Indie Games Showcase: Psyonix
Having been around since the turn of the millennium, Psyonix is a company that began life working on internet and multimedia software before transitioning into game development. And in that transition, the indie studio soon struck up an affinity with the combat racing genre; a fondness that would go on to inform much of its original work.
Psyonix opened its door officially back in 2000, when the team cut their teeth in the industry as an outsourcing studio. But after engineering the successful Onslaught Mode for Unreal Tournament 2004, among other high-profile licensed work, the San Diego-based company soon left the nest to work on its own IP. Jeremy Dunham, Marketing and Communications Director at the studio, recounts Psyonix’s humble beginnings.
“Studio founder and President, Dave Hagewood, originally owned a successful web hosting company for several years but his real passion was game development. In 2003, Dave made his move to Raleigh, North Carolina with a single, all-important philosophy: to build video games ‘design first’ using previously-existing outsourced technology — or more specifically in our case, using the Unreal Engine. We spent several years building and expanding our relationship with nearby Epic Games, while learning every nook and cranny of the Unreal Engine. Then, in 2009, we moved the entire studio from North Carolina to our permanent home in San Diego, California. Been here ever since!”
But what’s in a name? For Psyonix, the cerebral moniker stemmed from Dave Hagewood’s fascination with the concept of intelligence and the innate powers of the human mind. Fast forward to the present day and you have a studio that wears its interest with psionics proudly on its proverbial sleeve, albeit with a stylized twist.
Meet the Team
Currently, the Senior Team at Psynoix consists of:
Dave Hagewood — Founder/ President/ Studio Director
Corey Davis — Design Director
Jeremy Dunham — Marketing and Communications Director
Jerad Heck — Tech Director
Sarah Hebbler — Project Manager
Thomas Silloway — Project Lead, Rocket League
Eric Majka — Lead Artist
Bobby McCoin — Lead Environment Artist
Nathan Cameron — Senior Animator
Psyonix’s Games Gallery
Upcoming Games Highlight
Hot on the heels of shepherding free-to-play shooter Nosgoth into open beta, Psyonix has shifted gears to double down on PlayStation 4-exclusive Rocket League. Here are a few things Jeremy had to share about the sequel, including what inspired development in the first place.
“Without a doubt, our fans! They have stuck with Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars for nearly seven years, and we thought it was time to give them an updated version of the game they loved we play and we loved to make. We’re a bigger, better, more experienced studio now than we were when we made the first game and we want to bring that improvement to Rocket League to make existing fans happy and encourage new people to play at the same time. The entire existence of Rocket League and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars was based on an experiment. We knew we wanted to do our own vehicle-based game next but we weren’t specifically developing a “Soccer + Cars” type of game. One day for hell of it, one of our level designers just dropped a soccer ball into the play space and we had that “Ah ha!” moment that lead to the creation of what is now about to become an official franchise. But that’s game development; inspiration and fun don’t always come from the places you originally go looking for them.”
A huge thanks to Jeremy Dunham of Psyonix for providing us with the information found in this feature. To keep up with development on Rocket League and Nosgoth, you can follow the studio on Twitter @PsyonixStudios.