There is a moment of wonder in every great game that makes you sit back, take a breath, and really appreciate what it is that you’re experiencing: stepping out into the world of Zelda, overcoming Margit for the first time in Elden Ring, stumbling across the giraffes in the verdant apocalypse of The Last of Us. These are the moments that Michael Chow and Steven Snow want to create at Believer. Their ambitious goal is to build a next generation open-world game, with an original IP, innovative gameplay, and metagame systems that bring players together rather than drawing them apart. We’re thrilled to support them on their journey to realize this vision.
As the meteoric success of Genshin Impact demonstrates, there is vast player demand for new open-world Player vs. Environment (PvE) games focused on exploration, collection, and collaboration. From Elden Ring to Breath of the Wild, from Grand Theft Auto to Red Dead Redemption, these wholly realized worlds have limitless stories to tell both through developer scripting and emergent player gameplay. The genre of open world games started with premium box products like the original Legend of Zelda or Ultima, but open world games have more recently evolved into modern, live service titles that can be forever games, updated and evolving over time. They take multiple forms, from the emergent role playing of GTA: Online to the frenetic shooters of Destiny to the anime wonderland of Genshin Impact.
Players love inhabiting these worlds, and that can lead to astounding cultural impact and business success, if executed well. Genshin Impact alone has 60M+ MAU and $1B+ annual revenue. However, the design and production complexity needed to create these games is similarly immense, as is the cost. The Believer team is one of the best-equipped to tackle this grand vision, as they’re one of the few teams with the ambition, skills, capital, and unflinching player focus to innovate in this genre.
Believer is helmed by industry veterans: Michael Chow was formerly VP at Riot Games and the Executive Producer of Wild Rift (20M+ MAU, 500M+ revenue), while Steven Snow was one of the first leaders at Riot Games, and the Executive Producer of both League of Legends (150M+ MAU, $1B+ annual revenue) and Legends of Runeterra. They are joined by co-founder and CMO, Shankar Gupta-Harrison (Riot Games, Dentsu X) and an extensive leadership team, including CTO Landon McDowell (Microsoft, Riot Games, Linden Lab), CCO Jeremy Vanhooser (Bungie, Electronic Arts), COO Tim Hsu (Twitter, Riot Games). We believe that this experienced, visionary, and player-obsessed team is uniquely positioned to create the next great genre-defining PvE game. The Believer team has also assembled a group of truly exceptional investor-advisors, including Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, and media industry leader Michael D. Eisner.
We’re true Believers in Michael, Steven, Shankar and team and couldn’t be more excited to partner with them on their ambitious journey forward. You can learn more about what they’re building at believer.gg.
Andrew Chen is a general partner and founding investor of A16Z GAMES at Andreessen Horowitz, where he focuses on metaverse, VR/AR, and gaming investments.
Robin Guo is a partner on the A16Z GAMES team at Andreessen Horowitz, where he focuses on web2 and web3 studios, games adtech, AI applications, and the intersection of healthcare and games.