Australia-based Studio Alta, the developer behind A Township Tale, today announced it has raised a $12.4 million seed investment to expand its studio and accelerate development of the game.
Studio Alta had been quietly developing its brilliant co-op focused VR game A Township Tale for years on PC as a small indie team. Though it was loved by many who played it, the title remained something of a sleeper, likely due in part to the fact that the studio has only ever distributed it independently rather than through storefronts like SteamVR or Oculus PC.
Through an impressive effort the studio managed to port A Township Tale to Quest where it seems the game has found the right conditions to thrive. The studio says the game spent “seven weeks at #1 on the Oculus charts” and “produced historical engagement metrics for the platform […]” at its debut.
And it would seem investors took notice. The studio today announced it has raised a $12.4 million seed round… and not just from any old investors either; the round was co-led by Makers Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, the latter being a well known name in the venture capital space—with nearly $20 billion in assets under management—and an early investor in Oculus. The round also saw participation by Pioneer Fund, Boost VC, muru-D, and Thomas Rice.
Alta says it plans to use the funds to “further develop proprietary content and IP, expand the team, and position the game for new platforms.”
“Alta started out with a single quest: to create worlds that bring people together,” said Tima Anoshechkin, CEO and co-founder of Alta. “This funding helps us expand that vision beyond just growing our flagship game, and allows us to expand the team, create new opportunities and partnerships to collaborate with, and continue to develop world-class technology whether with VR or other platforms. Whenever and wherever you are playing, our experience will always be engaging, seamless and fun.”
Road to VR further spoke with Anoshechkin in to learn more about the studio’s priorities and aim for the future, including a hint that the game could come to PSVR or PSVR 2.
Q: What’s the biggest focus for A Township Tale development in 2022?
A: We have accumulated a lot of technical debt. The goal is to clean everything up, so we can release features faster to the community and bring A Township Tale to as many platforms as possible. Also we are really focusing on onboarding experience and explaining the game to the new players in a very friendly way.
Q: What’s the long-term vision for A Township Tale?
A: Our long term vision to create a unique experience where there is always reason for players to stay. I don’t like to use metaverse as much, but if we can deliver a unique world experience to each user that they have agency over, can share with their friends and visit their friend’s world seamlessly that would be a worthwhile goal to build towards.
Q: What’s the long term plan for the studio (plan to work on multiple projects or focus solely on A Township Tale)?
A: For now focus is solely on A Township Tale.
Q: What can you tell me about the game’s reception on Quest?
A: We can’t share many metrics as we in preparation for our next round, but studio is cash flow positive and definitely there is enough users in VR space to support mid size studios.
Q: How large is the studio?
A: More than two-dozen and growing. We can’t provide exact number, as a lot of people have joined, but still in on-boarding phase or just waiting for their notice periods to end. But studio tripled in size since the game launch.
Q: Do you expect A Township Tale to come to PSVR / PSVR 2?
A: We would love to.
Q: What are you long-term plans for in-app purchases (IAP) in A Township Tale?
A: We are pretty much open to everything as long as the game is not P2W and our community is on board with IAP strategy.
Q: What’s the most surprising/interesting thing you’ve seen players do in A Township Tale?
A: I am still surprised by number of people in VR ecosystem that only have mobile and Quest devices. As a result it really forces you to re-examine how games are build and how to onboard players. For a lot of this people Quest is their first high end gaming device, which is mind boggling to me.
Alongside the announcement Alta says it is actively hiring. While it will take time for the studio to ramp up, we’d expect updates to A Township Tale to expand in scope going forward. The Quest version is missing some major parts of the game compared to the PC version, so there’s some catching up to do before genuine progress is made to move both versions forward. The studio has also said previously that it hopes to add cross-play support with PC players eventually.