We now know what former Hearthstone bigwigs Ben Brode and Hamilton Chu are feasting on for their Second Dinner — $30 million from NetEase and a deal from Marvel.

Oh, and they will no longer be dining in Mrs. Brode’s garage.

The startup that the two ex-Blizzard Entertainment founded in 2018 announced today that it’s secured a $30 million minority investment from Chinese tech company NetEase (which runs Blizzard games in China) and a deal with Marvel on a yet-to-be-revealed game. Brode said they haven’t announced a genre for the game but it will be for mobile platforms. The company is also announcing that it’s moved into an office in Irvine, California (hence Mrs. Brode’s relief about having her car hole back).

Brode is the chief creative officer for Second Dinner, and he was the game director for Hearthstone, Blizzard’s digital card game that hit in 2014 and now has more than 100 million registered players, reigning over a $1.5 billion market. The affable Brode was also the face of Hearthstone, doing many interviews, streams, and videos in his trademark plaid and with a room-filling laugh. Chu was Hearthstone’s executive producer and is Second Dinner’s CEO, and their small team includes other Hearthstone luminaries such as ex-lead producer Yong Woo. The pair’s humor infuses their announcement, as you can see from Chu’s statement and the video.


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“The Second Dinner team has a strong track record of delivering quality games. With the resources and creative freedom they now have, we look forward to what they will come up with next,” said NetEase VP Ethan Wang in a canned statement about the investment.

Marvel already has a mobile card game from Nexon: Battle Lines, which came out in October. According to mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Marvel: Battle Lines has grossed about $1.1 million on 1.8 million downloads since October 19, with 42 percent of the revenue coming from the U.S. and 20 percent from South Korea. It’ll be interesting to see just what Second Dinner is cooking and what they’ll plate when they release more details. Will it be a digital card game, so close to Battle Lines’ launch, or something else?

“I’ve worked with Hamilton and Ben for years, and they are exactly who we want making Marvel games,” said Jay Ong, EVP and head of Marvel Games at Marvel Entertainment, in a canned statement. “They and the team they’ve assembled at Second Dinner have made some of the greatest games in history. And now, working with the Marvel Games team and playing in the Marvel Universe. … It’s going to be Amazing! Or maybe Spectacular! Or Incredible! Or Mighty! Or quite possibly all of the above!”

Recruitment mode

Second Dinner is focusing on increasing its team with NetEase’s $30 million investment.

“In all likelihood, this will be the best game ever made,” the CEO said. “I made a spreadsheet, so I’m pretty sure. It’s going to take us a while to make, but we’re already having a lot of fun with the prototype.  We can’t wait to show it to the people who we interview as candidates. Coincidentally, people should check out the new jobs we just posted.”

Brode and co. are in full recruitment mode. “I really want to encourage people to drop us a line, even if they like their current job. Like, what could it hurt? We offer competitive salaries, insurance, 401K — all that real-company stuff. Hit me up for coffee or something, even if you’re just curious if you’d be a good fit for one of our openings.”

And you won’t even be working in Brode’s abode.

“I’m just excited they’re out of my house,” said Mrs. Brode.

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