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Irrational co-founder sets up new studio

Blue Manchu working on PC strategy title.

Jon Chey, the co-founder of Bioshock developer Irrational Games, has jumped ship and set up on his own.

According to a Gamasutra interview, his new Canberra-based studio, called Blue Manchu, is working on a free-to-play PC strategy title called Card Hunter.

It's "a board game/card game hybrid that you play on a computer, mixed with an RPG," he explained.

"The best way to describe it is, imagine I take an MMO, and every time you fight a monster, instead of playing a timer game with pull downs and buttons that you click, you're playing a turn-based strategy game.

"You have little pieces on a board, and you play cards to move those pieces around, and that's the battle you fight. And at the end of the battle you win some treasure, which you then use to trick your characters like you do in an MMO, but those characters are actually pieces in the board game."

It's a small operation – Chey is the only the full time staff member – but a number of other Irrational veterans are also contributing, including System Shock designer Dorian Hart and Freedom Force art director Ben Lee. Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield is also throwing in his ten cents.

Chey started out at System Shock/Thief studio Looking Glass before setting up Irrational with Ken Levine in 1997. He headed up the Australian arm of the business, which was absorbed into 2K Marin in 2010.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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