During the pandemic’s darkest hours, millions upon millions of people turned to online gaming to pass the time and connect with pals they couldn’t see in person. However, finding a sociable, cooperative, enjoyable, and cross-platform gaming experience is exceedingly difficult — and Elodie Games is coming to alter that.
Christina Norman and David Banks, Elodie’s co-founders, are also veterans of the gaming business, have worked at Riot Games on the global success League of Legends. The two — who were also partners — departed the company in 2019 to start their own, declaring their plans in 2020 to create games with a focus on co-op, cross-play, and “endlessly entertaining experiences,” which suggests more open-ended, sandbox play.
The team already has 30 members (and is growing), and the game they’re working on is still a mystery; the photos on its website are only concept art, not actual development. But what they demonstrated behind closed doors was certainly enough to garner a $32.5 million Series A funding round from Galaxy Interactive and a16z, with Patron’s Brian Cho and Electric Ant’s Chris Ovitz also participating. The company last rose $5 million in 2020 to get things started and they’ve definitely made good use of it. The basic aim, according to Norman, is to remove the restrictions that many gamers have come to accept as unavoidable.
She told TechCrunch, “At the most basic level, we’re building our game so that people have these fantastic experiences more readily and frequently.” “The first step is to eliminate the friction that prevents you from playing with your buddies in the first place. Most social multiplayer games are divided into groups based on their platform, time commitment, purchases, or skill level, limiting who they can play with and how they can play with them. While there are individual examples of how to overcome these limitations (Among Us, for example), overall progress has been slow, and we are excited to accelerate it.”
Even the tiniest amount of friction, such as one person having to upgrade their app or OS, another not being able to get the lobby to load, an Android-iOS conflict arising, and so on, might stop a nascent play session in its tracks. We ended up playing the mediocre games included in video chat apps since they always worked. Even back then, it depended on the mood of the crowd, and being able to decide what sounds like fun as a group is another aspect of Elodie’s ambition.
Cross-platform game development isn’t as difficult as it once was, thanks to shared architectures like Unreal and Unity, but it’s still no walk in the park. “Of course, new engine technology aids in the facilitation of cross-play, but it does not make it enjoyable. “Traditional cross-platform development methodologies are sluggish, expensive, and repetitive,” according to Banks. “That’s why we’re focusing on what we term the true cross-play experience from day one in Elodie’s development procedures to create great cross-play.”