Gov. John Bel Edwards and video game development executive Jeff Strain announced the launch today of Possibility Space, a game development studio that will build large-scale video games for a global audience. Possibility Space becomes the latest addition to Louisiana’s growing interactive entertainment cluster, which includes inXile, a Microsoft Xbox Game Studio; High Voltage Software, part of Keywords Studios; Testronic and Turbosquid, all in New Orleans, and Electronic Arts in Baton Rouge.
“With the addition of the Possibility Space studio, Greater New Orleans can now legitimately stake a claim as one of the leading video game development hubs in America,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “The leader behind this project, Jeff Strain, is an industry legend, with titles like Guild War and State of Decay to his credit. When paired with the vision from his wife, Annie, it is clear that Possibility Space is aptly named.”
Possibility Space will create 75 new permanent jobs in Louisiana with an average annual salary of $100,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 90 new indirect jobs, for a total of 165 new jobs for New Orleans and the Southeast Region.
“The arrival of Possibility Space further secures our standing as a leader in interactive entertainment development, which continues to offer high-paying tech jobs for Louisiana residents,” Gov. Edwards said. “With an industry innovator such as Jeff Strain at the helm, this project could be a game-changer for video game development in Louisiana. We welcome Possibility Space as we continue to expand this exciting sector of our economy.”
Strain, the company’s founder and CEO, is recognized for creating and influencing some of the biggest online games in industry history. Strain was the lead programmer on one of the most popular video games of all time, World of Warcraft. He also created Seattle-based studios ArenaNet, which was acquired by NCsoft, and Undead Labs, which was acquired by Microsoft.
“After two decades of building successful video game studios, I’m delighted to be starting my next company at home in Louisiana,” Strain said. “We’re building relationships with our customers, and want to give them the best experience possible. We’re building relationships with our team members, and want to give them an environment that’s productive, safe and healthy. Equally important, we’re building relationships with our community, locally and statewide, and intend to be a permanent engine for Louisiana’s economic development and jobs. This great state has a joy and a strength to it that makes it the perfect place to both raise my family and build my business. I’m appreciative for the vision of the state Legislature and the governor as they work together to support emerging tech businesses like mine.”
While working as a programmer for Blizzard Entertainment on StarCraft and Diablo in the 1990s, Strain created the StarCraft campaign editor. He later served as the lead programmer and team lead on World of Warcraft after heading up the initial development. In 2000, Strain co-founded ArenaNet, and he was a programmer and the executive producer for the Guild Wars franchise. In 2009, Strain founded Undead Labs to create the definitive zombie survival-fantasy game. State of Decay launched in June of 2013 to critical and popular acclaim. The sequel State of Decay 2 has been played by more than 10 million gamers around the world. Undead Labs was acquired by Microsoft in 2018.
Possibility Space is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Program and Entertainment Job Creation Program incentives.