Rumours have been circulating these past few months around Rocksteady co-founders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker. The much-admired creative duo are about to leave the 18-year-old studio they started, moving on to unknown pastures from the end of 2022.
Warner Bros Games president, David Haddad, addressed their departure in a brief statement posted on the Rocksteady website. He explained that Nathan Burlow, also a founding member and current director of production, will now move up into the role of studio director. While there is some excitement surrounding this new era for Rocksteady Studios – let’s hope they can carry the momentum of the Batman: Arkham franchise and deliver on the hype already buzzing around Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – more column inches have been spent on the future of Walker and Hill, who stated that their decision to leave Rocksteady was: ‘…emotional to say the least!’
Legacy Of Two Gaming Crusaders
Hill and Walker have already left their fingerprints on the digital clay of the gaming world. Rocksteady had been their baby since 2004 and during the years that followed the pair headed an exceptionally talented team, setting a bold standard right from their very first release: Urban Chaos. Funnily enough, the title of that first game could be used to describe a lot of the titles they worked on to date, including the rain-soaked Arkham series, which thrived on a lot of the same grit and realism seen in the Christopher Nolan films.
Still cloaked in enough mystery to tantalise fans, the co-founders plan to build on their successes as they leave Rocksteady Studios in the New Year and begin what David Haddad described as a ‘new adventure in gaming.’ Their work on the Arkham series already stands them in good stead, attracting the attention of anyone who was sucked into the broody tone and sepulchral beauty of those games.
The Next Adventure
Sadly, we still don’t know much more than that. While Rocksteady itself will have to evolve under a change in leadership. The question of what Hill and Walker will do next is open to a broad range of theorising as well. They admitted that Rocksteady had been their ‘life and soul’, so you can only imagine it must’ve taken a lot to pull them away from the studio they built and the legacy behind it. They’re also leaving all those great moments and friendships made on unique projects, like working with Warner Bros. and DC on reintroducing Batman to gamers. Imagine how appealing this next adventure must’ve been to them – what could be so irresistible that it could draw them away from the steady triumphs of Rocksteady and the childhood superheroes they got to play with there?
Meanwhile, Suicide Squad will be left in safe hands as our two veterans of the industry will no doubt continue to revolutionise the action game genre – we can only hope there are more breakthroughs to come, like the seamless Arkham combat. All this comes at a time when DC’s newly appointed co-chairman and co-CEO, filmmaker James Gunn, has taken the company reins and laid out his vision for a more promising future. The director has already stated on Twitter than the DCU will be connected across film, TV and games. We can’t help but feel a little speculative about the idea of Gunn, Hill and Walker all working together on something in the same vein as the Arkham series. Wouldn’t that be something?
After a slight production delay, the Suicide Squad supervillain team-up is scheduled for release in Spring 2023 (probably between March and May). It will be available on: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC…