Zynga, Playdom, EA and Bioware vets cause a Rumble with new freemium studio

While many a story has come to light recently, detailing high-level game designers jumping shiptoZynga, here's one where a fairly big gun under the big Z's umbrella has left for new pastures. To be specific, John Yoo, lead designer on CityVille, is one of a few industry veterans that have joined with Greg Richardson [pictured], of former BioWare/Pandemic fame, in the creation of a new freemium (free-to-play) game studio by the name of Rumble.

After speaking with Rick Thompson, the founder of another major social games company - Playdom - the two partnered to form Rumble. Rounding out this new package are former EA employees Mark Spenner and David O'Connor. With these big names in their camp, Richardson's goal with Rumble is to create games that are free to play (supported with paid add-ons), but lie somewhere in between the expensive world of high-end PC games and the extremely casual games represented by many Facebook titles.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Richardson has faith that this middle ground holds a lot of merit. "We saw this third hill, and we think it's the biggest of the three hills," he says. This isn't to say, though, that Facebook games are out of the picture, as Richardson confirmed that they will use the social service, but will also focus on mobile devices and PCs through the browser.

In addition to developing its own games, Rumble will publish other developer's titles. While no specific details were announced about any of Rumble's specific games (we can expect the first sometime early next year), Richardson did list many of the company's areas of inspiration, which lie anywhere from Zelda and Super Smash Bros. to Diablo and Civilization. Regardless of the game in question, he says that Rumble looks to avoid overly complex gameplay. With this many areas of inspiration, we're definitely interested in seeing what Rumble comes up with, but for now - the possibilities are endless.

Are you excited in trying out this apparent middle-ground of freemium games that aren't too challenging, but aren't too basic either? Sound off in the comments.

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