Dublin gaming studio Vela Games raises €3.4m in seed funding

22 Jul 2019

Image: Vela Games

The funding will be used to develop Vela Games’ first title, which is now in pre-production.

In 2017, Dublin-based Vela Games was founded by American trio Travis George, Brian Kaiser and Lisa Newon George.

In the years since, Vela has grown to become a team of 13, with artists and engineers who gained experience at gaming giants such as Activision, EA Games, Riot Games, Blizzard and Disney.

Earlier this month (12 July), Vela Games announced that it had secured €3.4m in seed funding to jump-start development, with Dermot Desmond’s IIU and Enterprise Ireland leading the round.

The funding will go towards developing the company’s first game, which it describes as a “genre-defining multiplayer online cooperative game with original IP”.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Newon George explained why Ireland was the company’s choice of location: “We have incredible tech and creative talent in the city, but it also allows us to tap into talent from the US and the EU more easily.

“We can also offer a really high quality of life with an actual work-life balance, which is so important in our industry. So we may get more rain over here than in California, but it’s a nice change.”

Two members of Vela’s co-founding team moved from Los Angeles to Dublin in 2015. On the company’s website, the co-founders praise Ireland’s infrastructure, describing it as a nice change from commuting in the California city: “We spend more of our days thinking about creating a great game for players instead of sitting in traffic.”

The company’s founders add that they were drawn to Ireland’s “solid worker protections that guarantee certain rights and benefits”.

Game development

In the team’s GamesIndustry.biz interview, the founders also expanded on their plans to create a game that is cooperative and less competitive than some of the big titles that are currently dominating the charts.

“We believe we can do better by considering two other pillars: player motivation and communication styles,” Kaiser said.

“Does a player play to have fun or to win? How do they like to communicate with their teams? When you understand and respond to these factors during development, then you can turn matchmaking into something more personalised and effective.”

The title of Vela’s first game has yet to be released but it is currently in pre-production.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic