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Former Call of Duty designer leads new NetEase studio BulletFarm

Another US-based venture for the Chinese giant
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NetEase Games announced the foundation of BulletFarm, a new development studio based in Los Angeles, California. Described as a remote-first triple-A game studio, BulletFarm is led by David Vonderhaar, a former member of Treyarch and mostly known for his work on the Call of Duty Black Ops series, for which he chiefly designed the multiplayer systems.

BulletFarm’s first project is a first-person triple-A game built in Unreal Engine 5 and focusing on co-op gameplay – a trend we should see come to fruition in a few years in the form of a flood of titles emphasizing cooperative elements.

BulletFarm logo on top of artwork showing a farm.

BulletFarm joins NetEase Games' growing array of studios.

Chris Cowell, another Black Ops veteran, has joined the studio as creative director, but many other roles are still open – which is great timing, since the widespread layoffs in the games industry such as at Microsoft, Riot Games, and Sony have left a massive number of talented workers jobless. BulletFarm could not only give these developers a new home, but greatly benefit from the brain drain happening at other companies.

“Starting this new studio has given me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at making something entirely new and different,” commented Vonderhaar. “This is a departure from the games I’ve worked on, but one that showcases my passion for rich characters, precise mechanics, more intimate storytelling, and plenty of action. NetEase has provided us an incredible support structure to explore these new avenues and allow true freedom to begin building the concept and ideas for our game.”

NetEase Games’ Simon Zhu added: “NetEase Games is fully dedicated to giving BulletFarm the resources and support required to build this new first person experience. David’s leadership and the early collection of game development talent assembled at the studio is set to offer something truly unique for his existing fans along with a new audience.”

The Chinese gaming giant owns several studios worldwide and has investments in many more. Last year, it founded Worlds Untold based in Canada. Due to the instability of the gaming industry in China, the company seeks to spread itself globally to attain more security for itself in case the situation at homes turns sour when it comes to more restrictions on the industry stifling its creative and commercial potential.