Xbox Veteran Forms a New AAA Studio Jar Of Sparks

The new studio will focus on creating "a new generation of narrative-driven action games."

On Monday, Chinese game giant NetEase announced the formation of its new first-party studio called Jar Of Sparks. The new AAA studio will be led by the former head of design on Halo Infinite, Jerry Hook, who is also known as one of the architects who helped launch the original Xbox.

The studio brought together several games industry veterans from id Software, Rocksteady, and 343 Industries. Apart from Jerry Hook, its founding members include Creative Director Paul Crocker who served as Lead Narrative Director on the Batman: Arkham trilogy, Executive Producer Greg Stone, who worked as a producer on 2016's DOOM and Halo Infinite, and Gameplay Director Steve Dyck who was one of the creators of the Halo, SSX, and NBA Street franchises.

According to NetEase, Jar of Sparks will "enjoy full creative freedom" as part of the company and will focus on creating "a new generation of narrative-driven action games, with immersive worlds."

Although the studio was founded by NetEase, Jar Of Sparks will be headquartered in Seattle. According to Hook, the Chinese partner agreed to all the conditions of his team. In particular, NetEase said they are ready to take the risks associated with the studio's plans to create experimental and innovative games.

At the moment, the studio is forming its core team. Jerry Hook estimates that Jar Of Sparks will release its first title in 2025-2026. The director has not yet shared any details about the upcoming game except the fact that it won't be a live-service game.

"Live service adds more complexity on top of that and I really think from my own experience for service driven games, the amount of work you need to do to make a live service work is pretty tremendous," Hook said in an interview with IGN. "And I think the first game that Jar Sparks is going to go do isn't going to have that component to allow the team to flourish first and be able to put their creative energy first without having to worry about the continual pressure of server driven models."

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