Landmark mobile studio puts $4.6 million in its sails

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Landmark, a British mobile game studio that promises to deliver highly social experiences playable only with a smartphone, has just raised $4.6 million in seed funding.

Mobile games are transforming the conventional gaming audience of consoles and PCs into a true mass market opportunity. The attractive graphics offered by the latest smartphones have seen mobile studios enter a plethora of genres, from role-playing games to mega-franchises like modern warfare shoot ’em up Call of Duty. With micro-purchases and in-game advertising, many studios can even make their mobile games free upon download.

As the mobile game market continues to swell, Landmark’s first maritime adventure, the free-to-play “Sea of ​​Souls”, aims to appeal to gamers who lose interest when the games get too competitive.

By actively courting the market opposed to the ever-growing eSports genre, Landmark believes it will benefit from increased interest in cooperative gameplay.

Along with CEO Dave Burpitt, Landmark’s directing duo Jonathan Chisholm and James Older have previously found success running mobile game studio Big Pixel, creators of a smartphone game adaptation of the cartoon series Rick and Morty. Big Pixel has since been acquired by global entertainment conglomerate WarnerMedia.

Besides Big Pixel, big releases from Landmark developers at other studios have included a modern smartphone take on the classic Runescape PC RPG.

Burpitt says there are potentially “billions” of people in the mobile gaming market who would buy fast-paced action experiences, but without the pressure of fending off rival gamers.

“We want to fundamentally change the experience by dismantling the negative expectations of being outdone or beaten by your friends in exchange for participating in what should be a fun gaming session,” Burpitt said.

In Sea of ​​Souls, friends play on the same team to navigate a maritime navy against a common AI-controlled enemy; the “dreadful” Lord Kraken. And Landmark creative director James Older is confident that Souls will be the “best place” for cooperative mobile gaming with friends.

“Players are looking for quality experiences for regular social gaming sessions, such as strategizing for raids in Destiny or navigating together in Sea of ​​Thieves.

“Experiences currently on offer have high barriers to entry, whether limited to specific platforms or complex first-person controls. We promise handcrafted and highly accessible adventures for all to enjoy.”

Landmark says the $4.6 million seed round will help boost its workforce to 20.

The round was led by Project A Ventures and InReach Ventures, with participation from Moonfire Ventures, Concept Ventures and numerous UK gaming angels including Nick-Button Brown and Kartik Prabhakara.

Project A Ventures director Jack Wang said Sea of ​​Souls fit his team’s search for a “genre hybrid” mobile game to invest in. He says a Souls playtest quickly demonstrated the strength of the game’s core mechanics.

“It was a combination of small missions that you can play on a bus, collect weapons, items, etc., and then use those items in longer party raids at night with your friends,” Wang explained.

“We haven’t seen many unique combinations of this in mobile games and believe this could be the next winner of the genre, especially for the next billion mobile first gamers.”

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