Tampere-based Big Bang Racing developer Traplight has secured a $2.7 million funding round.
The studio aims to use the money scale up its team and develop new titles focused on player creativity and user generated content.
The funding round was led by VC firm Korea Investment Partners, which has previously invested in companies such as Seriously, Super Evil Megacorp and Huuuge Games. Other investors included Sunstone Capital, Finnvera and angel investor Shukri Shammas.
The Minecraft generation
The round brings total funding in the studio to $5 million.
Traplight’s first game was UGC-focused title Big Bang Racing, in which players have created over 7.3 million levels. As of August 2016, the game had been downloaded more than three million times.
Speaking to PocketGamer.biz, Art Director Jari Paananen said the studio will continue to focus on user generated content in its games given the success of Big Bang Racing and its inherently social nature.
“When you have created something, you also want to share it with other people and this creates a social loop,” he said.
“It is something that ties the community together and drives retention. Games like Minecraft are the trailblazers in UGC. The new generation of gamers that have grown with both Minecraft and mobile devices take it pretty much as granted that you should be able to create, share and express yourself in mobile games as well. And of course we agree.
"Our goal is to create the games that the Minecraft generation will play for years in to the future.”
The team aims to use the funding to grow to around 30 staff – enough to support three simultaneous development teams with a shared marketing and support team.
Teasing a possible future for its games, Paananen said the studio has learned a big lesson from its previous release Big Bang Racing, having underestimated just how valuable the social nature of UGC is.
“We will be looking into different social medias and messaging platforms and their ease of use and usage standards to get reference on how to remove the barriers for social behaviour,” he said.
“We will also take a deep look into the nature of User Generated Content, and the types of relationships that the content creator and the player can have in games. These things will help us design the social structures and tools needed in our games.”
Traplight already has two new titles new in the work, where it is investigating “different avenues on different kinds of gameplay”.
“We will always rely on UGC to be an integral part of our games, but gameplay, the type of UGC and game scope can be very different from Big Bang Racing - and will be,” said Paananen.