Steel Wool Studios (previously named Steel Wool Games) is an independant virtual reality game developer team. The company was founded in Oakland, California in 2013. They worked with Scott Cawthon on the latest installments in the Five Nights at Freddy's series, Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted and Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach.


Description

Steel Wool Studios, AKA Steel Wool Games is an independent studio of 20-ish superstars based in Oakland, CA. We create games. Sounds simple but it is a little more complex. We create games for entertainment as well as create games for enterprise projects. What does that mean? We use our game making skills to both make games for fun but also to help in different areas such as Virtual Training and Virtual Medical Therapy. Games are a universal language that has so many applications across the world and across different mediums. It is a common thread that binds us together and allows us to use our passion to help make others happy.

Fortified by veterans of Pixar, Midway, HTC, Intel, and Telltale Games who bring decades of experience in collaboration with an insanely talented crew of artists and engineers looking to help define the next decade of gaming. We’re so lucky to be able to work together and share a vision of what we want Steel Wool Studios to be.''

History

The founder of Steel Wool, Josh Qualtieri, who is a fan of NASA, wanted desperately to be involved in ongoing missions to explore the surface of Mars. He studied a degree in astrophysics for it, but the Martian exploration projects at NASA was then defunded. Without any other choice, he started working at Pixar who needed smart mathematicians who could deal with complex computer algorithms. After helping to create several animated films, Josh and Pixar's technical director Andrew Dayton decided to try making a game. They created the team with three Pixar artists: Sequoia Blankenship, Jonathan Hoffman and Jason Topolski. They named themselve Steel Wool Games, and developed a cute mobile title called Flyhunter Origins. As a studio founded by Pixar creatives, they instantly drew attention from the gaming industry. The co-creator of Guitar Hero, Charles Huang discovered their newly formed studio early on and decided to help them.

Charles got a special invite to Valve for them, where they were given a behind-the-scene look at the company's work on the HTC Vive. They were blown away by the high level of immersion, and immediately pivoted out of the mobile games market, to instead focus on virtual reality. They changed their name to Steel Wool Studios, and successfully convinced HTC to provide them with funding and resources to create an original project for their new device by giving them an early demo for a VR game which later became Quar.

Josh who is a Martian lover created a realistic computer model for the Curiosity rover and put it into the VR world. Fascinated by how amazing it looks in VR, Steel Wool started making a VR game about exploring Mars, Mars Odyssey, to fulfill Josh's childhood dream.

Scott Cawthon later discovered Steel Wool's works, and he was very impressed. Eventually, Scott hired the studio to create a full virtual reality remake of the original Five Nights at Freddy's game. Not long into development, though, they began to realize the problems with creating a direct translation of this relatively simple game, as VR was too immersive for Scott's original artwork and character models, and the flaws in designs and costumes could be easily spotted with greater visual fidelity. However, with the animation skill of the team, they began to redesign a lot of art assets Scott had provided, adding additional hydraulics and machine parts.

Members

Leaders

  • Andrew Dayton - CEO.
  • Jason "Jtop" Topolski - Creative Director.
  • Stewart Johnston - Lead Engineer.

Other Members

NOTE: The following roles for the members are according to the credit list in Help Wanted.
  • Evan Lampi - Game Design / Animation Supervisor.
  • Phillip M. Shaw - Game Design / Technical Director.
  • Saul Aguilar - Game Design / Technical Artist.
  • Nathan Spandorf - Technical Artist / Modeling / Lighting.
  • Rodney Brett - Rigging / Character Modeler.
  • Chloe Costa - Junior Rigging.
  • Jennifer Bach - UI Artist / 2D Artist.
  • Alex Nelson - Concept / UI Artist / 2D Artist.
  • David Weinman - Modeling / Shading / Lighting.
  • Tom Myers - Animation.
  • Lakshminarayanan Vijayaraghavan - Engineering.
  • Brett Thompson - Junior Engineering,

Projects/Game Developed

Title Platform(s) Release Date
Flyhunter Origins PC (Windows, Mac), PlayStation Vita, Mobile ports (iOS, Android) December 10, 2014
Quar: Battle for Gate 18 Windows (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) April 5, 2016
Mars Odyssey Windows (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) September 9, 2016
Bounce Windows (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) November 30, 2016
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth Windows (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) February 27, 2018
Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted Windows (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Window Mixed Reality, Valve Index), PlayStation 4 (PlayStation VR), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Quest, iOS, Android May 28, 2019
Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 2021

Reception

Crouching down, I was able to see it (Quar: Battle for Gate 18) from their point of view; when I turned my head, just in time to see a cannon explode with a puff of smoke, I almost went to blow it away before remembering that it wasn’t really there. - SlashGear
Playing with scale is one of the most enjoyable elements of VR in these early stages, and Steel Wool [Studios] have capitalized upon this. - VRFocus
The go-for-it startup mentality behind Steel Wool [Studios] is infectious. - Cult of Mac

Trivia

  • One of Steel Wool's member, Jennifer Bach has done the artwork for one of the teasers of Security Breach that features Vanny in a security guard uniform.

Gallery

External Links

People
Developers
Scott CawthonSteel Wool StudiosIllumix
Publishers
Lionsgate GamesClickteamMaximum Games
Composer
Leon Riskin
Voice Actors
Amber Lee ConnorsAndy FieldBriana KennedyChris McCulloughDarren RoebuckHeather MastersJena RundusJessica TangKeyondra ShanaePJ HeywoodMinor Voice Actors
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