Amazon is serious about gaming, hires Portal and Far Cry designers

Retailer hires Kim Swift and Clint Hocking to join its Amazon Game Studios.

Amazon has hired Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking, putting the industry veterans to work at the retailer's newly established Amazon Game Studios. The two developers confirmed their moves to Amazon via their LinkedIn profiles. Kotaku also reported the news today, citing sources.

Swift is most well known for helping create the acclaimed puzzle-action game Portal and most recently worked at Airtight Games on the Ouya-exclusive Soul Fjord. She takes up the position of senior designer at Amazon. Hocking is a journeyman of sorts, spending time with big-name studios like Ubisoft, LucasArts, and Valve. He's now working at Amazon as a senior game designer.

We don't know what Swift and Hocking are working on at Amazon, but their arrival at the company hammers home the point that Amazon is serious about gaming. Last year, Halo writer Erik Nylund joined Amazon as its director of narrative design.

Earlier today, Amazon announced the Amazon Fire TV device, a set-top streaming box that plays movies and TV, as well as video games. Amazon even created a special controller for the box. Amazon also recently purchased an entire studio--Double Helix Games--though it's not clear what that company is working on.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

84 comments
Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

I think Amazon's just wasting their moneys on all these (mediocre) guys.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Since they have a director of narrative design (who just happens to be my namesake :D) I guess they're not exclusively gonna make games with no story whatsoever. I've never bought anything from Amazon, but maybe this will change if they make a good game for PC.

PSYCHOV3N0M
PSYCHOV3N0M

Ahh I can see it now...

Optimus Prime along with the Autobots AND Decepticons must all team up in order to stop an even bigger threat to them all:

AMAZON PRIME!!! (Rated M for Mature)

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

"Wow! Have you seen that new game. Looks totally sweet. Made by Amazon........." anyone else find that a weird idea? You know those developers that are "serious" about gaming will be working on some shitty mobile games that can only be played on the Fire Console/Not Console console.

playmynutz
playmynutz

Amazon Game Studio? Word! Lets see what kind of software they cooking

berserker66666
berserker66666

I think I can hear Facebook knocking on Amazon's door.

DrKill09
DrKill09

"Amazon is serious about gaming" "It's absolutely not a game console"


MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Is there really room for this?

deltron77
deltron77

im not sure why amazon would bother with this (rhetorical). i really dont see it doing well.

lipote
lipote

I'm tired of big non-gaming related companies poking their noses into affairs that don't concern them. It's clear that amazon aren't in this for the gaming popularity, but for the obvious £££. They have no clout in the gaming industry, they have to stay out of it, otherwise the gaming industry will slowly take the direction of music, where creativity is dead, and it's all about money making. It sickens me to see these things, why can't there be a clear distinction between companies that deal with A and companies that deal with C. Facebook want in, Amazon want in, soon Ebay will have theirs, the perhaps Twitter, and Ryanair. Give it a break already.

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

so this will be the new master race then........

it has begun

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

And they were never heard from again

gs_are_paid
gs_are_paid

The FPS game that should be their system seller actually reminds me of Battleship (the video game) which was nominated as one of the worst games of 2012 by some reviewers. So what Amazon seems to be offering is a bad gaming device with very bad games. It will probably fit the casual people just right, along with games such as Farmville ^^

sortajan
sortajan

sure, why the fuck not. benefit of the doubt and whatnot. worst case scenario they quit and we all pretend it never happened.

pyro1245
pyro1245

well hey now. get some, Amazon.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Tbh,chromeboxes look more tempting, amazon requires a credit card to DL apps, even free ones, I prefer stock android with Google play

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

This thing has the same specs as my nexus 7 2013, gaming on it will be a chore, of it had a s.dragon 805 and 4 gigs of ram I'd be tempted

soupormanjbl
soupormanjbl

I've never cared about either of those games.

nesky
nesky

So Amazon is serious about making games/console that no serious gamer will buy. Is that about right? I don't know... I just don't see anyone turning off GTA5 or Souls 2 (or a 3DS, or a Vita, or an actual PC...) to go play with Firecrotch. But hey, I've been wrong many a time. Maybe I am now too~

ziproy
ziproy

Well now we know why Facebook bout out the Oculus Rift.....

juboner
juboner

Looks like the way to go this gen is PC + Fire tv.

I think they are trying to appeal to the casual wii crowd who are not buying the wii U.

gf61
gf61

@lipote To prevent another crash the industry needs a universal terms of business. Until then outsiders looking to make a quick buck at any cost will always happen. Nothing Amazon is currently doing threatens the industry, their machine is directed towards casuals. Like it or not casuals are a big group inside the larger definition of a gamer.

pcty
pcty

@lipote All companies are in for the money.

cheeckybit
cheeckybit

@soupormanjbl Instead you care because you had to post an useless clueless comment here on this article blabbering non sense. You're another of those "geniuses" who think "I didn't like these games so they are shit", this is your way of thinking. We don't care for your useless opinion, so next time just shut up. This is also for the "genius" who liked your comment. Those games are great games despite your stupid biased opinion. Said this I think that this amazon thing won't go very well.

Barighm
Barighm

@eli2333 Amazon is going about this the right way though. Instead of doing what the Ouya did and saying "Please develop for us! We'll take any game. Give us ports if you can't give us exclusives!", Amazon is saying "We got nothing, so let's hire some proven guys to make our games for us, then give the ability to design for controllers for AAA titles so we're not limited to crappy mobile games".

iamllamapie
iamllamapie

@eli2333  It said 43 people had voted. I didn't know only a handful of us were left alive.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Ripper_TV @Hurvlbetter than what most casual games have and that's what Android games are usually like.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

@Ripper_TV @b74kd3th  it has a s4 pro and 2 gigs of ram, same as my nexus 7

tomservo51
tomservo51

@Barighm @eli2333  Amazon can leverage all the media content they have to offer as well. Ouya is officially dead imo.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@tomservo51 @Barighm@eli2333 I have to agree and I was in the Kickstarter and have one.  I've tried to use it but I can't get that "why bother" feeling out of my mind.