing team. The new recruit? Craig Sullivan, former Need for Speed creative director.
The news comes via Games Industry, who revealed that Sullivan has traded in his position as creative director at Ghost Games — a EA-owned studio who you may recognize for the most recent entries in the relatively iconic Need for Speed series — to take up the same role, but with Amazon and its new studio. Prior to Ghost Games, Sullivan notably worked at Criterion and contributed to the popular Burnout series.
As to why the change, Sullivan simply says it “was the right time.” Sullivan continues talking about the same subject:
“New adventures, new creative challenges and a chance to be part of building something huge at Amazon Game Studios with a new team was just too tempting a prospect to pass on. Seeing something as familiar as Amazon from the inside is pretty mind blowing in terms of sheer scale, diversity and possibilities for the future.”
Sullivan adds that the talent Amazon possess is “one of the big things that drew me to the company.” The creative director couldn’t reveal what he was working on — obviously — but he did share the following:
“I can’t talk about the projects I’ll be working on yet, but you can see from Need for Speed, Burnout and Black that I love to work on games that are fun, focused and high quality. I have learnt so much making those games throughout my 22-year career that I can offer experience where it is needed but also push us towards innovation and new excitement.”
As you may have noticed, Amazon Game Studios has been sucking-in high-profile developers right-and-left since it was formed in 2014. Such recruits have included Portal creator Kim Swift, Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking (though both of these two have since left), as well as former EA chief creative officer Rich Hilleman and Louis Castle, co-found of Command & Conquer creator: Westwood Studios.
However, despite all these acquisitions — and despite being Amazon — Amazon Game studios hasn’t really made any substantial splash since it announced its plans to get into the industry. At TwitchCon 2016 (it owns Twitch), Amazon announced the team’s first three non-mobile of Fire TV projects, which included: 12-player battle royale action title Crucible, team-based brawler Breakaway, and massively multiplayer sandbox title New World. Whether or not Sullivan is working on any of these projects — which have all been light on details since their announcements — is unknown.
Despite the relative quiet arrival onto the scene, Sullivan is confident that the new projects — alongside the advantages of Twitch, Lumberyard, and Amazon’s power and influence itself — will soon showcase the mega corporation’s ambition to dig out a home within this industry. Sullivan specifically says:
“Amazon is known for its customer obsession and focus throughout its business, and that pairs very well with my values on making great games for our players. They honestly do talk the talk and walk the walk. I’ve already been in meetings and design sessions where the focus on customer and player satisfaction is crystal clear and consistent. This company is committed to making great games for players and staying true to that is our highest priority.
“I’ve found myself saying quite a bit recently, sometimes out of surprise and always with a big smile on my face: Amazon is not messing about.”
Personally, I love the idea of Amazon in the industry, as I think it can only lead to good things for the industry as a whole, and for gamers. But we will see, because as always, only time will tell.