May 12, 2021 1 min, 51 secs
Though their teams and projects are different, companies like Dreamhaven, Frost Giant, and Warchief Gaming have plenty in common beyond their Blizzard connections: a love of fantasy worlds, interest in games that bring players together, and a desire to work in a small team.

Now, former Blizzard and Epic engineer Matt Schembari is joining that collective with a new endeavor: Lightforge Games.

Schembari spent over eight years at Blizzard, followed by another five at Epic Games, and his four Lightforge co-founders also represent a blend of those two company cultures.

Opened alongside former Epic programmer Dan Hertzka, former Epic producer Nathan Fairbanks, former Blizzard artist Glenn Rane, and former Blizzard and Epic marketing director Marc Hutcheson, the studio opened about a year ago but has been working quietly since.

"When you look at anything from Minecraft to Dungeons & Dragons, these are games where people come together, they have shared connectedness, they're creating a world together, they're creating a story together in a very emergent together kind of way.

These are the kinds of games that we love, and we've got experience and expertise working on games like this.

Schembari tells me that this is in keeping with one of the studio's values, "Embrace empathy." Remote work, he says, is one way in which Lightforge can ensure its employees are healthier, happier people.

So Lightforge was built with remote work as a pillar, with everything rigorously documented, video chat open all the time (but only if people want to participate), and asynchronous communications between its members, who are based in locations ranging from Hawaii, to the US east coast, to Scotland.

"We wanted to make sure that everything we built was healthy and that people loved what they were doing," Schembari says?

"When you've got a team of smart, creative people, they're going to be at their best when they are healthy, when they're psychologically safe, when they're able to be creative and free?

Schembari says that while Lightforge isn't a part of the internal studio network Dreamhaven is building, he speaks daily with the Dreamhaven crew?

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