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Dark Horse Comics has began Dark Horse Games as its new gaming and digital division.
With two key offices in Oregon and Shanghai, Dark Horse Games will produce games by means of licensing partnerships with external game developers as properly as its personal in-property, initial-party properties. The organization will begin bringing some of its 425 story-driven characters and universes to video games, stated Dark Horse Games basic manager Johnny Lee in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat.
Over the company’s 35-year history, Dark Horse has published such world-well-known intellectual properties as Hellboy, Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Umbrella Academy, Polar, Lady Killer, Emily the Strange, Usagi Yojimbo, Resident Alien. It’s a superior time for the expansion, as gaming is hot, and in some circumstances, it is producing more income for a provided intellectual house than other types of entertainment. As for Dark Horse Comics, 2020 was a superior year for the company’s core comic and publishing enterprise, with superior income development, Lee stated.
Dark Horse Games is in discussions with some of the world’s top rated gaming studios to produce triple-A licensed titles based on Dark Horse Comics’ library to be released more than the next various years on all platforms: Computer, consoles, mobile, and cloud-based services.
“We are very focused on finding the right game development partner for top IPs,” stated Lee.
Both internal and external game development
Dark Horse Comics does not have the employees but to make triple-A games with its most well-known IPs. So it will attempt to make partnerships with higher-finish game development corporations that can make them, and it will expand these efforts considerably. Dark Horse Comics also has a quantity of IPs in development for films and Television shows.
For newer IPs and other original titles, Dark Horse Comics will construct its personal internal game studios to work on games based on these properties.
“We have evergreen properties, like Hellboy, where there will always be interest in making games and doing collaborations,” he stated. “We and our partners can really evaluate if a story IP and character universe would be a good fit for games that they’re internally designing and developing. I think most triple-A devs that I’ve talked to prefer their game dev team to build core gameplay and then fit an IP to it, versus shoving an IP down their throats. We’re sensitive to that.”
Meanwhile, Dark Horse Games’ initial-party games will focus on refreshing older and significantly less established IPs for gaming. It will also make and release multimedia projects (e.g., webtoons and anime) in conjunction with the initial-party games.
Dark Horse Comics is based in Milwaukie, Oregon, and run by president Mike Richardson (who’s also a founder). It also has offices in Shanghai.
Lee spent time in application and customer goods, but he knew his passion was media and entertainment. He began a organization in New York that made an indie documentary with funding from Samsung, and he at some point sold it to Sony Screen Gems. Then he began a game specialist consultancy, DGTL, in Seoul to do cross-border investments, co-development, and publishing offers. Most not too long ago he led enterprise development and industrial tactic at Improbable.
“I fell into gaming,” Lee stated. “Given my background, this new position was a little surreal. I thought my M&A experience, startup building, and media entertainment company experience have all come full circle and I’m using all those skills and network every day now.”
Lessons from the major guys
Dark Horse Comics hasn’t had considerably involvement in games, but it did license a 2008 game known as Hellboy: The Science of Evil, published by Konami and created by Krome Studios and Big Ant Studios. Meanwhile, Dark Horse Comics is the official publisher of some game-based comics for titles, but it does not have video game rights for these.
“We are speaking to all types of developers and we are open to all kinds of creative ideas, even some indie studios with cool ideas around our IPs,” stated Lee. “We right now have spent a lot of time on finding the rights in game collaborations at the triple-A level where the stories and the characters fit. We are in late-stage discussions with several of them. And so if those go well, you’ll see pretty big Dark Horse Comics characters in live triple-A games no later than the end of Q1 next year.”
Dark Horse Comics has 161 personnel. Over the initial year, Lee expects his personal games employees will stay smaller, with significantly less than 10 individuals.
“We plan to synergize our game launches with unique multimedia efforts,” Lee stated.
Looking at lessons from the bigger comic corporations such as Marvel and DC, Lee stated they all have important place-based entertainment and merchandising channels that have grow to be enormous more than the years, and they discover entertainment synergies in their IPs across entertainment like games. Stanley Cheung, the executive chairman of Dark Horse Comics, is the former chairman of Walt Disney. Lee stated Dark Horse Comics tends to be hands-on with production and expects to work with its licensees and developers closely.
“We hope to get there one day,” he stated.