Annapurna Pictures has decided to expand into the gaming industry. They have established an interactive division that will focus on producing and publishing video games called Annapurna Interactive.
Megan Ellison, founder and CEO, stated that she’s had a long passion for video games, citing Nintendo’s 1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as her all-time favorite. Her focus for Annaurna Interactive is to develop “personal, emotional, and original games” that will push the boundaries of interactive content.
The artistry and diversity of interactive storytelling is exciting, and we look forward to exploring the limitless possibilities in gaming. We want to empower artists across this medium to make Annapurna Interactive their home, and I believe we’ve assembled the perfect team to make that happen.
They are set to release two games in the spring of 2017.
The first is Jason Roberts’ Gorogoa, a hand illustrated puzzle game. The screen splits into a grid comprised of tiles, each acting as a window into the game’s world. The idea is to arrange the tiles, moving them next to or on top of each other. The player can also enter the tiles to affect the illustrated worlds within, with simple and joyful interactions. To move forward, the player not only has to arrange the composition of the tiles, but discover the connections between them. Currently Annapurna Interactive’s website lists this for PC and iOS.
The second game is What Remains of Edith Finch from Giant Sparrow, who’s first game was The Unfinished Swan in 2012. It is first person perspective, following Edith Finch as she researches her family history to find out why she is the last Finch alive. She discovers eccentric characters through the stories, ranging from the 1900’s through present day. Each story ends with a death, and together, aim to capture what it’s like to be “humbled and astonished by the vast and unknowable world around us.” What Remains of Edith Finch is listed for PlayStation 4 and PC.
They also plan on releasing games from other industry talents, including developer Funomena and creative director Keita Takahashi, the creator of the Katamari Damacy franchise and Mountain Games, led by Ken Wong, who was lead designer for the mobile puzzle app, Monument Valley.
Four executives have been hired specifically for Annapurna Interactive: Nathan Gary and Deborah Mars from Sony Computer Entertainment America’s PlayStation group; and Hector Sanchez, former producer at PlayStation and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; and Jeff Legaspi, previously with Santa Monica Studio. Together, the team’s credits include Journey, God of War, Mortal Kombat, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Flower, and Fat Princess.
The five-year-old Annapurna Pictures’ film credits include the recently released Sausage Party, Weiner-Dog, Zero Dark Thirty, 20th Century Women, and Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some. They are currently in post-production on Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s Untitled Detroit Project and is developing and adaptation of Maria Semple’s novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette.