Nonstop Games was a Singapore-based mobile games studio run by Finnish developers. Their hit game was strategy title Heroes of Honor.
In 2014, it was acquired by Candy Crush maker King forabout US$16 million. Two years later, Nonstop Games shuttered.
But the journey for its employees did not end there. They pressed on, scouring the game development landscape for new compatriots to join their next adventure. Along the way, they recruited talents from renowned gaming studios such as Ubisoft, EA and LucasArts.
With renewed vigour in their hearts and a hardy band of developers to boot, the Nonstop Games alumni roared back with a spanking new enterprise.
They called it Mighty Bear Games.
And today, Mighty Bear raised US$775,000 in a round led by Global Founders Capital, the venture capital arm of Rocket Internet.
Mighty Bear will use the newly-raised financing to develop its new mobile MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game). Details of the game have not been disclosed.
It is interesting to note that despite receiving offers from the US and Europe — two markets with long history of producing top rated games — the Nonstop Games alumni chose to, once again, base their gaming studio in Singapore.
“One of the interesting developments we’ve seen is that Singapore-based studios are starting to gain traction with their own IP,” says co-founder and CEO Simon Davis, in an interview withe27.
“We see a trend developing where game development studios in Singapore are now being founded by guys like us with 5, or even 10+ years experience working in big AAA studios,” he adds. “This wouldn’t have been possible if the government hadn’t made such an effort bringing in top multi-national studios over the past few years — many of us on the team, including myself, directly benefited from that.”
While Davis says Mighty Bear is platform-agnostic, it will still be focussing on making mobile games. But he does not rule out building games for consoles or desktops in the future.
The studio will also target the multiplayer gaming market.
“We love playing multiplayer games, and we feel there’s a huge gap in the market for online multiplayer games which are not completely skewed toward your typical hardcore gamer,” says Davis.
“This is an area that’s really interesting, because the challenge is to create games which have a competitive element, but are still accessible to people who may not consider themselves hardcore gamers.”
The Mighty Bear team may eat and breathe games, but they are not just button-mashing geeks; as a creative force, they also take inspiration from all other forms of art (yes, gaming is an art too).
“I studied music so that makes approaching the creative process a bit different. We also read a lot which is a great way to get new ideas and approaches. Finally, we watch a lot of movies together – movie nights and ‘Popcorn Fridays’ are two Mighty Bear traditions,” says Davis.
“Other than that we’re all hardcore gamers. We have a weekly ‘gaming club’ where we all sit down and compare notes on a pre-agreed game and discuss what we liked and what we didn’t about it.”
So what are Davis’s all-time favourite games?
“I’d say that Super Mario 64 was the first game that really blew me away, Street Fighter II was the first game that got me hooked on multiplayer. For scale and awe it might be The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild or Shadow of the Colossus. Candy Crush has the perfect puzzle combination of skill, luck, and amazing player feedback, and lately. I’ve been absolutely loving Brawl Stars on mobile.”
The mobile app market is a lucrative industry, it is projected to hit US$189 billion with mobile gaming accounting for more thanhalf the share.
In Singapore’s backyard, China’s mobile games market collectedUS$7 billion in revenue in 2015. This figure is set to continue to grow exponentially as mobile usage increases and more games are developed.
If Mighty Bear can claw out its own niche in this increasingly saturated space, the sweet dew of revenue will surely come forth easily.