Sweet will join president Dave Baronoff, the longtime Bad Robot exec who has led the division since it was created in 2018 by co-CEOs J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, in a venture with China’s Tencent and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
So far, Bad Robot Games hasn’t announced any titles in development. Its model is to partner with third-party developers to create games across mobile, PC, and console platforms, with Bad Robot Games bringing to the table in-house creative directors and its network of visual artists, musicians, sound designers, writers and other creatives. WarnerMedia’s overall deal with Bad Robot, inked last September, includes games among the projects Abrams’ company is set to produce for the media conglomerate.
Sweet said she started talking with Bad Robot late last year about leading the games group. “To me, Bad Robot is such a unique company in Hollywood,” she told Variety. “It felt like an exciting moment to join the team.”
Sweet first met with Abrams and Bad Robot execs 10 years ago when the company was collaborating with Valve. “I’ve been huge fans of J.J., Katie, Dave and the team ever since,” she said. “As video games become a primary way to explore and experience new worlds and stories, I believe Bad Robot Games is uniquely suited to build something truly special.”
Sweet actually started at Bad Robot Games about a month ago. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area, but plans to commute down to the company’s Santa Monica HQ when travel permits.
With more than 15 years of experience in the games industry, Sweet spent the last three years advising venture-capital funds on the gaming industry as well as investing in and advising venture-backed startups. She spent two years at livestreaming video platform Caffeine as SVP of content and community before leaving early in 2019.
At Valve, where she worked for more than six years, Sweet was part of the original business team that built the pioneering Steam PC distribution platform. After leaving Valve in 2015, Sweet led content and developer strategy teams for Oculus and Facebook’s virtual-reality products. As head of developer strategy at Oculus, she ran content strategy for the launch of the Rift VR headset.
Baronoff, who has been with Bad Robot since 2006, commented, “From the moment we first collaborated while Anna was at Valve, I’ve been looking for opportunities to work with her again… In addition to being a truly wonderful human being, she is a brilliant, innovative leader, and deeply passionate about games.” At Bad Robot, Baronoff has overseen several game and content launches for the company, including multiplatform game “Spyjinx” co-developed with Epic Games and alternate reality game “Cloverfield 2008.”
Bad Robot president/COO Brian Weinstein added, “Anna brings a proven track record and unparalleled expertise to Bad Robot, plus a sensibility and leadership style that will deliver tremendous value to Bad Robot Games. Alongside Dave, we now have two vibrant leaders to help grow the company as we enter our next phase of growth.”
Sweet graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in computer science, game design and development. She’s also the founder of Sweet Farm, a nonprofit farm animal rescue organization in Half Moon Bay, Calif.