The core development team responsible for Sonic Mania is spreading its wings and flying solo in a new game studio called Evening Star. Christian Whitehead is the Creative Director and Lead Engine Architect. Dave Padilla is the CEO and Producer. Tom Fry is the Art Director. Hunter Bridges is the Technical and Audio Director. And Brad Flick is the Design Director.
Evening Star will make use of their proprietary Retro Engine that was used to develop Sonic Mania, except the engine has been further evolved into the new “Star Engine.” The company is based out of Los Angeles but has staff in London and Melbourne, and they describe themselves as a “boutique” studio, which means this:
Every member pursues a goal to make their own great games. By encouraging strong technical foundations in every discipline, members are given a voice and latitude to impact games in unique ways. By reinvigorating gaming history’s more cunning techniques, the team boldly explores directions long since left behind.
They’re also currently hiring an Environment Artist and a Level Designer, if you’re interested.
Sonic Mania was created when Sega essentially realized that its fans were as good (or maybe much better) at making Sonic games as they were, so they gave the fans the keys to create that wonderful retro game. It’s great to see that experience has empowered the team to aspire for bigger things, and I’m excited to find out what their next big project will be.