New indie studio Summerfall Studios ‘will crush your dreams and tear out your heart… in the very best way’ says founders David Gaider and Liam Esler

Former BioWare writer David Gaider has teamed up with former Beamdog developer Liam Esler to co-found Summerfall Studios, a new indie studio in Australia.

Gaider – who had a prolific writing career for BioWare on franchises such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, and Dragon Age for more than 17 years – joined Beamdog in February 2016 after departing BioWare in late January that same year. He joined the Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition developer as creative director.

Partner Esler also worked at Beamdog between 2013 and 2016 and will server the new studio as managing director, whilst Elie Young joins the team as executive producer and Benjamin Ee takes the position of art director. It’s thought the studio launched back October 2018 but has only just gone public ahead of a big reveal coming next month.

The company’s new Twitter account describes the venture as “a new character and narrative-driven game development studio”. Details of its first project will be announced on Kickstarter at PAX Australia next month.

“Helmed by David Gaider and Liam Esler, Summerfall Studios will crush your dreams and tear out your heart… in the very best way,” the studio’s new website says.

“We’d actually each been thinking of starting a new studio independently,” Gaider told Kotaku Australia over email. “I’d spoken about it a bit to friends, talking about what sorts of projects I’d want to make and the kind of studio I’d want to run, but I felt like it was something I couldn’t do alone.

“From my perspective I’d really come to love how tightly-knit and supportive [the Australian] community was over several visits,” Gaider said, reflecting on why the pair had chosen to be based in Australia. “There could certainly have been advantages to starting the studio in Canada instead, but both of us really wanted to have it based here, where we know the people and the depth of the talent pool. I’ll still be based in Canada for a while, so technically it’ll be a cross-Pacific production even if most of the work will be getting done here in Melbourne.”

“I work with David to craft compelling experiences that you just can’t forget about, and make sure we can create those experiences in a sustainable, caring way,” Esler added. “The increase of government support in almost all states has been a big sign of confidence, and hopefully means we’ll see more and more investment in Australia. A healthy ecosystem would have everything from small indies to a couple of bigger studios, we just need to make sure everything is sustainable along the way.”

Image credit: Via Kotaku Australia

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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