Sharon Tal Yguado is known for her work on creating fantastical, living worlds for famous TV shows. Yguado built projects at Amazon Studios, Fox and others, developing shows like the Walking DeadThe Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Boysand The wheel of time. Now she brings that experience to video games.
Yguado announced her new studio, Astrid Entertainment, on Monday, where she will serve as CEO. With a small team of developers from AAA and indie sectors, Astrid Entertainment is currently working on its first, currently unannounced game, which aims to bring players together in worlds where they can define their own stories. Astrid Entertainment announced Monday that it has received a “high seven-figure pre-seed investment” from investors including NetEase Games, Stardom and Tower 26.
“Suddenly [TV] felt a bit secure, a bit repetitive,” Yguado told Polygon. “I wanted to do something innovative. I wanted to step aside and rock the boat a bit with a smaller team and a little more creativity.”
Yguado said Astrid Entertainment’s first game is not an MMO, but a world where players – when playing together – will define their own experience. She’s not building another metaverse, she said, but Yguado acknowledges that people are spending more time in online worlds; They have become social hubs. Players will experience the world with a small group of others but with a chance to meet other players from other worlds. It won’t have a linear story like Yguado knows best from TV.
As a woman entering the video game industry, Yguado is particularly aware of the culture that is often nurtured in large studios. For her, changing this culture means having more women at the table to create a space where people feel comfortable speaking out, making mistakes and learning from them.
“I’m humble when I come here and learn, but I think there’s room to grow,” Yguado said. “There are many companies that said they would change their culture and didn’t. There is much to do.”
That’s one of the reasons why the Astrid Entertainment team starts small and slowly builds up.
“We are starting small and plan to grow organically [in team and project]’ said Yguado. “We’re putting our heads in and building the world and experiences before we evolve and expand into other mediums, but the plan is to be everywhere over time – on multiple platforms, across different mediums.” We will most likely start in Early Access because we want to involve players early and evolve the world with them. We also care deeply about building passionate communities. We’re making an accessible game that encourages positive community play and we hope more people will play.”
There is no schedule for Astrid Entertainment’s game yet; the team is still building.