But while the game won’t be on sale until Tuesday, January 28, its early showings — and Typhoon’s ability to put it together in just three years — were impressive enough that in December Google acquired the studio to make games for its fledgling Stadia platform. Savage Planet was not part of the acquisition, and will still release on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Far from worrying about the massive tech giant cramping his style, Hutchinson says Google’s newness in the games space — and its unique streaming delivery method — brings exciting opportunities.

“To be frank, it’s kind of exciting that Stadia as an organisation doesn’t have a calcification of structure and ideas. It’s a whole new group, so there’s no one in there saying, ‘this is how you make games’,” he says.

“If we do it right it’s the same as Netflix entering the TV market, where we can provide a new paradigm for delivering content.”

Australian Alex Hutchinson was a designer and director at EA and Ubisoft before co-founding Typhoon.

Growing up in East Brunswick and getting his start with Torus Games in Melbourne, which at the time was mainly making Game Boy games based on TV show and movie licenses, Hutchinson’s big break came when he was hired by North American gaming giant Electronic Arts. A Canadian producer named Reid Schneider, who had worked with Torus on a potential PlayStation 2 game, was impressed with Hutchinson’s work and had put his name forward.

Hutchinson went to work for the Californian studio Maxis, and while the Sim City game he was hired for ended up not going ahead, Hutchinson did work with that game’s original creator Will Wright as a lead designer on 2008’s Spore.

Eventually he moved to EA’s Montreal studio where he worked with Schneider and was creative director on Army of Two: The 40th Day, before jumping ship to French company Ubisoft to direct Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 4.

But in 2017 Hutchinson and Schneider formed Typhoon, leaving their respective massive companies for one that would employ around 25.

“The big studios, when they have success, they become sort of monolithic, and they develop a template for success and they start punching it out. We thought there were other ways to make games and other topics to tackle,” Hutchinson says.

“At that point we’d been doing the rounds of big studios so long, we were kind of in this weird point of early middle age where you think if you’re ever going to try and start something, now’s the time to do it.”

Journey to the Savage Planet is a comical adventure game in which players are sent by the fourth best interstellar space exploration company to establish whether a new planet has potential for habitation. It can be played solo or co-operatively with two players.

“At its heart, really, it’s a throwback to the games of my youth, which were these games which weren’t predictable and you didn’t know what you were going to get. And they could have tonal shifts and strange content. I really want people to pick it up and laugh and be surprised and hopefully get sucked into this crazy world where you never know what’s around the corner,” Hutchinson says.


“It’s a satire, it talks a little bit about colonisation, a little bit about Silicon Valley’s approach to things, there’s some other stuff in there, but it’s really a game based around turning over every rock and making up your own mind. It’s built for you to ignore our objectives and do your own thing.”

Typhoon is the first game studio acquisition for Stadia, whose boss Jade Raymond is herself an industry veteran with a long line of credits at Ubisoft. She’s promised to build a stable of Google-owned studios making exclusive content for Stadia, to complement the range of games that also appear elsewhere.

At the same time Microsoft is also buying studios as it rolls out its own streaming service and subscription-based Game Pass library, acquiring seven since 2018, and other big game companies are spinning up on-demand services of their own.

“There’s a global content war happening,” Hutchinson says. “Those big studios are trying to lock up talent when they see it, so they can guarantee an ongoing stream of content for their platform.”

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