Dublin’s WarDucks raises €3.3m to develop new AR game title

21 Mar 2019

Image: © zapp2photo/Stock.adobe.com

Creators of titles such as Dungeons & Dragons are enlisted to join quest for what could be the world’s next big gaming franchise.

Irish video games company WarDucks has raised €3.3m in funding in a round led by EQT Ventures with participation from Suir Valley Ventures and other investors.

The funding will be used to drive the development of WarDucks’ new location-based augmented-reality (AR) game and expand the company’s development team.

‘There’s a huge opportunity in AR location-based mobile gaming, which combines the local appeal of real-world maps with engaging gameplay’

“There’s a huge opportunity in AR location-based mobile gaming, which combines the local appeal of real-world maps with engaging gameplay,” said Nikki Lannen, CEO and founder of WarDucks.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with EQT Ventures as we race towards the launch of of our location-based AR game as the team’s extensive mobile gaming experience will be invaluable on the next phase of our journey. The fact that we’ve also had so many top gaming executives from around the world join our team is testament to the talent and vision of the team we’ve currently got in place.”

Lannen, formerly a senior member of Facebook’s gaming team, founded the company in 2013 with the aim of creating world-class content for mobile, AR and virtual-reality (VR) platforms.

A gathering of gaming legends

The team continues to attract global talent to work on its latest AR game as the company recently welcomed gaming legend John Romero as a creative consultant. Co-founder of the BAFTA award-winning Romero Games studio and winner of more than 100 awards, Romero is best known for his work on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom II and Quake. In his role, Romero will be actively advising on WarDucks’ upcoming AR game.

WarDucks has also hired Doug Kaufman, the game designer behind Civilization II and FrontierVille, as its lead game designer. Kaufman will be joined by lead narrative designer Lawrence Schick, who was previously at ZeniMax where he was Loremaster on Elder Scrolls Online. Schick worked with Gary Gygax on Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970s and with strategy games legend Sid Meier at MicroProse in the 1980s.

WarDucks is the latest investment to be discovered by AI platform Motherbrain, the proprietary platform that is used by EQT Ventures to leverage data to identify and proactively contact promising start-ups.

In December 2018, EQT Ventures had its first exit when Small Giant Games, a Finnish mobile gaming studio, was acquired by Zynga in a deal worth $700m. Prior to co-founding EQT Ventures, investment adviser Lars Jörnow was at King Digital for six years where he, among other things, set up the mobile games team that launched Candy Crush Saga in 2012.

“WarDucks is a strong, proven games studio with an impressive team of passionate game experts ready to take on this rapidly growing genre of mobile gaming,” said Jörnow. “We believe that WarDucks’ next title will engage players all over the world and become a popular franchise.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years