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One More Game — a game studio built by veteran developers behind Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Guild Wars — has raised $22 million.
The Seattle company is also unveiling a few details about Spellcraft, an online competitive strategy fantasy game that the company hopes will start a new genre in games. The game is targeted at the PC but it will add more platforms later.
Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round. Also joining the round are Griffin Gaming Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. Other participants include Animal Capital, Cleo Capital, and several individual investors.
“It’s an energizing opportunity to build a game — and a studio — from the ground up, bringing all of the lessons we’ve learned and the convictions we’ve come to hold over our many shared years creating games,” said Patrick Wyatt, cofounder and CEO of One More Game. “We’re heartened to have such a distinguished and supportive team of investors who have put their faith in our team, the potential of Spellcraft, and our vision for future titles.”
“Pat Wyatt and Jamie Winsor are a killer founding team as gaming establishment meets next-gen gaming, with Pat’s nine years at Blizzard launching Battle.net, multiple iconic games, and then co-founding ArenaNet, and Jamie’s history at Riot Games and ArenaNet,” said Amy Wu of Lightspeed (and now over at FTX), in a statement. “We at Lightspeed are thrilled to be part of the journey.”
Since its formation in 2019, the studio has been in development on its debut title, applying its novel Alpha-driven development approach to rapidly iterate on gameplay with feedback from real players. The unannounced game has been operating as a live service with regular playtests for a small group of players since late 2020, with details and expanded playtest opportunities forthcoming.
“One More Game’s vision for the evolution of competitive gaming is something that immediately resonated with the Griffin team,” said Peter Levin, managing director of Griffin Gaming Partners, in a statement. “We are elated to join them on this journey and equally excited to see the community reaction to their first game.”
“The vision and depth of experience embodied by One More Game’s founding team inspired us to spearhead the studio’s seed round,” said Jonathan Lai, general partner at Andreesen Horowitz. “Since then, they’ve made great progress realizing that vision and growing their team of developers, and we can’t wait to see them deliver games that players love.”
Players interested in joining the upcoming private Alpha Preview Event for Spellcraft can sign up to participate.
In 2020, Wyatt started the studio with Jamie Winsor in Seattle. But the studio has gone fully remote. The studio now has more than 25 people.
“The thing I would say that is remarkable is, so almost to a person, nobody wanted to go back to an office once COVID was over,” said Wyatt, in an interview with GamesBeat. “One person said he really enjoyed working in an office and really liked to and so he’s actually working in a temp space office. So he’s working around other people, but just not our folks. But I think people really enjoy the [lack of a] commute in the new environment. And so we’re spread out across seven states already with only 25 folks and two countries.”
The team has a bunch of people that Wyatt and Winsor have worked with before. The company focused on creating prototypes and iterating on them on a regular basis. In October 2020, the team started sharing some of its builds with players outside the company. For the past 18 months, the company has been collecting feedback on Spellcraft.
“We’ve been playing for over 18 months now with folks outside the company. And it makes a big difference. If you’re just sitting in a room trying to design a game and doing your best to make something that people want, you’re never quite as well informed as when you put it out in front of them and watch how they play it,” Wyatt said.
Only about 100 or so people have been playing externally. But Wyatt said that has made a real difference.
Wyatt said the funding will enable the company to launch the game. The venture funds asked for meetings with One More Game even though the company wasn’t raising money. That enabled the company to raise its first round, and then the playable game led to the latest funding.
The company had lots of conversations about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use the blockchain to authenticate unique digital items. But the company decided to focus on a more traditional business model, Wyatt said.
“One of the other things we really wanted to accomplish was to make a game that was both real time and playable across multiple devices. So you can play Fortnite on multiple devices, but you’re not really going to be competitive as a mobile player playing against PC players, right?” Wyatt said. “The mouse is such a high-precision, high-input device. And so we wanted to make a game that was real time and cross-playable. And so that’s what we endeavor to do is make a game that is going to work everywhere. We’re releasing on PC first, but we will do all platforms.”
As the second employee at Blizzard, Wyatt worked on big games in the past like Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft. He also cofounded ArenaNet, where he worked on Guild Wars and was a cofounder of En Masse Entertainment. On Warcraft, he found that superhero gamers mastered the real-time strategy game with 300 actions per minute. But he didn’t want that kind of gameplay to be intimidating to other players.
And while Warcraft and StarCraft games could go on for 45 minutes, Spellcraft’s game sessions will last around seven to 10 minutes.
“That’s a lot of excitement, compressed into a short period of time,” he said.
Winsor added, “What we’ve been building is real time and strategy, but it’s not a real-time strategy game. We’ve been releasing our game to this alpha group of players every week for the last 18 months. And those players are telling us they’re coming from real-time strategy, MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), CCGs (collectible card games), and other strategy games. And those are the players that are that tend to love Spellcraft.”
In the game, you control a group of players in an arena, and then you cast spells. The goal is to create a game that is fun and competitive to play, as well as fun to watch.
“But it’s not something that makes me sweaty by the end of it. With 300 actions per minute on StarCraft II, I’m not cut out for that anymore,” Winsor said. “What we’re trying to really over-index on is players with better game knowledge are the people that are winning and not who can queue up the most actions the fastest.”
The visualization of the game looks similar to a MOBA or auto battler game, Winsor said.
“But we’re specifically not trying to make an auto battler. We just drew some inspiration from them. So it’s a fixed camera perspective that looks over a battlefield,” he said.
While the playing field is small, the scope is large, Wyatt said. A roster of heroes will keep growing over time, and the heroes are grouped in factions that have access to different spells.
“They’re just a lot of spells that each team can bring in to allow the player to control the playfield,” Wyatt said. “We just want to give players a large experience where there are lots of choices.”
The company will add more alpha signups for a larger group in the middle of April. If it resonates, the company will continue with production and move on to beta testing as well.
“Sometime soon here we will start showing gameplay. One of the challenges we have is that, in building a brand new game, or tackling what amounts to a new genre, means that we really want to be the first to it. And we want to be a little cautious of fast follows,” Wyatt said.
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