Stormgate developer Frost Giant Studios is now asking fans to invest in the company

After attracting nearly $35 million in an initial round of funding and another $2.3 million on Kickstarter, Stormgate developer Frost Giant Studios is looking to raise even more money, this time by inviting supporters to invest in the company in an upcoming “crowd-equity campaign.”

The investment campaign isn’t set to kick off in full until March, but Frost Giant has launched a “Test the Waters” page on StartEngine, where eager supporters can reserve a spot in advance. That presumably gives the studio an idea of the level of interest from potential investors (the whole “testing the waters” thing), while reservation holders will get an extra 5% share bonus for signing up now.

This is very different from a Kickstarter campaign, where supporters throw down a certain amount of money in exchange for a specific set of rewards—in this case, you’ll literally just be buying shares in the company. And, as with regular investing, there are no guarantees: The fine print on the StartEngine page warns that any investment “is speculative, illiquid, and involves a high degree of risk, including the possible loss of your entire investment.”

It’s fair to wonder why, after raising $38 million already, Frost Giant is looking for even more money for a game that’s still at least a few months out. The short answer, Frost Giant communications director Gerald Villoria said earlier this year, is that games are really expensive to make.

“Modern AAA game budgets are often measured in the hundreds of millions, and that’s not counting marketing budgets,” Frost Giant communications director Gerald Villoria said after the Kickstarter campaign went live in January. “So while $35 million may seem like a lot of money, it pales in comparison to what the biggest studios are spending. What our funding didn’t cover was many of the extras and special amenities that are only possible with big publishing budgets, such as a physical Collector’s Edition of our game and expanding our beta pool.”

The funds raised through this equity campaign, Frost Giant CEO Tim Morten said in the announcement, “will bolster a strategic marketing campaign, setting the stage for Stormgate’s early access launch this summer.” 

There’s also apparently hope that the investment will help ensure stability at the studio during a very turbulent time for the game industry: According to VG247, Frost Giant said it opted to launch this new investment campaign because “big publishers [are] laying off hundreds of game workers seemingly every day, and making decisions that prioritise near-term profits instead of worker and player happiness… We’re choosing to control our own destiny and self-publish our game in the West with direct support from our player community.”

We recently described Stormgate as a mashup of StarCraft 2 and Warcraft 3, “with a few fresh twists,” which is not really surprising given that it’s being developed by a team formed by veterans of Blizzard. RTS fans are genuinely excited for it: It was the second-most played demo in the recent Steam Next Fest. It’s set to launch into early access in the third quarter of 2024.

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