Basics About Arcen (Ar-ken) Games

Arcen (pronounced with a hard c, like “ken”) was founded in 2009 by Chris McElligott Park (that’s me). A lot of really talented folks have worked with me over the years in both fulltime and part-time capacities, but the company has always been relatively small.

If you’d like a really comprehensive history of what our history has been and how it has played out, there is a full company history that covers up until the start of AI War 2’s development.  It is stupidly detailed, clocking in at novella-length, but is still just the abridged version.  The same questions kept coming up in interviews and AMAs and so on.  Now it’s all in one place.

So what’s this company about, in the TLDR sense? Giving players opportunities to feel clever.  There’s been more strategy games by us than any other genre, but we really don’t consider ourselves a strategy game developer. I love most genres of game.


As of mid-2023, this is a solo studio.  The nature of the industry, and how I develop games, has shown over and over again that I can’t maintain a staff.  It’s just not healthy for me, as I like to pay people what they are worth, and prefer to provide stability.  Those are extremely difficult things, and the amount of stress from it is just untenable.  This is a very complicated topic, but the short version is that I am not well-suited to running a studio in that way.


At some point in the future, probably in 2025 or later, but potentially in later 2024, there may be spots for contracts with freelancers.  Because of the nature of this business, these would be for specific pieces of work as-needed.  Trying to provide a consistent amount of work for specific contractors, fulltime or otherwise, is just staff-by-another-name, and it’s not something I can do anymore.  The market is too harsh, and my development process is too nonlinear, among other things.

The Arcenverse

Most of our games are set in a large internally-consistent “Arcenverse.”  It’s a really rich sci-fi landscape that spans a few trillion years of history and future, and which has ties between most of our games.   All of our hard sci fi games are in one large shared multiverse (you can think of it as mostly being a single universe, but your own choices in any given game are part of what perpetuate the multiverse, since any way you play is considered canonical).  If you want to know about it all in insane detail, of course we have that for you.


If you’re wondering about the awesome music in our games, that is always the incomparable Pablo Vega.  He’s been here since literally the first month the company existed.  His incredibly talented wife Hunter Vega is often heard on vocals, and other times his smooth tenor is what you hear.  The two of them in duet is always something to behold.

Hey, Chris’s Last Name!

His last name changed in 2020.  He was born Christopher Michael Park, and went by Chris Park or Christopher M. Park.  He went through a rough divorce in 2018 after an 18 year relationship.  After floundering around for a while, he met and later married the brilliant Dr. Kara McElligott.  

He thought it was kind of old-fashioned for just the woman to change her name, and besides which they both had large bodies of work referencing their “maiden” names.  She had already decided to change her name to McElligott Park, and he decided he would do the same.

So that’s him now: full name is Christopher Michael McElligott Park.  But he professionally now goes by Chris McElligott Park.

Yep, I love chickens.  Right now I have ten.

They are the dinosaurs I always wanted.