JJ Abrams' production company Bad Robot has entered into a partnership with Chinese conglomerate Tencent to launch a new division called Bad Robot Games. The Hollywood Reporter said that Warner Bros. Interactive is also involved in the new company as a minority investor.
Bad Robot Games will employ in-house artists, writers, and designers who will develop both "large-scale and indie titles" in partnership with existing studios. It will be headed up by Dave Baronoff, who has been in charge of Bad Robot's "games and interactive content creation" since 2006, while Tim Keenan, the creator of the 2016 indie hit Duskers, will serve as creative director.
"I’m a massive games fan, and increasingly envious of the amazing tools developers get to work with, and the worlds they get to play in," Abrams said. "Now we are doubling down on our commitment to the space with a unique co-development approach to game making that allows us to focus on what we do best, and hopefully be a meaningful multiplier to our developer partners."
The report isn't clear on how the pieces come together, but my guess is that this represents a more serious and committed approach to game development that will supercede Bad Robot's previous interactive efforts. It was involved in the creation of the Pass Time mode for Team Fortress 2 a few years ago, and apparently it had something to do with a couple of Cloverfield ARGs.
The launch of the new division will also enable Tencent to continue its move into the Western gaming market in a big way, and will have exclusive distribution rights to all Bad Robot games released in Asia as well. Thus far, no new projects have been announced.