Jeff Gardiner and other veterans from Bethesda Game Studios and Obsidian Entertainment have started Something Wicked Games to make an open-world role-playing game. The team raised $13.2 million to make Wyrdsong, a “preternatural” open-world role-playing game with triple-A values.

Gardiner revealed the company at Geoff Keighley’s Opening Night Live event. Chinese game publisher NetEase provided the funding.

It’s been a very amazing experience to be at Bethesda on multiple levels. Some of my best lifelong friends are there, including Todd Howard, and I made the difficult decision after a long, dark winter of COVID. The timing was fortuitous because Microsoft had just acquired us. I took some time off to kick tires, and I got a ping from an old friend of mine.

Jeff Gardiner

The studio is globally dispersed, with creative and leadership talent from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, The Outer Worlds, and more. The first game, an open-world preternatural RPG, Wyrdsong, is currently developing. The announcement was coupled with an animatic teaser trailer.

Wyrdsong is an occult historical fantasy RPG set in a fictionalized Portugal in the middle ages. Players will have to question their reality and choices as Wyrdsong is set to expand, question, and redefine aspects of the current RPG genre.

Gardiner said that he chose NetEase as a backer partly because the company promised independence to Something Wicked Games. In fact, Gardiner said the company trusts his studio and has not set any development milestones to get the next tranche of money.

We are honored to have received that from them, with no real milestones or deadlines. They understand that we’re professionals and we know how to make games and that the best results are when a team internally sets those milestones and goals and puts out a product.

Jeff Gardiner

Something Wicked Games is fully remote and hiring across all positions. Currently staffed with 12 full-time developers, the studio hopes to achieve a full roster between 65 to 70 as development continues to ramp up.

Side note: InvestGame report on gaming industry revenues in the first half of 2022.