Today, independent Bay Area game developer, Ascendant Studios, announced its formation and has secured initial funding to create pioneering, original games and content. Founded by Bret Robbins, former Creative Director of Call of Duty, the studio is comprised of industry veterans from prominent developers, with a shared conviction to create expansive, triple-A games of the highest quality.
A 20+ year veteran of game development, Robbins’ career has spanned multiple creative leadership roles for high profile hit games. Robbins most recently served as Senior Creative Director for the globally revered Call of Duty franchise. His resume includes the BAFTA ‘Best Action Game’ nominated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, VES (Visual Effects Society) Award winner, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and NAVGTR Award-winning Call of Duty: WW2, which surpassed $1 billion in global sales.
Prior to his time at Activision, Robbins served a seven-year tenure at EA, holding senior creative roles on blockbuster hits including The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which was honored with the International Press Academy Satellite Award for Best Art Direction, and IGN’s ‘Best Action Game’ in their ‘Best of E3’ awards. Robbins earned a BAFTA nomination during this time, as the Creative Director for the acclaimed survival horror title, Dead Space, which went on to be honored as ‘Action Game of the Year’ at the 12th annual DICE Awards. As Founder and CEO of Ascendant Studios, Robbins combines the principles of triple-A game design with the possibilities of an independent studio, to extend the entertainment, action, and emotional impact of innovative game development.
“This is a dream I’ve had for years, and I’m so excited to finally have the opportunity to start a brand new studio,” stated Founder and CEO of Ascendant Studios, Bret Robbins. “Our focus is on making high quality, original games. We are in a rare position where we have the freedom to do things the right way without outside pressure and make something that is truly new and exciting. The team we are assembling is fantastic and already feels like a family.”
Joining Robbins in this venture, the Ascendant Studios founding team consists of top creative talent, that has contributed to some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game franchises of all times, including Call of Duty, The Walking Dead, and Dead Space. Each member of the leadership team has more than a decade of industry experience, representing cinematic, technical, design, art, and storytelling disciplines.
Ascendant Studios is backed by noted entrepreneur and philanthropist, Brian Sheth. Sheth is the Co-Founder and President of Vista Equity Partners, the top U.S. private equity software investor of the past decade. Vista’s portfolio, with over 60,000 employees and more than $14 billion in revenue, ranks as the fourth-largest enterprise software company in the world. A first generation Indian American, and Forbes ‘40 Under 40’ inductee, Sheth is also an avid investor for innovative entertainment companies and is among the world’s top funders of conservation impact philanthropy.
“I’m thrilled to have our initial investment backed by Brian, who has been so supportive of the team and has a history of supporting founders and CEOs with vision,” said Robbins. “He brings a huge amount of experience, best practices, and leadership to us. He has given us the creative freedom to make games that we think players will love. He clearly wants to build and empower a winning team and deliver innovative content to a global audience.”
Located in San Rafael, CA, the Ascendant Studios team is currently at work on a wholly original, triple-A game, that harnesses the creative heft, narrative skills, and action/shooter expertise of its seasoned team. The company is also actively hiring across art, engineering, and animation functions.