Halo co-creator raises $5 million to make "mobile games for core gamers"

Alex Seropian's studio Industrial Toys lands $5 million investment from venture capital firm; first game Midnight Star planned to launch this summer.

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Industrial Toys, the indie studio founded by Halo co-creator Alex Seropian, has raised $5 million in a round of venture capital funding from Accel Partners to help launch Midnight Star, its mobile game designed for core gamers. The investment was announced through various media interviews.

Accel Partners previously invested in Angry Birds developer Rovio and Clash of Clans creator Supercell. Now the firm is hoping that its bet on Seropian, whose Halo series has sold more than 50 million copies to date, is onto something lucrative with free-to-play game Midnight Star.

"Our plan is to build something with a permanence to it," Seropian told VentureBeat. "It seems obvious to us that core gamers will move to mobile."

For its part, Accel Partners' Vas Natarajan said that Seropian and Industrial Toys "have a vision and focus on quality. They made their first product on a scrappy budget, but it is going to be very polished."

Midnight Star, which features music from System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian, is expected to launch this summer.

Seropian founded Bungie Studios in 1991 and was instrumental in the development of Halo: Combat Evolved, the first entry in the now-mammoth shooter series. Seropian later left Bungie and formed Wideload Games in 2004, which Disney purchased in 2009.

With that acquisition, Seropian was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of core games at Disney Interactive, the position he departed from in 2012 to establish Industrial Toys. You can read more about Industrial Toys in our interview with Seropian.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

55 comments
scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

Smartphone games have their place, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them for casual gamers.  There aren't many core gamers out there who are really into Candy Crush or Candy Crash or whatever it's called though.  Usually when I'm waiting around for anything (like an oil change because it's free for me for now) I fire up an emulator.  For me they're going to have to make the games more appealing compared to what I can do with an emulator.

mr_nee
mr_nee

To all the "core-gamers-don't-play-mobile" whiners -- a lot of you have Vita's and 3DS'. Smartphone is the same shit with little more akward controlls. But if the game is engaging enough you'll get used to it in about 30 mins. Try out "Backstab" or "9mm" - great games

hystavito
hystavito

Permanence, ongoing, as in recurring revenue from microtransactions :).

MylesB93
MylesB93

"It seems obvious to us that core gamers will move to mobile."... April fools?

northArrow
northArrow

Non sequitur! You can't make a moble game for core gamers


ghost59
ghost59

should just make it for pc. you wouldnt limit your  self in power

nazgoroth
nazgoroth

Mobile... core gamers?

THEY DO NOT EXIST!!! i own a Sony xperia Z1, a phone with enough processing power to potentially run games with relatively alright gfx and framerate... but trying to control a game using a touch screen... or worse yet, the magnetometer, is downright horrid.

I use my phone for a few things, "social" interaction, commerce and by far mostly... pissing about looking up random stuff...

Gaming? no sorry, if i want mobile gaming i'll use my psvita, or if nintendo catches my attention again, a 3ds (don't currently own one).

cherublvl99
cherublvl99

What is a mobile core gamer? A guy that make more than 100 score on Flappy Birds?

surrealme
surrealme

Wasn't overly impressed by the game footage, but the motion graphics work in that trailer is outstanding.

bibleverse1
bibleverse1

Core gamers dont play games on tablets and smartphones if they can avoid it.

Dack_Lancer
Dack_Lancer

since G1 days i been running emulators on my phone playing real games and imports from snes to psp i never downloaded them stupid mainstream games that trick you into cashing 

LickTheEnvelope
LickTheEnvelope

If he means mobile on 3DS or Vita then I could see it... if he means Smartphones then he's a silly man.

Kjranu
Kjranu

What a waste of money. I could use some of that ... 

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

"Mobile games, core gamers."

Water, and oil.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"mobile games for core gamers" That sentence is a contradiction! 

