Many game developers of my generation have similar stories. We were the misfits that carried multi colored dice in our pockets, hid our action figures in our closets and camped at the comic store each week for the newest issues. Star Wars was the event that every kid remembered where they were when they saw it. For us, it changed geekdom forever. Our parents accused us of using video games to escape reality, but these worlds gave us the ability to have an impact. To dream, to struggle, to compete and ultimately to make our dent in the universe (even if it was only digital). Then we grew up and starting making games as our profession.
Game developers live the dream scenario where passion meets work. We don’t view our week as something to get through so we can really live on the weekend. But often, developers must compromise and decide — do I work on a blockbuster game where I have less personal impact or the gutsy indie studio that struggles to get noticed? Our vision is to create a studio that doesn’t require them to choose.
As lifelong gamers, we approached this problem like we are embarking on an epic quest.
The most important part of our quest is WHY are we doing this? We can’t say we are going to Mount Doom to save the world, but we do think deeply about what we love about games. One of the most rewarding parts of creating any game, be it a D&D campaign or a massive persistent world, is the connection you have to the players themselves. You get to see the player’s reactions, you get to respond to them and make their experience better over time. It’s like the warmth of friends around a bonfire, sharing stories.
And that’s why we named our studio BONFIRE. The bonfire is a metaphor for the experiences we wish to create. We want friends to connect through our games and share amazing experiences, tell the stories, and come closer together.
To ensure our developers have a big impact we are organizing them into small but powerful and diverse superhero teams, like the Avengers. We believe you can create epic games with small teams of talented, self-driven game developers, where each team is deeply connected to their players and empowered to make the best decisions to evolve their game without bureaucracies, committees or middle management in their way.
To give us the ability to operate with independence and create the games we want, we had to find amazing investors. If we are going to create a superhero team, we needed our version of Shield. Afterall, superhero bases are not free. But we need more than financial backing, we wanted true partners that could give us sage advice about the road ahead, connect us to future partners and most importantly who share our vision for Bonfire Studios.
We are extremely fortunate to find our partners in Riot Games and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Riot’s aspiration to be the most player-focused game company in the world, aligns very nicely with our vision to build friendships through our online games. With a16z, we found a treasure trove of experienced entrepreneurs that have a wealth of knowledge about how to create a great and enduring company.
Today we announcing our company, but we look forward to continuing the conversation with our community in the coming months and years.