The game is set in a variety of fantasy locations, combining in-depth game design with social networking. As such, it’s one of a new generation of Facebook games that aims to deliver a better experience than the simpler two-dimensional games such as FarmVille that dominate Facebook today. Players create avatars and enter them into combat against others in a bid to become the scrappiest fighter in a kingdom.
Emeryville, Calif.-based Gravity Bear, which came out of stealth mode last month, will likely get some attention because social gaming is so hot. Last week, the leaders in the market made a lot of news. Electronic Arts bought social gaming firm Playfish for as much as $400 million; Playdom raised $43 million in venture capital, while market leader Zynga raised $15 million. Even though these hot companies are growing fast, the Facebook market can still accommodate new entrants. Crowdstar, for instance, managed to score big with its Happy Aquarium game, released two months ago, which has drawn in 27 million users.
In Battle Punks, players battle their way through towns, forests, swamps and more. The character creation tool is advanced enough that players can create one-of-a-kind characters. In battles, players can win weapons, spells, experience points, and treasure. But the company is making a bet that its 3-D graphics will dazzle users, who are more accustomed to lame but fast graphics on the social network.
The game will debut with analytics technology from SQLstream, which measures activity in an app and will allow Gravity Bear to tweak the game to suit the tastes of users.
The company was founded in 2008 by Phil Shenk, one of the many game veterans who came from the diaspora of Flagship Studios, a San Jose, Calif.-based game studio that imploded a year ago. Veterans from Flagship went on to form Runic Games, which we chronicled today, and they joined Cryptic Studios to work on Star Trek Online. Gravity Bear has six employees.