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Wizards of the Coast unveils new studio, Skeleton Key, for new AAA video game project

Inside the Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Renton, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Renton, Wash.-based gaming company Wizards of the Coast opened a new studio in Austin, Texas, to create a new, high-budget video game.

The new studio, Skeleton Key, is headed by Christian Dailey, a 30-year veteran of the games industry with experience at THQ, Pandemic, and Electronic Arts.

Dailey recently left BioWare after a four-year stint as an executive producer, where he worked primarily on the Dragon Age series of open-ended computer role-playing games, including the forthcoming fourth installment. Dailey joins Wizards as a vice president and Head of Studio for Skeleton Key.

“I am excited to be starting this new adventure with the company that has created so many of my favorite toys and games growing up,” Dailey said in a press release. “We are looking forward to growing our studio team with more talented creators who share our passion.”

Wizards has only said that Skeleton Key’s debut project is a “new AAA video game,” with no details about its genre, setting, or intended audience. The “AAA” label typically means that the studio will enjoy significant funding and employ a large team of creatives; that in turn means that it’s unlikely there’ll be any more news from Skeleton Key for the foreseeable future, as AAA games can take several years to make.

“We are thrilled to continue to build our roster of exceptionally talented digital gaming leaders and welcome Christian to the team,” said Cynthia Williams, Wizards of the Coast president, in a release. “We will greatly benefit from the experience that this team and new studio bring to Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro.”

Skeleton Key is Wizards of the Coast’s sixth video game studio in North America. It’s also not the first games development studio Wizards has opened in Austin with personnel from BioWare; Wizards previously founded Archetype Entertainment in 2019 with former BioWare creative director James Ohlen as its head and Drew Karpyshyn (Mass Effect) as lead writer.

Wizards’ other North American game development studios include Atomic Arcade in Raleigh, N.C., which was founded last year and is currently working on a G.I. Joe game starring the character Snake Eyes; Tuque Games (Dark Alliance) in Montreal; and two unnamed locations in Washington state.


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