NetEase launches its first US-based studio, led by former Daybreak Games chief

Yes, it's a jackalope
(Image credit: Found Image Holdings Inc (Getty Images))

Chinese tech conglomerate NetEase isn't quite as well known to Western gamers as, say, Tencent, but it's a major player by any measure, providing a range of online services and ranking among the top online game companies in the world. It may be best known in North America for partnering with Blizzard to operate Chinese versions of games including World of Warcraft and Overwatch, but that could soon change.

NetEase announced the launch of its first US-based studio today, Jackalope Games, headed up by Jack Emmert, formerly of Cryptic Studios and Daybreak Game Company. Jackalope's debut project hasn't been revealed yet—NetEase said only that it "will be creating new and exciting PC and console games"—but Emmert's history makes an MMO a good bet. His previous credits include City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and DC Universe Online.

"NetEase Games is the best possible place for me and my team to thrive," Emmert said. "We share the same passion—to create engaging online universes for gamers worldwide. NetEase Games is providing the support and resources needed to build a great studio and great games."

Jackalope is a first-party studio but will "operate independently and maintain creative autonomy," NetEase said. The immediate question is whether Emmert's new game at Jackalope has anything to do with the Marvel MMO that he was heading up at Dimensional Ink, the Daybreak studio he was at prior to this new venture. 

The "unannounced project" spot is still present on Dimensional Ink's website, so it's possible that he left it all behind to move on to this new venture—I've reached out to NetEase for more information, and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.