Christian Whitehead, the Lead Developer of Sonic Mania, has co-founded a new studio called Evening Star alongside four others, all of whom are also former Sonic Mania developers. The founding team includes CEO and Producer Dave Padilla, Art Director Tom Fry, Technical and Audio Director Hunter Bridges, and Design Director Brad Flick.
Whitehead announced all of this on Twitter, along with the fact that the studio is hiring. Specifically, the current jobs listed are environment artist and level designer. In addition to its founding members, the staff consists of General Artist Kieran Gates, Environment Artist Elora Pautrat, and General Artist Gareth West.
Technologically speaking, the studio will be using “the core technology and architecture behind Retro Engine[, which was used to make Sonic Mania,]” to make the Star Engine. This new engine builds on that retro foundation while expanding to “ope[n] the door to new technologies and optimizations from the contemporary vocabulary of game development.”
Below, you can find the studio’s official mission statement.
Evening Star is a boutique game studio founded in late 2018. Headquartered in Los Angeles, with operations in Melbourne and London, Evening Star’s mission is designing fresh, fun games which will stand the test of time.
For Evening Star, being a “boutique” game studio has a specific meaning. Every member pursues a goal to make their own great games. By encouraging strong technical foundations in every discipline, members are given a voice and latitude to impact games in unique ways. By reinvigorating gaming history’s more cunning techniques, the team boldly explores directions long since left behind. With that driving approach, and a proprietary engine and tool set, Evening Star has developed an innovative workflow which minimizes the barriers between ideas and execution.
Creating games that shine bright… Evening Star casts a light into the future.
Hopefully, this kind of autonomy among the team will lead to some inspired games.