Did you miss a session from GamesBeat Summit Next 2022? All sessions are now available for viewing in our on-demand library. Click here to start watching.


Denis Dyack‘s Apocalypse Studios has raised a round of seed funding from Tyr Ventures for its Deadhaus Sonata game.

Dyack said the company is beginning production for Deadhaus Sonata, which is a narrative-driven action role-playing game built for the cloud from the ground up.

Founded in 2018, Apocalypse Studios is a cloud-first, metaverse-first, multiplatform, and metaplayer title. That’s a lot of buzzwords, and we’ll get to them in a bit. The company didn’t disclose how much it raised.

Apocalypse Studios started out using Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine, and it made the transition to the Open 3D Engine as Amazon agreed to open source the technology.

Initially launching on PC, the game will support all major platforms. Deadhaus Sonata will feature interactive streaming, connecting the players around the world in a meaningful way through asynchronous multiplayer where the player and audiences watching the player all take part. Players can create content in the game for the rest of the community, and, if they choose to do so, monetize that content. Deadhaus Sonata already has a sizable and active community that is contributing to the lore of the game, said Dyack in an interview with GamesBeat.

Denis Dyack is CEO of Apocalypse Studios.
Denis Dyack is CEO of Apocalypse Studios.

“I’ve always been a big believer in the medium is the message. And back in the day, when we were creating things like Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, or Eternal Darkness, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes — those were the typical single-player era titles where gamers would sit in front of their TV and the story would come at them. It was a golden age. Quite frankly, narrative is not as important in today’s gaming age. It’s all about multiplayer. Narrative has taken a huge backseat. But where we’re going with the metaverse gives us opportunities to create narrative that goes beyond the game and helps surround the game.”

He added, “The metaverse itself is about getting engaged with communities. And if you look at Deadhaus Sonataa already, not only do we have people creating stories. The game is still early in development. They’re writing stories, they’re doing their own radio plays that you can listen to on the internet. And we’re going to be able to engage not only gamers to play the game, but participate in it, like they did in the early days of the Greek theater. And the cloud technologies, which are the new media in the metaverse, is really allowing us to put narrative back in center stage. We think it is the future of gaming.”

The Legionnaire in Deadhaus Sonata.
The Legionnaire in Deadhaus Sonata.

David Chang, managing director at Tyr Ventures, said in an interview with GamesBeat that he was putting together his fund with David Wilson and heard that Dyack’s team was working on a cool narrative game from the folks at Poland’s horror game studio Bloober.

“We had an initial conversation and I realized this wasn’t an action narrative,” Chang said. “This was something different. And that’s what was so intriguing about it. Our fund was created to invest in the creater economy, the collaborative economy, and communities. And Denis’ project ticks all those boxes for us as a creative work. And that’s what was so exciting about us.”

Tyr itself is a new fund that is about 13 months old, and Chang said half of the investments have been in games.

“When we look at projects, we look at it from a different lens,” Chang said. “We’re looking at this macro trend of a generational shift in terms of consumer preference and how they want to consume entertainment content.”

The executive team at Apocalypse has many years of cumulative experience in video games with a legacy of successful games. Dyack was the founder and president of Silicon Knights, an independent developer which operated for over 27 years. Dyack created and led video game hits including Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. While those are single-player experiences, Dyack is focusing on a narrative that is inherently cooperative.

And chief operating officer Paul Rogozinski worked at Digital Extremes for over a decade and helped launch Warframe while also previously working together with Dyack on Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. The team has 15 employees and it is adding experienced team members by the day.

The team has been at it for a few years but I was struck that Dyack said the game was in its early stages.

“We kept the team really small for a while we’re building different prototypes. And now, we’re really moving into a direction to start looking for the launch of the first stage,” Dyack said. “And we’re moving from pre-production into full production as we speak.”

Is it a metaverse?

Deadhaus Sonata is an example of a game made with the Open 3D Engine.
Deadhaus Sonata is an example of a game made with the Open 3D Engine.

I asked Dyack why the metaverse term makes sense for what he’s building. Dyack started working on the game before the word “metaverse” became fashionable. But he said that he has always liked the idea of changing the way people play games.

“Being cloud focused is really what the metaverse is about,” Dyack said. “These are tools that enable you to play the game beyond the game. We’re partnering with Genvid, as an example, on interactive cinema, where people can play the game without even having it. They can jump in and watch a stream, participate, change the narrative. These are things that not only build communities. But gamers, I think, will really crave these technologies as they develop and mature. And so we’re using different words, but the the strategy has not changed whatsoever. We’re cloud first, we work for gamers, and we want to change it up to the point where gamers are excited to see what we’re offering.”

As for the seed round, Chang said, “It’s a validation of Denis’ project, what he’s accomplishing, and we feel that it’s really where the video game industry needs to go. I’m seeing that gamers today just don’t want to play the games. They want to participate in them. Denis knocks this out of the park in terms of being able to do all of the things within Deadhaus Sonata. He’s creating a community so early on in its inception.”

What does metaplayer mean? Dyack said it’s a player who’s playing within your universe, but not necessarily playing in your game. People could be watching on a stream, decided to participate, take a role in the game, but they don’t actually have your game.

“The idea of meta is of larger scope and beyond the actual game itself. And that’s where we think the industry is going,” Dyack said.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.