Wargaming and Riot Games veterans Jerry Prochazka and Lynn Stetson have created Ganymede Games, a new independent studio based in Las Cruces, New Mexico that will focus on creating "games that are easy to get into, and easy to get out of".
Stetson and Prochazka both leave senior positions in Wargaming, the former of which served as head of global user experience since 2017, while Prochazka served as head of third party publishing. Before then, Prochazka was chief people office at Riot between 2012 and 2015, whilst Stetson was head of user experience at the same studio from 2011-2015. Together with Rob Thompson – who also worked for both Riot and Wargaming – the team is now gearing up on talent acquisition, which it hopes will expand to 50+ new jobs in the next five years.
According to Variety, the founders selected Las Cruces as a base due to New Mexico’s Refundable Film Production Tax Credit, which offers a 25 per cent tax refund for companies in the film, TV, and video games industries. It’s also reported that the state and city will also provide funding of $350,000 in order to support economic growth in the area, with New Mexico’s economic development secretary Alicia Keyes reporting that the city expects Ganymede to invest around $1.3 million into the local economy whilst building the new HQ.
"It’s a good time to create new experiences because players are asking for that," said Prochazka. "We want to make games that are easy to get into, and easy to get out of. We have busy lives, so we want short gaming sessions while still having lots of fun. A lot of big companies have investor pressure to generate predictable revenue. That pressure narrows their focus to continue making known games and take less risk. It’s a good time to go out on your own and provide new experiences, and that’s what we want to do."
"The other unique opportunity we have is that Mexican nationals so close allows us to expand our talent funnel, and that’s proven to be good, too. There are a lot of good networks in El Paso and Juarez," he added. "We visited NMSU (New Mexico State University), New Mexico Tech, the Dona Ana Community College, and we expect to recruit out of these New Mexico colleges."