The company is revealing for the first time that the funding came from some all-star investors: Andreessen Horowitz, the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, former Blizzard president Mike Morhaime, Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, Super Evil Megacorp CEO Kristian Segerstrale, early Riot employee Jason Yeh, and En Masse Entertainment cofounder Chris Lee.
Patrick Wyatt (one of the founders of ArenaNet and En Masse Entertainment) and Jamie Winsor, a veteran of Undead Labs and Riot Games, founded One More Games last year.
They got that backing because One More Game is Wyatt’s fifth early-stage game company. He was the second employee at Blizzard Entertainment, where he spent nine years making games such as Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft. He spent nine years as a founder at ArenaNet, making games such as Guild Wars, and he did a stint for a few years working on games at Amazon. He left that job because he wanted to have more impact on the work being done.
“I wanted to go back to small companies, and so I started one,” Wyatt said in an interview with GamesBeat.
Wyatt isn’t talking about the game his studio is building, but he said the focus will be on “delightful games” that exceed expectations and fast iterations to make them better based on feedback. Rather than launch a huge and buggy beta version late in the process, Wyatt believes in doing quick builds and getting a feel for what players think of them early on.
“We want to iterate, and do multiple builds per day. As a developer, you don’t have to lose focus and wait for the build,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt got the idea for the game and the company back in 2018, and he recruited Winsor in March 2019.
“We decided to start a company after having worked together at three other companies,” said Wyatt in an interview with GamesBeat. “Once you know somebody that well, you have a pretty good idea whether they are going to do well in a startup.”
The idea of making a crossplay game is attractive because a player base can spread across multiple platforms. But Wyatt isn’t saying the game will have console versions yet because the console makers have been slow to approve crossplay games.
“It just seems like the best thing you can do is meet gamers where they are these days, as opposed to segregating them to different places where they can’t play together,” Wyatt said.
Raising money early, but staying small
Wyatt wasn’t planning on raising money. But then Andreessen Horowitz’s Jonathan Lai and Andrew Chen came knocking. They had heard Wyatt and Winsor were starting a company.
“They actually twisted our arms to do a presentation,” Wyatt said. “We put together one, went down, and visited them. After we were done, they said they wanted to fund our company. So we decided to raise money earlier than we planned.”
The studio now has six people, and it plans to grow to about 19. But Wyatt plans on operating lean. At such companies, he says developers can be intimately involved in the process of making the game.
“It’s going to be a small team, but when you spend a lot of time on automation, it makes people more powerful,” Wyatt said. “We used to throw labor at problems, but now we have computers for that. And it helps there is a bigger outsourcing industry.”
The company may outsource tasks such as sound, music, and art. And they’re using the Unity game engine. The game doesn’t have a launch window, but Wyatt wants to target the near future for launching core gameplay tests.
Wyatt’s goal is to enable developers to express their creativity in the development process. He doesn’t want to tell everybody what to do, as that reduces creativity.
“Developers would like to have a situation where they feel comfortable with what they’re doing, but perhaps not too comfortable,” Wyatt said. “You want to also stretch and do something beyond what you’ve done before. And you want to be in control of your own destiny.”
Wyatt said that nine years of making games at Blizzard was exhausting. He learned from that experience the benefits of being small but also the hardships of crunching, or working too many long hours.
“When you grow a company organically, it’s like being in the fire all the time, and it purifies the whole thing,” Wyatt said. “You figure it out or your company’s out of business. You have to have fun gameplay and good marketing and a business model and great art. So much has to come together. But I am at a point in my life where I would like to see my family.”
Don’t expect a single-player-only game that people can finish quickly and then move on to something else once they’re done.
“What I love to do is build something that people continue to enjoy for a long period of time,” Wyatt said.