Lightfox Games, a Seattle-based mobile games developer and publisher announced a seed round investment of $3.3M led by March Gaming, with participation from Hiro Capital and 1Up Ventures.
Co-founded by games industry veterans Ryan Hanft-Murphy, Jordan Arnold, Rex Downham and Tony Tewes, the team brings a wealth of experience from King, Zynga, EA, and Disney. The Lightfox founding team worked together at Z2, a Seattle mobile gaming studio acquired by King.
The newly raised funds will be used to grow the team and bring their first product, Super Battle League, to market. “The best games are built by small, passionate, talent-rich, multi-disciplinary teams that are open to and quick to react to player feedback,” says CEO Hanft-Murphy, who has shipped over 30 titles in his 17 years as a games developer.
Super Battle League is an innovative 3v3 real-time mixed PvE and PvP game where two teams race to see who can beat the boss first. To date, mobile midcore games have struggled with attracting and retaining a wider casual audience. Real-time multiplayer games like Brawl Stars and ‘battle royale’ games have been successful in offering midcore players a competitive outlet on mobile but haven’t drawn in a more casual audience. Lightfox Games believes they can capitalize on this underserved part of the market and expand the genre. The game presents as a casual party-based PvE game with its portrait orientation and one-handed play. Depth is subsequently layered in, as players get more exposed to PvP play and work to level up their gear while competing in hundreds of randomly generated arenas.
Part of the inspiration behind Super Battle League comes from the founders playing years of MMORPG games like World of Warcraft that have rich and deep social experiences. Those experiences often require hours of gameplay per session that don’t often translate well to mobile. Hanft-Murphy and Arnold believe they can capture the same magic from their days of raiding dungeons with friends and deliver it through short, compelling 3-minute competitive sessions. Head of Product, Jordan Arnold says, “We want to develop experiences that create shared stories among players when they play with their friends, and we want to ensure there is depth and progression that keeps them entertained and rewarded for a long time.” While Super Battle League is being built with some of the progression systems that players have grown accustomed to in more core experiences, such as weapon variety and leveling, perks, and cosmetics, the game is looking to casualize and introduce those systems over time to make sure more casual players feel at home.
Another angle of exploration for the company is the rapidly growing esports and mobile focused content creation scene. Few mobile only or mobile first games have yet to reach or sustain the heights on Twitch or YouTube that console and PC games have.
“We believe there is huge demand for compelling synchronous, real-time competitive experience on mobile, just as there is on pc and console. However, the market is currently underserved with few offerings designed for short session mobile play; we believe the Lightfox offering captures incredibly compelling mechanics and gameplay typically found only in much longer session core platform games,” says March Gaming’s Gregory Milken.
Ian Livingstone CBE, co-founder of Hiro Capital, commented, “I was instantly impressed by the experience and professionalism of the Lightfox team. Super Battle League is an inspired take, bringing the hack and slash genre to mobile devices in a fun, competitive and social fashion. Hiro Capital is delighted to be investing in such a promising team and vision.”
For information on Lightfox Games, visit www.lightfoxgames.com