Red Rover raises $5 million to “shake up” the survival genre

The founding team, consisting of 17 individuals, brings much experience working on renowned titles like DayZ, Conan Exiles, Crysis 2, Ryse, Ghost Recon, Dune Awakening, and Avakin Life. Red Rover’s studios are in Oslo, Norway, and Newcastle, England.
red rover interactive logo ver blue background.

Red Rover Interactive, a newly established studio formed by experienced multiplayer veterans, has raised nearly $5 million in seed funding for their upcoming multiplayer survival game. Fred Richardson, formerly the CTO at Funcom, is leading the company as CEO. 

Fred Richardson said: 

“Over the years, it’s been clear to many that the survival genre, which we are intimately familiar with, has real potential for breakout growth. However, we noticed a trend where the market was predominantly gravitating towards increasingly curated, PVE or smaller-scale multiplayer experiences.”

Richardson added: 

“We fundamentally believe that multiplayer and social interactions are the most unpredictable, exciting, and ultimately engaging form of gameplay. Players themselves, through their interactions and creativity, are the most compelling content. Leveraging this unparalleled power of social connections, social circles, and social drama, our ambition is to create the most novel and engaging experiences in online games – starting with the survival genre.”

The seed investment of nearly $5 million was led by Behold Ventures and The Games Fund, with Lifelike Capital, Gem Capital, and Acequia Capital also contributing as investors. Joining Richardson on the management team is COO Joe Stevens, previously in charge of Lockwood’s Newcastle studio; Design Director Marek Zilavy, who held the position of the lead game designer at Funcom and Bohemia Interactive, Technical Director Daniel Rätzer, who accumulated over a decade of experience at Funcom, and Art Director Sebastian Zimmerman, known for his work at Jagex, Crytek, Nordeus, and other companies.

With their combined expertise, including developing successful survival games such as DayZ and Conan Exiles, Red Rover’s team believes they have a competitive advantage in disrupting the genre. Their collective experience spans various game scales, ranging from massively multiplayer PC titles to mobile games-as-a-service.

Although Red Rover has yet to reveal details about their debut title, Richardson acknowledges the challenges ahead due to the enormous success of games like Valheim and the intense competition within the genre. Instead of pursuing traditional AAA development approaches, Red Rover intends to focus on player-driven content, multiplayer interactions, and player-versus-player gameplay to achieve breakout growth. They believe engaging multiplayer interactions have been pivotal in recent industry success stories and will drive growth in the survival space.

It’s known that interactions through a digital medium eliminate the feeling of consequences of one’s actions and hinders the ability to empathize. Because of this and basic human nature, servers of some survival games are filled with people fighting to ransack each others’ camps aimlessly. Aimlessly because in most of these games, having the most resources doesn’t serve any purpose or result other than having the most resources; it’s a fight for the sake of fighting and ransacking for the sake of it. 

Humans’ tendency to steer away from good when they know they’ll not suffer the consequences is obvious and etched in history multiple times. Fred Richardson is spot on in that “social drama” has unparalleled power. But the real challenge in their endeavor is to create a game universe that provides these social interactions without letting the game’s universe be invaded by players who enjoy griefing others just for the sake of griefing. To put it more simply, keeping their game universe safe from people who enjoy being evil just for the sake of it or just because they can. Otherwise, it’s not hard to predict that plenty of “drama” will occur in the game’s universe.

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