Ex-BioWare and Pandemic boss nets $15 million for new studio, Rumble

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 1 December 2011 22:54 GMT

One-time BioWare and Pandemic CEO Greg Richardson leads an all-star veteran team in a new mobile gaming venture.

VentureBeat reports Rumble Entertainment has secured $15 million in funding, with the majority contributed by Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

The new studio in Redwood already has 25 staffers on board. Besides Richardson, other notable names include Mark Spenner, who founded EA2D before it became BioWare San Francisco, World of Warcraft lead designer John Yoo.

Rumble doesn’t plan to become just another mobile gaming developer, and isn’t interested in wooing the FarmVille and Smurfs Village crowd.

“The future of video games points not at the casual audience, but rather people who know they love video games,” Richardson said, adding that the studio’s vision is to “marry what makes console and PC games wonderful in terms of engagement and immersion with the lifestyle of not always being in front of a big-screen television.”

“It’s all about finding the very best developers in the world and letting them do what they do best, which is letting them make great games.”

Asked about Infinity Blade, often considered one of the best core-like mobile experiences, Richardson was complimentary but dismissive.

“I think they’ve just barely scratched the surface in terms of potential and in terms of game design,” he said.

“The thing that they did that’s close to the old world way of thinking is that they’re still charging for the download. They’re not embracing the notion that users, I think, want to play games if they fall in love with them.”

That said, Rumble’s aware of the distaste many gamers feel for micro transactions and other new models, and wants to find ways to monetise “in a way that feels indicative of the kind of value they’re getting”.

“Not that they have to pay up front or that they’re feeling manipulated by the game to invite a hundred friends or, you know, just having some silly energy bar being bolted onto the game,” he added.

The studio has two games in development but isn’t ready to share details.

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