Harmonix is entering the next phase of its storied life as one of the most exciting video game studios in the business. The group started as makers of peculiar experiments like FreQuency and its sequel Amplitude before moving onto early Playstation 2 EyeToy games like AntiGrav. Then it struck the big time with Guitar Hero and its successor Rock Band, games that literally defined a genre and gave gaming its very first billon dollar game. Now, after some successful Dance Central Kinect titles that melded its camera experiments with a love of music, the company is ready for the next era. Harmonix has secured funding for three brand new games.
Venture capital firm the Foundry Group announced Thursday that its managing director Brad Feld has joined Harmonix’s board of directors, and is using a chunk of its money to back three brand new projects the studio is prototyping. After Harmonix founders Eran Egozy and Alex Rigopulos demonstrated their new ideas to Feld, he signed on.
“We’ve known the Harmonix founders for 18 years,” wrote Feld on his blog. “What they and their team have accomplished is the stuff of legends, and the new games they’ve showed us are all mind-blowing. We believe once again they are about to give us a window into the future.”
Feld has a long history with Harmonix. He met Egozy in college where they were fraternity brothers, and made an initial investment of around $500,000 in the studio when Harmonix first tried to get off the ground in 1995. He and the Foundry Group invested their funds – a pool of about $225 million in investment capital – into companies working on human computer interaction (HCI), technologies that excite people not unlike a plastic video game guitar. The companies backed successful tech companies like Organic Motion, who specialize in motion capture technology, and Zynga, whose successes vary depending on your point of view.
Feld says Harmonix has three very different games it’s working on, all of which include different forms of interaction. The studio began hiring developers for a motion controlled action game in May of last year for next-gen consoles. While there are no release dates, we can at least Harmonix’s first PlayStation 4 game to feature a significant shift, since the job listing described a title with “emotionally compelling storylines.”
[Source: GamesIndustry International]
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