Despite the acquisition of multiple studios such as the team behind Oxenfree throughout 2021 and 2022, as well as the hiring of former Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu, Netflix has been fairly quiet on its expansion into videogames since it announced its plans to do so. That looks set to change with the latest announcement of a project in the works and its creative director, however.
After only recently declaring his departure from Microsoft after a nine-year tenure, Halo Infinite’s head of creative Joseph Staten today that his next project will be a “brand-new AAA multiplatform game” as part of an original IP with Netflix Games.
“In my work life, there’s nothing I love more than collaborating with others to build words filled with iconic characters, deep mysteries and endless adventures,” Staten’s announcement read. “So today, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined Netflix Games as Creative Director for a brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP.”
The majority of Netflix Game’s previous efforts have involved the release of mobile titles in the Netflix app, producing games based on original Netflix series such as The Queen’s Gambit, acclaimed projects such as Townsmen – A Kingdom Rebuilt ported to the platform, or indies like Moonlighter. It’s allowed the streaming giant to build up a catalog of games for its subscriber base, but data gathered in August of last year suggested less than one percent of those subscribers were engaging with the platform’s videogame offerings.
The announcement that Joseph Staten would be joining the company, as well as his role working on an upcoming multiplatform AAA project, suggests that Netflix’s gaming plans might be about to gather new steam. With multiple studios under its wing and games in development at each, there’s potential to see Netflix Games start to announce bigger projects over the coming year with a greater potential to draw in an audience.
Joseph Staten is best known for his work on the Halo franchise but dipped his hands into a number of other Microsoft projects during his time there from 2014 onwards. In his former job at Bungie, Staten developed both cinematics and mission scripts for Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3. He also contributed to the writing efforts on titles such as Halo 3: ODST and Destiny, before eventually leaving Bungie to pursue his career with Microsoft Studios as a senior creative director.
While the project he’ll be working on with Netflix Games remains unannounced, Staten’s rich portfolio of successful videogames is no doubt a key part of why Netflix has chosen him to head up this new venture for the streaming platform.