Open Letter from Justin Hulog, Chief Studio Officer
TL;DR: We are on track for a 2023 launch after overhauling the game, bringing on new leadership and onboarding a super awesome new partner. While we weren’t on track before, we are now more confident that we will ship an incredible game on time.
Now that the news is out, I am eager to talk more about our new partnership with Mineloader for the upcoming 2023 release of Guild of Guardians. A premier game development studio, Mineloader has worked on some of the biggest games in the world, including Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy Remake, Biomutant, The Last of Us and many more. The selection process was fierce; we talked to 23 development studios all over the world to find a partner that could help us ship the game at the level of quality our players and community deserve. At the end of our search, Mineloader rose to the top of the list, showing outstanding professionalism, a deep resume of prior experience and won our confidence in their ability to deliver against our timelines.
We are grateful to our employees, past and present, and to our development partner Stepico — all of who have contributed greatly to the game thus far. That said, we had to make certain changes to our team and our development plan to ensure that we could ship the game to players on time, with the user experience required to make the game go mainstream. This has not been quick or easy, and each decision is one that is made with strict evaluation and careful consideration. As Chief Studio Officer, I want to talk a little bit about that process to give our community more transparency on how it has evolved.
I’ve said this many times — shipping games isn’t easy. Shipping great games is even more complicated. Delays and shifts in timelines are commonplace as publishers and developers seek to find the fun. This is even more complex in web3, where we have to make sure that we get things right in both known web2 issues such as art, core gameplay, lore and build quality, while also defining the shape of new problems unique to web3, such as sustainable economy design, interoperability and tokenomics.
When I joined Guild of Guardians in March 2022, I leaned into my experience working at Riot Games and managing and launching many successful titles such as League of Legends, Wild Rift and Valorant to run a deep assessment of the game through multiple reviews of our weekly builds, playtests and user experience. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectations, and it became clear we had to make changes. It was imperative that we made significant changes so that we can deliver a successful game. This meant searching for new partners and making changes to our team and systems. Some of the leaders that we brought on to GOG include:
- Chris Clay, VP of Game Design, to expand his focus on GOG on revising the gameplay loop (former Wizards of the Coast).
- Shibu Mathew, VP of Product, to focus on the product roadmap (former EA).
- Aakash Mandhar, VP of Engineering, to focus on the engineering contracts and web3 integrations (former EA, Microsoft/Xbox).
- Veronica Foo, Director of Marketing, to lead launch planning and marketing (former Illuvium, Ubisoft and Riot Games).
We then began to overhaul all aspects of the game to make it more conducive to our broader vision, quality and timeline expectations. Overall we are continuing to grow our investment in Guild of Guardians:
- We partnered with Mineloader to make sure that the game is delightful and able to scale while shipping on time.
- We focused our team on ensuring the web3 economy and metagame are best-in-class experiences that are fun and also sustainable — setting the foundation for realizing the promise of web3 gaming.
- We revamped our lore and our magical systems to make the world of Elderym something that can be used as the foundation of a global franchise and IP.
- We decided to launch with Immutable Passport to allow GOG to have a seamless onboarding experience for the mainstream RPG audience we are targeting.
In fact, overall investment into Immutable Games Studio has increased since 2022, with plans to increase another 5% overall by the end of 2024.
Together, with our new leadership additions and world-class development partner Mineloader, we are more confident than ever that we can build Guild of Guardians into a game that can truly delight players and grow mainstream.
We are hosting a Town Hall for the community on March 8 AEDT with Chris Clay to share more about our plans and reveal what’s coming next. I am looking forward to the future. LFGOG!!