You could make a Netflix Original series, or you could make a video game — or if you’re newly minted studio Wonderstorm, you make both. It’s founders are Riot Games vets, and they’re partnering up with MWM (previously Madison Wells Media) to create an original animated Netflix series as well as a corresponding game for late 2018.
To start the studio, all three cofounders left careers at Riot, which develops the No. 1 multiplayer online battle arena game in the world, League of Legends. Executive producer Justin Richmond previously headed up a game development team at Riot. Before that, he was the game director for Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. And Wonderstorm president Justin Santistevan was Riot’s head of finance for research and development.
“Riot is an awesome place, and we worked with amazing and talented people there – and League has an incredible player community,” said Richmond in an email to GamesBeat. “We felt lucky to be a part of that. In a lot of ways, we were inspired by Riot to go out and build something ourselves, from the ground up. I think Wonderstorm will be more equally focused on both story and game than Riot is, and it obviously gives us a chance to build and own our vision with a small awesome team.”
Aaron Ehasz, Wonderstorm’s CEO, was Riot’s creative director. He also had an illustrious career in TV. He was co-executive producer and showrunner of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an animated series that won multiple accolades including a Peabody Award.
“Some of our favorite experiences when we were younger, and now for that matter, have been with worlds that have amazing characters and stories, but also great video games and other opportunities to play in that world,” said Richmond. “So we wanted our studio to be a two-headed beast that could deliver awesome experiences on both the story and game front. We got lucky that one of the first partners that believed in our creative vision was Netflix. Ultimately, we hope that our audience and players find our Netflix series engaging, and that it sparks their imagination — and that they take that with them so they can have a deeper and more engaging experience with an amazing game.”
As a founding investor, MWM will be executive producing Wonderstorm’s projects, including the Netflix Original series. Its previous projects include Wevr’s virtual reality experience Gnomes & Goblins.