Funomena is an independent game studio located in downtown San Francisco, California. The company was founded in January of 2013 by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton - two passionate game developers who believe that games can have a positive impact on the world. If you are curious how to say Funomena - just use this little song as a guide.
Robin and Martin met at ThatGameCompany, where they worked on the acclaimed PSN title Journey. And during that experience, they developed a shared set of values about work, life and meaningful play. After shipping Journey, Robin moved from LA back to SF and began working on a new game (and folding a lot of origami animals). Martin took a long vacation, exploring around Southeast Asia and then in Europe. But not long after he returned, they began dreaming about starting a company, where they could make artistic, expressive and emotionally resonant games - together.
Robin is a designer, producer and CEO. She has a background in fine art, computer science and applied game studies. Her titles include Journey, Boom Blox, and MySims for Nintendo Wii. Recognized for her role as an Ambassador for Woman in Games, Robin is an evangelist for diversity of thought and participation in game design and game culture. To that end, she co-organizes the annual Experimental Gameplay session at GDC, teaches and lectures extensively on game design and in particular, focusing on feeling in games. She is looking forward to showing off Wattam at Day of the Devs and then at PlayStation Experience before the close of 2015.
Martin is Funomena's co-founder & Tech Director. In 2006 he joined thatgamecompany to work on the AI and constraint systems for the creatures in their first title, flOw. He then built the procedural geometry systems and distributed grass simulation for Flower. On Journey, Martin developed the game's distributed, deformable sand terrain system, and its unique peer-to-peer networking solution, which connects players seamlessly as their paths cross during gameplay. He is currently focusing on bringing Funomena's games to new platforms - including VR, AR and gesture-input devices.
There are two games in production for commercial release at Funomena. Wattam is a playful, open, and exploratory world that feels like a toy box come to life. Its look, themes and overall design is the vision of its Creative Director - Keita Takahashi.
Keita is a Japanese game designer and artist. He studied at Musashino Art University from 1996 to 1999, where he studied in Fine Art and Sculpture, gaining a degree in the latter. His commercial titles (Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari and Noby Noby Boy) all express a deep fascination with childhood, physical play, sculptural objects and the feeling of being small. His games and interactive installations have been exhibited around the world, most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In his spare time, Keita is raising two small children - who greatly inspire his designs, as seen on his daily dev diary tumblr.
The other game we are making at Funomena is Luna. Glenn Hernandez is the Art Director for this game, and is responsible for its unique, stop-animated look and abstract, illustrative feel. In addition to designing the world and its characters, Glenn is also responsible for the art in the non-profit, educational game that got the studio started: Terra.
A talented artist and illustrator, Glenn has a background in music, animation and a deep passion for illustrating children's books. He earned his Bachelor's in Studio Art from St. Olaf College and spent several years immersing himself in visual storytelling. He is excited to help create games that color outside the lines of convention and help promote change. Glenn has a rich practice of creating personal work, which you can see on his Instagram and also his new Inprint site.
Funomena turned 3 years old in September. We are now 15 people, and are always seeking to engage with new voices who can help us create new ways of thinking about games, play and entertainment. If you want to learn more about the kinds of people we like to work with, check out our philosophy. If you think you might be a Funomenaut you can look over our current open positions - and if you don't see anything there, send us a note about your qualifications and interests. We look forward to hearing from you!