ProbablyMonsters™ Inc., a developer of industry-defining video game studios and interactive entertainment, announced its formation under the leadership of CEO and founder, Harold Ryan, offering a new business model for games focused on creating world-class development studios and original entertainment. The privately held company, which has been operating in stealth mode since 2016, today revealed its first two ProbablyMonsters development studios, Cauldron Studios™ and Firewalk Studios™. Led by top industry talent hand-selected by Ryan, each studio is working on an original AAA game that has been signed by a leading publisher.
ProbablyMonsters is a new category of game company for the next generation of gaming, neither a traditional developer nor a publisher. Instead, it creates and sustains independently operated development studios, each specifically formed to develop hit entertainment franchises in genres they are passionate about. Under Ryan’s leadership, the ProbablyMonsters team is establishing a strong foundation built on successfully leading multiple AAA games while establishing a positive creative culture, starting with studio formation, culture, people development, creative development, funding, staffing, administrative, and technical needs.
With over 20 years of industry achievements, Ryan has been responsible for generating over $5 billion revenue through blockbuster franchises such as Halo, Destiny, Age of Empires, and MechWarrior. He has held distinguished roles including CEO and President of Bungie as well as key positions at Microsoft and with Ensemble Studios and FASA Studios. Ryan negotiated Bungie’s divestiture from Microsoft in 2007 and demonstrated the company’s vision as a leading independent game developer while securing over a billion dollars in funding and forging strategic partnerships with Activision, Sony, and Microsoft. He is known for creating exceptional and highly creative results—both critically and commercially—with efficient teams, clear goals, and an atmosphere of respect and transparency.
“As we enter a new generation of gaming, the industry needs a better model for building AAA studios where game developers can reliably turn their creative vision and effort into exceptional experiences that delight players,” said Harold Ryan, CEO and founder of ProbablyMonsters. “Our mission at ProbablyMonsters is to unite, guide, and empower talented game developers in a stable and predictable business environment that respects people, culture, and creativity.”
ProbablyMonsters has assembled an exceptional team of leaders, including Lonnye Bower, COO, an engineering leader experienced in large scale projects who was formerly Worldwide Technical Lead at Microsoft. Fiscal management and strategic planning expertise is provided by Douglas Kikendall, CFO, formerly CFO at TheTVDB.com and Oak Harbor Capital. HR and recruiting is overseen by Shannon Armstrong, Chief People Office, an HR leader with over 20 years of experience who was formerly Senior Recruiting Manager at Amazon.
Firewalk Studios is headed by Tony Hsu, previously SVP and General Manager of the Destiny Business Unit at Activision Publishing. Hsu is a champion of new gaming IP and has extensive gaming and strategy experience including the massive launches of Destiny and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Firewalk’s Game Director is Ryan Ellis, formerly Creative Director at Bungie and Lead Artist at Oddworld Inhabitants.
Cauldron Studios is headed by Dave Matthews, who has over 20 years of experience managing AAA teams while helping build franchises like God of War and Myst. Matthews was formerly Lead Character Artist at Sony Computer Entertainment of America and Art Director at Bungie and WB Games. Game Director for Cauldron Studios is CJ Cowan, who was previously the Story Lead for Destiny’s House of Wolves and Taken King releases, and Bungie’s Director of Cinematics for the bulk of their Halo titles.
ProbablyMonsters, located in scenic Issaquah, Washington, is committed to building a positive creative culture where game developers can thrive while creating and shipping original AAA games. In July 2019, ProbablyMonsters closed a private $18.8 million Series A round led by Jerry Jones, Owner/President/General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, and John Goff, Founder and Chairman of Crescent Real Estate and Goff Capital; Luther King Capital Management affiliates; gaming executive and venture capitalist David Oxford; among other private investors, to fund its ongoing growth. More details on ProbablyMonsters and the ProbablyMonsters studios will be shared in coming months.
Follow ProbablyMonsters on Twitter at @prblyMONSTERS.
About ProbablyMonsters Inc.
ProbablyMonsters Inc. was founded in 2016 by former Bungie President and CEO, Harold Ryan. ProbablyMonsters exists to build the next generation of video game studios where developers can build careers in a positive environment, and reliably turn their creative vision and effort into exceptional experiences. Located in Issaquah, Washington, the company has a strong cast of experienced, innovative game development leaders with a record of launching successful AAA games. ProbablyMonsters’ mission is to unite, guide and empower talented game developers in a stable and predictable business environment. ProbablyMonsters has announced the formation of its first two independently owned and operated development studios, Firewalk Studios, LLC and Cauldron Studios, LLC. Each studio is developing its own inaugural AAA game project via separate, signed deals with major publishers. For more information, visit probablymonsters.com.