Irrational Games (developer of the upcoming BioShock Infinite) co-founder Jon Chey has started up another game studio, focused on "more genre, nichey games," reports Gamasutra. The studio is called Blue Manchu, and it's funded entirely by Chey himself. The studio even has its first announced project: a flash-based fantasy collectible card game titled Card Hunter, that takes liberal cues from board games and MMOs.
"The best way to describe it is, imagine I take an MMO, but every time you fight a monster, instead of playing a timer game with pull downs and buttons that you click, you're playing a turn-based strategy game," said Chey. "You have little pieces on the board, and you play cards to move those pieces around, and that's the battle you fight.
"And at the end of the battle you win some treasure, which you then use to trick your characters like you do in an MMO, but those characters are actually pieces in the board game. So that's it in a nutshell."
The flash game is set for browsers, but might come as a downloadable client to iOS. That includes the iPad, which Chey calls "great" for those game types. It will offer competitive and cooperative multiplayer, and it will use a microtransaction model to sell vanity items. Unlike a traditional CCG, though, you won't be buying cards -- you win those by playing the game. It's set for release "in the next six months."
Chey wants this studio to be a middle-ground between one-man independent developers and larger teams. He cites that a handful of people could have a project in mind, and require some investment. "So that's the opportunity," he said. I"m sort of taking advantage here -- instead of taking my money for selling the company and buying a yacht, I'm buying the opportunity to make some games that probably wouldn't get made otherwise."