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NetEase opens new AAA studio BulletFarm led by Treyarch vet David Vonderhaar

NetEase Games has opened another new studio in the West in the form of BulletFarm, and has hired Call of Duty veteran David Vonderhaar to lead the team.

BulletFarm is headquartered in Los Angeles but positioned as a remote-first studio, and is already working on a AAA game built in Unreal Engine 5.

The only details of the game shared so far are that it is a first-person title set in an original universe, and will be focused on co-operative gameplay.

Studio head David Vonderhaar is known to many for his 18 years spent at Call of Duty developer Treyarch, where he was a key member of the studio’s leadership as it created hits such as the acclaimed Black Ops series. He announced his departure from Treyarch in August 2023.

“Starting this new studio has given me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at making something entirely new and different,” said Vonderhaar. “This is a departure from the games I’ve worked on, but one that showcases my passion for rich characters, precise mechanics, more intimate storytelling, and plenty of action.

“NetEase has provided us an incredible support structure to explore these new avenues and allow true freedom to begin building the concept and ideas for our game.”

Also joining BulletFarm is Chris Cowell, who spent 17 years working on Call of Duty at Treyarch. He has taken on the role of creative director.

China-based publisher NetEase has opened several studios in the West in recent years, many of them focused on AAA development and led by veteran talent. Other Western studios include:

Worlds Untold (helmed by Mass Effect dev Mac Walters)
Fantastic Pixel Castle (led by former Blizzard designer Greg Street)
T-Minus Zero Entertainment (under veterans Rich Vogel and Mark Tucker)
Bad Brain Game Studios (led by former Ubisoft Toronto producer Sean Crooks)
Anchor Point Studios (with Remedy and Smilegate alumnus Paul Ehreth)
global remote studio Spliced
Jar of Sparks (headed up by former Halo Infinite head of design Jerry Hook)
Jackalyptic Games, formerly Jackalope Games (led by former Cryptic Studios CEO Jack Emmert)

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