Sledgehammer Founder Michael Condrey's New Studio is 31st Union, and It's Working on Something Big for 2K

Sledgehammer Founder Michael Condrey's New Studio is 31st Union, and It's Working on Something Big for 2K

"This is the most ambitious project I've ever been a part of," Condrey says.

Last year, Take-Two announced that Michael Condrey, known for his work on Visceral's Dead Space and at Sledgehammer Games on the Call of Duty series, would head a new 2K studio based in Silicon Valley. Today, 2K and Condrey announced a new name for the studio, the formation of a new office in Spain, and teased that the studio's first game is "the most ambitious project" Condrey has worked on to-date.

Speaking with our sister site GamesIndustry.biz, Condrey says the studio's new name, 31st Union, was chosen "represent the spirit of California" and the studio's Bay Area headquarters. Since its founding last February, 31st Union has grown to over 50 developers.

31st Union will continue to build up its team in the US and at its soon-to-open office in Spain. Condrey and 31st Union's head of talent Brooke Grabrian says opening a satellite studio aligns with the goal of building "a diverse and inclusive" team, and that expanding internationally will fuel "both the creative and production process." While details on the team's first project remain slim, we do know it's for a brand-new intellectual property. 31st's head of strategy Tyler Michaud says it's being developed with the potential to "transcend many avenues of entertainment media."

Condrey—who directed both Call of Duty: WW2 and Advanced Warfare—says 31st's project is in its early days, but is already shaping up to be his biggest yet:

We're still in preproduction, but this is the most ambitious project I've ever been a part of, and many opportunities are on the table to drive us forward[...] We started this adventure to take a moon-shot, and the team is impassioned to deliver an experience that thrills fans across the globe.

31st Union's rebranding and talk of its secretive IP comes shortly after a rough week for Take-Two Interactive. Ahead of its most recent quarterly earnings report, Take-Two announced Dan Houser's exit from Rockstar Games. After the report's release, Take-Two's stock price tumbled as CEO Strauss Zelnick fielded questions from investors about Rockstar's future and Take-Two's subdued release schedule for the coming fiscal year.

Zelnick emphasized that a year without "a frontline release" is not unusual for Take-Two given its expectations and investments for its bigger titles. 31st Union is not the only 2K-owned studio working on a project without a definite release window: Hangar 13, developers of 2016's Mafia 3, are at work on an unspecified triple-A project, and in December 2K revealed that its new studio Cloud Chamber will spend "the next several years" working on a BioShock title.

Header Image: Michael Condrey | Take-Two/2K Games.

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Mathew Olson

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Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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