Mando44646
Mando44646

I dont care about phone games. Put it on Vita/3DS and Id be more than interested

diji112
diji112

sir, i will not move to mobile

broly180
broly180

XBOX ONE STILL SUCK..........

steelmouth
steelmouth

Maybe am not core enough but in my world mobile and core games don't not mix ever, so if its not in some kinder of console or PC am not interested, thank you

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

that's why you have consoles and pc; i think you can find the "core gamer" already there.

theKSMM
theKSMM

Everyone is pooh-poohing the idea that good games can appear on a mobile device not dedicated to gaming, but I thank God for cheap mobile games that help me get through interminable waits at the post office or dentist or on the train. 

I don't need to be playing Halo all the time to have fun.

theKSMM
theKSMM

How dare he bypass Kickstarter and get his funding from somewhere else!

Saidrex
Saidrex

lol. Core gamers play real games on real gaming platforms.

kingfish1984
kingfish1984

As long as touch screens are the primary control there will never be hardcore games on mobile.  This guy is wasting is time and money.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

Looks like Eddie got april fools'd. Copy pasting articles from random places on the internet finally backfired on ya.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

My mobile phone isn't even capable of playing games - it just does calls and texting.  Yes, I am old-fashioned.

hardeddie
hardeddie

No core gamers will waste time on F2P model and also no core gamers spend time on their mobiles playing games unless they are bored to death. Mobile games are well known for short levels which cut the immersion, lack of story, poor touch controls, IAP / dlc, smaller screen, limited battery power, device tend to heat up quickly, games cut by incoming calls, etc. But we all know this. Betting for core gamers going mobile is a tough proposition. Yet this is intresting to see.

Smosh150
Smosh150

Those words do not belong in the same sentence.

strawhat1987
strawhat1987

@theKSMM You say that £5 for a mobile game is cheap? Anything above £2-3 is rip a off and not to mention all those £10-£15 games they have

steelmouth
steelmouth

@theKSMM  True but lets get it straight this are mobile games period, so lets not call them hardcore or anything like that no matter how awesome they may be they steel just mobile games, thank you

BeefoTheBold
BeefoTheBold

@theKSMM  

Or you could just buy a Nintendo 3DS or Playstation Vita.

I'm not saying that there can't be fun and engaging phone app games. Plague Inc. comes to mind, but they are not going to suck in the core gamer in large numbers simply because they are an inferior experience.

Add onto that the detested "free to play" label with all that implies and this is a waste of money.

reacher42
reacher42

@theKSMM  Finally someone who doesn't immediately hate anything mobile.

McGregor
McGregor

@Gallowhand  After my company no longer provides, and/or pays for mine, I'm going to do the same thing. I don't really have a need for the "smart" part of a phone.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@strawhat1987 I evaluate my entertainment on its value.  If I buy a game for one or two dollars and get an hour of enjoyment from it, then I feel like I've gotten my money's worth.  It's still cheaper than going to the cinema, for example.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@steelmouth That "hardcore" label means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say what is or isn't hardcore.  But I don't need every game to be hardcore; I just want to have fun.  And while FPS games may not translate well to a touchscreen mobile device, other game types -- adventure games, strategy games, puzzles -- play quite well, arguably better on mobile devices than they do with game controllers.

Maybe those genres don't fit everyone's definition of "hardcore" but I'm still excited by the prospect of AAA games on a mobile device.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@BeefoTheBold @theKSMM @GallowhandI already have a Vita and a 3DS.  I love playing them both.  But they're for different style of gaming, mostly when I can sit down somewhere.  And usually when I have more than ten or fifteen minutes to spare.


Mobile games tend to be less restrictive about how/when you play them.  Some of them I can even play one-handed.  And because my smartphone tends to be with me all the time, I can still have gaming options when I wasn't expecting to play anything.


If you want to read a longer version of my thoughts, go here.  But suffice it to say that handheld gaming is no better replacement for mobile gaming than it is for console gaming.  They each have their place in the gaming universe.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

@noandno @Gallowhand Of course not.  I just use the crank handle on the side to wind it up. :P

hardeddie
hardeddie

Lets compete for the high score on the Snake game :D