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Bitod, a new Finnish development company, is a bit strange, well. The new studio, founded by some of the minds behind Supercell’s Clash of Clans, has great ambitions. With the help of Index Ventures, the company plans to become the next big thing in mobile games.
Index Ventures, European venture capital firms have a long history of supporting successful mobile gaming groups. In the list of investments including King, Supercell, Roblox and Dream Games, Index seems to be doing the right thing. Currently, the company feels “something special” about Bitod. This is special enough to make an investment of € 5 million for the new company.
At an online meeting with Lasse Lugent, we talked about his new company, working from home and the creative process.
GamesBeat: What is the background to your journey as a game developer?
Russell-Gent: My childhood dream was always to have my own game company. I’ve loved games since I started playing games in 1980. England at that time was like a mecca for C64.[Commodore 64] game. Then America and Japan. A big fan of Nintendo.
For me, Japan didn’t work. I didn’t go to Japan except for some exhibitions. Landed on a variety of things, including PC games and point-and-click adventure games. After that, I was involved in console games for AAA studios for 8 years. Next, move on to mobile.
I landed on Supercell, where I was one of the early members. I will lead the Clash of Clans team. I was a game leader and art director. I think I’m mature enough to fly on my own. This is a team sport, so we all feel the same. We want to try something that makes us feel comfortable, such as creating this bubble of creativity that we want to work with.
GamesBeat: Why did you decide to start a new company?
Russell-Gent: We don’t make games for money. We make games to make it better. I have some wrinkles, but I still think I’m pretty young. I feel like I’m good at games, so I make them, but I still have a lot to learn. We need to continue to learn the lessons of Supercell’s success. All failures from the past are equally important to move forward and build a solid foundation.
GamesBeat: How did you decide on your company name?
Russell-Gent: There are multiple reasons for that. There were 500 candidates, but the geeks in me like words like “bits” on computers. But it’s also “a little”. Nintendo has a so-called deep-sea strategy. In other words, we are trying to find new areas that can entertain people. Find a new form of fun. There are many copycats in the mobile market who see market leaders and want to do it. And that’s nothing wrong. That strategy works, but my game enthusiast wants to dig deeper. Maybe there’s something we’ve never seen or played before. That is why we are here. In that sense, it’s a little strange.
GamesBeat: Tell us about what you are working on.
Russell-Gent: The new blog post has become quite clear in some respects. You need to read between the lines, right? We are crazy about creativity. What I’m really excited about is seeing our game could be played by millions of people. When I go abroad to Barcelona and see local teens and adults playing our games, it’s a success for me. So creating a very popular product with a new IP is something I’m curious about. The large-scale DAU (Daily Active Users), which is a merit of great success, is a by-product. We know how to distill it into user acquisition, monetization, etc … In our case, the priorities are a little different. We focus on a great gameplay experience and user description that keeps players happy. Monetary things accompany it.
GamesBeat: What was the game that inspired you to enter this business?
Russell-Gent: Mario, Super Metroid, and everything else. It is a nostalgic memory. When Breath of the Wild was released, I attended the GDC (Game Developers Conference), and producer Eiji Aonuma used the Japanese word “gut”, which means “to stir the soul.” If you do something incredibly cool, it stirs the player’s soul. You get goose bumps, you go, oh, that’s something special. Like someone coming in and making extra effort. I’m not talking about explicit storytelling, I’m talking about storytelling through gameplay mechanics.
GamesBeat: You and your team work in the office. How do you feel this is better than remote work?
Russell-Gent: There is an office. We are the most beautiful … [Laughs] No, we have a very compact and very small office, but we designed it ourselves. We like nerds, so we basically focus on good chairs and good lighting. I know a lot of people like remote work, and remote work is great. We’re so small that I believe that the best idea comes from someone saying something and someone else grabbing it and spawning another thread. Then someone is joining these two threads. you know what i mean?
GamesBeat: Yes, such interactions can be difficult with remote work.
Russell-Gent: yes. I had a good idea today. You feel the soul upset. And when I put it out and other people say “Hmm”, I feel that something is there. Many of these people are gamers. They really love crafting. They are passionate about it. This is different from 9-5 different ways of thinking. I often compare with Sophia. What are your habits when giving birth to a baby? You know, a woman …
Russell-Gent: Midwife! [Laughs] It’s the profession you have a calling. I think it’s similar. We love it.
GamesBeat: What are your first plans for a new investment?
Russell-Gent: Investment helps us develop games. First and foremost, Finland has a lot of talent. We aim to get the best people working here. Currently, there are not many people. At the age of 6, we have scaled up to 10 people. I think 10 people can ship the first game. Acquire top talent. There are dinosaurs like me who have been in the game for 30 years. But we also seek fresh talent with the right combination of fresh energy and old wisdom. I think it’s a really, really powerful combination. It’s very similar to team sports. Supercell didn’t have a game designer. It was our duty to improve the game little by little, little by little every day.
GamesBeat: Tell us about your current team.
Russell-Gent: From Supercell, with me, Jani Lintunen and Taneli Oksama. They are my old colleagues. I worked in Jani for 10 years and in Taneri for 20 years. They are the people I trust, but I was also very fortunate to have three new Kick-Ass programmers. They are the stars of the future.
GamesBeat: Which position are you trying to add?
Russell-Gent: We are currently looking for programmers and artists, but we cannot say no to our talents. Talent comes in many forms. So you don’t have to have a Harvard CV. [Laughs] Do you know if anyone is in it by where their motives are? What do they want to do? You can usually find out if people are really interested in creating great games. The best game in the world.
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After a seed round from The Index Ventures, Bitod is preparing for success
https://venturebeat.com/2022/06/28/bit-odd-gears-up-for-success-after-seed-round-from-index-ventures/ After a seed round from The Index Ventures, Bitod is preparing for success