The guy behind on one of the most successful games ever made just got $25 million to start a new studio: Bonfire Games.
That man is Rob Pardo, and he’s leading a team of game development veterans (like himself) at a new studio. Their focus? “The company will make online multiplayer games, though he has not yet decided whether it will create them for mobile devices, PCs or both,” writes Nick Winfield in The New York Times.
The financing comes from one likely and one unlikely suspect: venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (likely), and “League of Legends” studio Riot Games (unlikely!).
You may know “League of Legends” as one of the other most successful games ever made; it’s the most widely played eSports game in the world, and commands a monthly playership of nearly 70 million (according to the Riot). Riot is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent.
Pardo took to Medium to discuss the new venture. “Often, developers must compromise and decide — do I work on a blockbuster game where I have less personal impact or the gutsy indie studio that struggles to get noticed?,” he wrote. “Our vision is to create a studio that doesn’t require them to choose.”
Pardo is working with a handful of folks who are coming with him from Blizzard Entertainment — the Activision-owned studio responsible for “World of Warcraft,” “Hearthstone,” “Overwatch,” and many other blockbusters; he’s also hiring.
Video game studios tend not to exist as startups, at least in the way that Blizzard creates games. Epics like “World of Warcraft” required hundreds, if not thousands of people to create and maintain their elaborate, interactive worlds.
To this end, Pardo said he’s taking inspiration from the way that mobile-first “Hearthstone” was created — by a small group within the larger bureaucracy that is Blizzard.
Here’s Pardo on that philosophy, and how it will work for his startup:
“To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organising them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers. We believe you can create epic games with small teams of talented, self-driven game developers, where each team is deeply connected to their players and empowered to make the best decisions to evolve their game without bureaucracies, committees or middle management in their way.”
A previous funding round included capital from former EA and current Unity executive John Riccitiello. Bonfire Studios is based in Irvine, California.
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