Theorycraft Games, a brand new studio recently founded by former Riot Games, Bungie, Blizzard Entertainment, and Valve developers, is already making headway into its debut project.
Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, founder and CEO Joe Tung, previously an executive vice president of League of Legends and who served as an executive producer on Destiny and Halo, confirmed that Theorycraft Games is focusing on its first game instead of multiple projects owing to a small team.
While the unannounced debut game remains without any proper details for the time being, Tung noted that the current goal is to “get to market early and then build the game with our players.” As such, playtesting has already begun with a small group of external testers which will be broadened over time until Theorycraft Games finally considers an early access release.
Tung was not willing to pin down a genre, intended platforms, or the like, but did confirm that the in-development game will be free-to-play. That falls right into what Theorycraft Games stands for: “to be a community-driven game studio” with a “direct and honest relationship with players.”
“When you want to reach as many players as possible, and be focused on a deep, long-term relationship with your community, free-to-play GAAS is such a powerful model,” noted Tung. “It eliminates the barrier to entry for players and makes it super easy for them to share the game with friends. GAAS means as a developer you can be focused on the long-term – you don’t have to make short-term decisions that might be right in the moment but wrong for players overall.”
Importantly though, with Theorycraft Games sticking with free-to-play games, the question of in-game monetization becomes a natural concern. Thankfully, Tung and his veteran team of developers have that area covered.
“Having led League of Legends for years – it’s clear to me that it’s possible to provide an experience that represents best-in-class value per hour of entertainment for players, while also being an incredible, long-term, sustainable business for our company,” assured Tung before adding that players will only have to spend money when they decide the value is there. Thus tasking the developer to “create tons of value for players.”
Besides the obvious League of Legends franchise, Theorycraft Games includes developers who have worked on heavyweights like Valorant, Overwatch, Halo, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2 as well; all of which share a single, massive universe. Tung believes it is too soon to “close the door on multiple universes at this point [since] there are great reasons to invest in a single universe and there are great reasons to expand as well.” That decision will be made later on but for now, the studio remains focused on “making something players will love” which “can run the gamut of the human experience emotionally, and that means humor, seriousness, light, dark, grim, cute – all of the above.”
The competitive community will furthermore be happy to know that esports is central to the design policy. The first game from the studio “is already really fun to spectate,” teased Tung, who hopes that there will hopefully be some potential there to explore. “If players show us that we have something esports-worthy and that’s a direction they are excited about going in together, we would be thrilled to build it with them.”
There is currently no tentative release window of when Theorycraft Games will be making a reveal. The studio will “ideally” choose to self-publish but is willing to “work with greater partners” where needed to widen reach, which is important because Theorycraft wants its games to be accessible all over the globe without any platform or regional limitations.
“We say that we want to meet players wherever they are, regardless of where they live in the world, what platform they choose to play on, or how much they can spend – so in that regard, a new generation of consoles doesn’t really influence our strategy much at all.”
Theorycraft Games secured $37.5 million in funding last month for launch which was led by NetEase.