Many of the most popular, genre-defining games trace their heritage to what are called “mods”—player-made modifications to existing games. The mods are built from developer tools within the game so that players can create new levels, maps, and even new game mechanics. Take Warcraft 3, for example, which sold millions of copies and encouraged players to create mods with tools shipped inside the game. Famously, one of the mods was called Defense of the Ancients which facilitated powerful sets of heroes to battle each other in the first version of what became the popular MOBA genre—the genre that later spawned the groundbreaking League of Legends. And this isn’t the only example of mods supercharging the gameplay experience and player communities. The widely played shooter, PUBG, was derived from Arma and Counter-Strike was originally a mod of Half Life. The list goes on.
The liberating and powerful forces behind modding are two-fold: user-generated content (UGC) and extensibility.
- UGC is a persistent feature of our world’s most popular platforms. Think Twitter for text, Instagram for images, Tiktok + Youtube for video, Clubhouse for audio, or Roblox for games. For games in particular, UGC turns what are siloed content monoliths into platforms that aggregate and distribute a perennially increasing content supply designed by other players, not just the game designers.
- The second force is extensibility, or the idea of building atop the work of others. Extensibility augments UGC, because instead of starting from a blank canvas, creators can leverage other’s work. The prime example of extensibility is open source code—where users fork, edit, and release code that gets forked and edited again until entire ecosystems are built. Not only is extensibility in code, but it is seen all around us from TikTok duets, to remixes of songs, or paper references in academia. Each consecutive creation adds to the work before it—building a foundation of knowledge that can only grow.
Mods embody both of these features—UGC by giving devs the tools and platform to freely create; extensibility by turning what was once a siloed, rigid world into a scaffold that can be built upon.
It’s because we believe in mods that it is with great pleasure that we are announcing our Series A investment into Omni Creator Products (OCP). OCP is building simple, yet powerful creation tools to facilitate modding, as well as the scaffold through a game codenamed Muse.
Muse takes inspiration from some of the industry’s most successful titles. They plan to make a highly social, highly replayable game with lots of variety. It is intentionally designed to be a great scaffold for people to remix and create from.
Alongside their game, OCP is building ‘Creator Lab’ where players can remix Muse or games created by other UGC creators. Muse will be the scaffold for creation, but from there, anything can happen. Creator Lab will be simple enough to let anyone build a basic world, but also enable complex mechanics that invite mods to change the game entirely.
Cofounders Mike and Nick Atamas are truly spectacular. The two brothers hail from Epic, where they were advertised as beacons of success to new hires. Mike was originally in legal leading Unreal Engine licensing and global privacy, but would often weigh in on Epic’s most important strategy decisions. After the leadership team took notice, Mike transitioned to Senior Director of Strategy and Operations. Nick was one of the best engineers at Epic, working on many of the company’s key projects and was eventually given special projects from Tim Sweeney to pursue individually. The two have also recruited one of the strongest teams, mixing the best out of Epic–like Fortnite Creative’s former dev relations lead, Deepak Nair–with veterans from leading companies across the games industry. The two brothers are similarly hard working, passionate, and intelligent, but differ in their demeanors. As a whole, they augment each other’s greatest strengths and are a perfect duo for this ambitious endeavor.
As we look to the future, we are excited to see how the right modding systems can turn siloed games into platforms, and how the next generation of indie developers can leverage the work of developers before them. We believe the OCP team is leading the charge here, and we’re ecstatic to support them on the next phase of their journey!
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