J.J. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot is expanding into video games. The Aptly named Bad Robot Games is the official video game branch of J.J. Abrams' company. The company has raised over $40 million in funding, led by Galaxy Interactive and Horizons Ventures and with participation from ICONIQ Capital, Tencent, and Horizons Ventures.
Funding and hiring have been the center of the company's goals over the past year. In early 2020, Bad Robot hired Anna Sweet to be CEO of Bad Robot Games Studio, and the funding will help the studio 'create games that will be captivating both to watch and to play, according to the press release.'
To quote Sweet exactly:
"Galaxy, Horizons and ICONIQ Capital comprise a veritable VC Dream Team, and we are grateful to have their continued support as we look to change the way people interact with and view video games… With this funding, we are able to build out both the studio and co-development sides of our operation, and create games that cross platforms, cross mediums and are based on IP originating from both games and linear content. We are very much looking forward to announcing our first titles."
Do we have an announcement for the first game of Bad Robot Games?
We don't know yet what the first title will be, or whether or not it's Star Wars or Star Trek, but we do know it'll be AAA. The game will be developed in collaboration with Bad Robot's Film, TV, and Animation departments. Based on J.J. Abrams' works in film and TV, it will likely be groundbreaking.
Galaxy Interactive General Partners Sam Englebardt and Richard Kim led the financing for the company, aligning with Galaxy Interactive's focus on video games and game studios.
"Bad Robot is one of the most forward-looking and creative companies in the industry. I've known Brian and Anna for many years and the opportunity to join forces with them as they grow their videogame division was something we couldn't miss. Consistent with Bad Robot's long history of creative innovation, I'm certain they're going to develop and bring to market revolutionary titles that will change and advance the way that we visualize, interact with and, more broadly, define games."
Brian Weinstein, President, and COO of Bad Robot, also the one mentioned in the previous quote, said:
"In closing this round of financing, we are incredibly grateful for the confidence and faith our financial and strategic partners have showed in all of us and particularly in the leadership team at Bad Robot Games. Under Anna's guidance and with a growing, creative and experienced leadership team, we can't wait to build and release our games."
Sweet previously worked on the founding team of Valve's Steam platform. Furthermore, she worked for the Oculus and Facebook VR product teams. Michael Booth, creator and lead designer of Left 4 Dead, was appointed GM of Bad Robot Games Studio after Sweet was hired.
Bad Robot Games has also hired industry veterans Joe Rumsey (as Technical Director) and Oneil Howell (as Senior Level Designer) to help realize its plans. Additional funding will also go toward expanding the staff. During Rumsey's 25 years in the games industry, he worked on the original World of Warcraft team. Howell worked at Oculus in their research and development department and Just Cause 3 and 4 at Avalanche Studios.