Finnish mobile studio PlayRaven has only released a single game but has already received $2.3 million in seed funding in January 2014, with an additional $4.1 million extended seed round investment in December 2014.
The studio’s first production, a WW2-themed iOS game called Spymaster, was released in September 2014, and with the newest $4.1 million investment, it was thus time to look forward towards what might become the next big thing in mobile gaming. And according to PlayRaven CEO, Lasse Seppänen, there are in fact two brand new titles in production.
The first is a real-time strategy game and the second is a post-apocalpytic-themed massively multiplayer game. Both of the games differ greatly from the already-released Spymaster game, and Seppänen says that they will also differ from most other games currently available on mobile.
“For us it’s important to take creative risks and not to copy what’s on the grossing list. In the game industry there’s often concern among developers that some investors can be quite hands on and impact production. We are lucky to have investors who trust us and don’t want to get involved in game design”, Seppänen says.
“Spymaster was so successful that we will definitely revisit it, but otherwise we’re going to be exploring new territory and aiming to define the next billion dollar subgenre.”
Read more about: How Spymaster Went Mainstream by going against the trends
Additionally, Seppänen adds, the most important thing to remember when you negotiate with investors is that they invest in your team, and not your game. “They are investing in your team and your company, so you should talk to them mostly about your team, your company and your business strategy. Obviously it’s important to pitch your game, show a demo and have great materials, but don’t get lost in talking about the details of the design – they are not developers, they invest in companies and you should talk about your company.”
According to PlayRaven, 2015 will be the year where fresh titles will prevail on the top grossing charts, and we’ll start seeing completely new themes and mechanics explored. This would be a refreshing change for the mobile games scene where titles like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush have consistently sat on the top spots of the App Store charts for the past several years, spawning entire sub-genres of mobile games around their success. And PlayRaven wants to help the change on its way by doing their part of the job.
“With PlayRaven, every new game we put out will be trying something bold and will be completely different from the last game.”, Seppänen says to NordicGameBits.
Also on the roadmap for 2015 is a reboot of the Spymaster franchise – in large due to the great success the first game saw, says Seppänen who also mentions that the studio is in fact in the process of hiring a whole new team to be in charge of the reboot.
“Our dream is to create new classics and genres. Who knows, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll make the next Civilization. Right now mobile is the perfect place to pursue that dream.”
Building the best games requires the best team, and PlayRaven is very well aware of this. The studio’s latest addition to the team is their new Lead Artist, Stuart, who has previously worked on Quantum Break at Remedy and the GTA series at Rockstar, and Seppänen emphasizes that the focus on hiring an experienced team is part of an overall strategy to position PlayRaven as the go-to studio for former AAA developers who want to enter the mobile market.
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“We’re working hard to make PlayRaven the number one destination for people coming from a AAA background who want to start making mobile games. Many of our employees have backgrounds in both console and mobile, as we want to have a team that’s looking beyond the current state of mobile and thinking about just how far we can take the platform.”