The age of tablet gaming has arrived, and Super Evil Megacorp is ready for it. The tablet-gaming startup is announcing a $15 million round and the hiring of Kristian Segerstrale, a former Electronic Arts digital games executive, as its chief operating officer. It is also pulling back the veil on its first game, Vain Glory, a tablet-based multiplayer online battle arena title (MOBA).
The funding, which includes a new $11.6 million round, comes from new investors General Catalyst and Raine Ventures. Earlier round investors include Rick Thompson and his team at Signia Venture Partners, Clinton Foy and his team at CrossCut Ventures, Initial Capital, ZhenFund, and other angel investors. The money will enable Super Evil Megacorp to “relentlessly pursue its vision of a world where tablets are primary devices for core gamers,” said Bo Daly, the chief executive of the San Mateo, Calif.-based company.
“The next interesting thing is that core gaming and core gamers will move to tablets in a meaningful way,” Daly told GamesBeat.
Segerstrale is a partner at Initial Capital, which has invested in numerous hit makers like Finland’s Supercell. He was the former head of digital games at EA, which bought his earlier company, Playfish, for up to $400 million. He was the CEO and cofounder of Playfish, which grew fast in the Facebook gaming boom and hit 60 million monthly players at its peak. He also served as a vice president at Glu Mobile. At Super Evil Megacorp, he will be both COO and executive director.
“I have been fortunate to work at the forefront of multiple revolutions in games,” Segerstrale said. “I had a good vantage point in the growth of social gaming. I have been convinced that the next billion-dollar company will be built around core gaming on tablets.”
For two years, Super Evil Megacorp has been building its team as well as the free-to-play title Vain Glory, which uses a proprietary game engine. Using such an engine is the way that Daly plans to stand out from the pack of competitors on mobile devices. While others use engines such as Unity 3D or Unreal Engine 4, Daly said that his company wanted to design something that works perfectly with tablets. He said it will be easy to move games built with the engine across platforms.
“Ultimately, the proprietary engine is what we can use to deliver console-quality games,” Segerstrale said in an interview. “Owning it enables the company to push the boundaries.”
Adam Valkin, the managing director at General Catalyst, is joining Super Evil Megacorp’s board. Other members of the team of 16 people come from gaming companies like Riot Games, Rockstar, and Playfish. They want to create “the types of indelible gaming experiences that we’ve loved over the years — complete with insane high-fidelity graphics, breathtaking multiplayer battles, and social experiences that really feel like the epic LAN parties that defined whole eras of our lives,” Daly said.
He added, “We believe games are a form of art. Incredible experiences require the very best talent — and a lot of patience — to build. We couldn’t be more excited about our trajectory to date, and today’s announcement gives us further tools to pursue our dreams.”
Daly said he wants to build games that people will play for 1,000 hours. Vain Glory is an “unapologetic core game,” Daly said, with touch-screen controls tailored for the tablet.
Segerstrale said the team is passionate about the game and the tablet market is ready for something new. The game has a wide variety of characters, and its setting is in between sci-fi and fantasy. The initial target platform is Apple’s iOS, but the game will likely be multiplatform. Rivals include Jason Citron’s Hammer & Chisel.
As for competitors, Segerstrale said, “There have been some attempts on tablets. Over the next year or two, the first games will come that will really be beacons for gamers.”