Halo’s former creative director is leading a new studio that is already working on a big-budget, multiplatform game.
Twin Suns Corp., founded by Tim Longo, Jr. and two veterans of AAA development — Hitman 3’s executive producer, Forest Swartout Large, and Jeff Morris, a Gears of War producer — expect to bring on 15 more seasoned developers this summer to help the studio build “an exciting new IP franchise,” according to a statement.
“I think we’re pulling upon aspects of what we’ve done in the past that people will like and want to play more of,” Longo told Polygon. “But we’re adding in some new things, some fresh things that probably won’t be expected from us. We’re taking some of the best aspects of things we’ve done in the past. Maybe there’s some science fiction […] but then we’re kind of setting things in a context that will be, I think, pretty different and fresh.”
Longo’s resume stretches more than 25 years, with time at LucasArts, Crystal Dynamics, and then 343 Industries, leading production of Star Wars, Tomb Raider, and Halo video games. He was until August 2019 the creative director for Halo Infinite, coming sometime in the second half of this year.
Large likewise has two decades of experience in games development, most recently as executive producer with IO Interactive for Hitman 3. Morris served tours with LucasArts, Crystal Dynamics, and Epic Games, where he was a producer for Unreal Tournament and the first Gears of War title. Longo has worked with both Large and Morris in the past.
“Original IP is actually pretty sought after right now,” Longo said. “There’s definitely hit-driven franchises that people like returning to, Call of Duty, or whatever. However, what we’ve seen […] is that original IPs are actually trending, as far as interest in investment right now. And that’s a strategy that we were, to be honest, a little surprised by as we were starting to fund-raise. It was a happy surprise to us, because that’s what we were most interested in.”
Twin Suns Corp. begins life with backing from Hiro Capital, a London-based investment company targeting video games, esports, and streaming ventures. One of that firm’s founders is Ian Livingstone, who started Games Workshop and was president of Eidos Interactive.
“We actually have two different original IPs that we’re working on already,” Longo told Polygon. “But one of them is the focus, and that one, that’s the focus, which we pitched to [Hiro] that essentially got us our start.”
Despite the combined experience of his partners, and the financial endorsement from Hiro, Longo lightheartedly admitted that embarking on a new game is a “terrifying” thing.
“I mean, we’re placing bets on our own ideas, and our own thoughts, right?” Longo said. “I think anyone that says otherwise is crazy, but it’s terrifying, you know? Because we are all used to the flip side, of working for those big companies — there’s definitely tumultuous times at those companies, but there’s also stability. There’s backing, and big franchises like Star Wars. Star Wars should do OK, right? But here, we want to create the next Star Wars. So it’s like, if you think long term, and think big, that’s a terrifying proposition.”