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Incredible dream raised a $ 2 million startup round to develop a fantasy game series for tabletop gaming fans.
The Los Angeles-based studio is developing a game called Kinfire Chronicles and making its original fantasy world, characters, games and transmedia experiences for people who want to meet in person.
Jane Chung Hoffacker is the CEO of Incredible Dream. She was executive producer on Riot Games’ Arcade, the popular animated television series on Netflix, and was also an early leader in the development of League of Legends. General Catalyst led the way.
She said the studio wants to modernize tabletop games for people who long to escape together. It’s been a record year for the $ 12 billion tabletop industry, with popular games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and more. Kickstarter has helped tabletop gaming a lot as it’s like Steam is for board games. And the gaming boom has spread to tabletop games as well.
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“We have managed to attract a lot of triple-A game talent,” said Chung Hoffacker. “And we all play board games here. One reason for this is that we see gaming as a lifestyle that isn’t just limited to screens and video games. And we really see an opportunity in the fact that we spend less time together in person on the way to the metaverse and online presence. And I think the result of that is that the few moments we spend personally together become a lot more meaningful to us. “
There was also a record number of indie board games grossing over $ 1 million on Kickstarter. Incredible Dream sees this as a reaction to the increasing dominance of digital consumption in our lives, said Chung Hoffacker. The team develops games, content and tools to connect more people with offline social gaming experiences.
She added, “With everything the internet and the metaverse promise to solve, only loneliness cannot solve it. And that’s something that like personal experiences can resolve. We try to create these moments when people want to take a break from their digital life and spend this time together. “
Incredible Dream wants to bring back the human connection and the playful immersion into the real world for the players. When people – who are studying, working, and playing in front of screens – finally take their break to hang out with friends IRL, Incredible Dream creates rich personal experiences for a satisfying gaming night, the company said.
The move to tabletop gaming
Chung said she played typical family board games when she was a child, but she was more like a video gamer at first. During the pandemic, she played games with friends via Zoom, but it got tiresome. In contrast, playing D&D was an immense joy.
“When I was younger I turned it down because it wasn’t as cool and sexy as the newest Xbox,” she said.
She then worked for nine years at Riot Games and three years at Activision. And she saw that the bigger companies weren’t able to take creative risks. That led her to start her own business.
At Arcane, Chung Hoffacker learned another part of the business. She helped get the TV show through the greenlighting process, which was not easy as expectations of expanding into a new business were high. It either had to be brilliant or not done at all. She helped set up a writer’s room, reconfigured the preproduction process, and helped the outside studio produce animated content. She left after most of the first season was done.
“I learned a lot from the creative process,” she says.
After quitting and starting her startup, raising money wasn’t easy as Chung Hoffacker said she was turned down by hundreds of investors. She was pleased that General Catalyst understood the loneliness problem the company is grappling with.
“We spent a good portion of the pandemic at home, isolated from everyone, just on the screens,” she said.
The company’s first game launch will be The Kinfire Chronicles, a co-op role-playing game about a group of adventurers who must fight a mysterious global threat, magic and saboteurs in order to save their city.
With the modernization, Chung Hoffacker means that friends don’t have to sit down to a board game with a 50-page manual. It shouldn’t be like assembling IKEA furniture, she said.
“You have to watch a 30-minute YouTube video to understand what’s going on,” she said. “And until then the whole night fizzles out and everyone loses interest.”
Hence, the Incredible Dream team approach the design more than video gamers and think about the user experience. Eventually, some of the ideas could turn into video games, Chung Hoffacker said.
“We talk about it a lot because the upside of any IP is that you can take it anywhere,” she said. “But I think you can’t just start by saying that we’re going to build a hugely valuable brand. If you start there and concentrate too much on it, in my opinion you will miss the mark. “
The team consists of 11 people. Chung Hoffacker also worked on such titles as League of Legends, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero. Co-founders include Tucker Roberts, President of Spectacor Gaming; and Jamie Seltzer, a serial entrepreneur and investor.
Chief Technology Officer Chris Butler was a former director of engineering at Riot Games and a co-founder of Riot Games St. Louis. He was an early architect of the League of Legends platform. Others are Game Design Director Kevin Wilson, Art Director Kate Redesiuk, Narrative Consultants Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz and Jakub Szamalek, and Game Designer Adela Kapuscinska. Advisors include Felicia Day and Kevin Reilly.
Incredible Dream’s seed funding will be used to develop and distribute original intellectual property as the company continues to build dynamic game worlds.
Other investors include General Catalyst Advancit Capital, Lighshed Ventures, Courtside VC, Slow Ventures, Abe Burns (Ambridge Capital) and David Birnbaum (Five Four Ventures).
The company has received previous funding and angel investments from well-known game industry figures including Strauss Zelnick of Take-Two Interactive, Mike and Amy Morhaime, Kevin Lin, Brent Bushnell of Two-Bit Circus, Shane Debiri and Pete Vlastelica. This funding has made Incredible Dream one of the most funded startups in the board game industry.
“We chose to partner with Incredible Dreams because we were impressed by the team’s bold vision during our first Zoom chat. Jane’s enthusiasm is absolutely contagious! ”Said Niko Bonatsos, general manager of General Catalyst, in a statement. “Our partners at General Catalyst also liked that they recruited an elite team of industry veterans for such a young company. Given the excellent timing of this project and the DNA of the team, this is a unique opportunity to shake up the board game industry as we know it today. “
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