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Donut Lab raises $1.6 million for Kids vs Zombies mobile game

Game studio Donut Lab has raised $1.6 million to complete making its Kids vs Zombies multiplayer shooter mobile game. The game is an instance of taking one thing doubtlessly violent and severe and remodeling it with cartoon artwork in order that it’s appropriate for younger people to play.

It’s the identical form of Looney Tunes technique that Mediatronic used to create its enormously in style Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout game, which is a family-friendly twist on the favored battle royale style. Fall Guys has had greater than 7 million downloads since its launch this summer time.

Kids vs Zombies pits youngsters armed with foolish weapons in opposition to a horde of zombies. The youngsters can combat in opposition to the zombies as a bunch, in a player-vs.-environment battle. But the gamers also can activate one another and combat in player-vs.-player fight. Despite the identify, the game is focused at adults, albeit those that are younger at coronary heart, Donut Lab cofounder Tim Raiter mentioned in an interview with GamesBeat.

“It’s for those who want to feel like kids again,” Raiter mentioned. “The kids don’t kill each other. They kill the zombies. But it’s really about players fighting against boredom.”

Level-Up of Luxembourg led the spherical. Level-Up focuses on investments in video games, its cofounder Thibaud Morin mentioned in an interview with VentureBeat. “We went with them because they understood games,” Raiter mentioned.

The free-to-play game is in early entry in Google Play, and it’ll finally make its approach to iOS as effectively. Eventually, gamers will be capable of purchase outfits that may give characters new capabilities.

“For the mainstream audience, we really wanted to make the game without a lot of violence,” Raiter mentioned. “They are fighting against mediocrity, boredom, and the adults who become the zombies.”

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Above: Tim Raiter (left) and Vitaliy Urban of Donut Lab.

Image Credit: Donut Lab

Raiter began the corporate, together with Vitaliy Urban and Andrey “Gordei” Gordeev, in 2018. They met one another on trip in Bali, the place Gordeev taught them yoga. Raiter, who additionally labored at style startup Suit Up, relies in Los Angeles, whereas the remainder of the staff of about 20 individuals is in St. Petersburg.

Raiter was beforehand a lead designer at monetary providers firm Brex, and he and Urban additionally based Hello Baby, a hub for child items that has had about 3 million downloads. Gordeev, who serves as Donut Lab’s CEO, is a well known business illustrator who made the Green Riding Hood game. They raised cash from Wargaming, Braavo Ventures, and Starta Ventures to get the corporate off the bottom.

Light-hearted shooter

The game is fairly light-hearted for a shooter. The weapons fireplace sweet or popcorn, they usually can’t kill different gamers. They can kill zombies, that are a metaphor for mediocrity and tedium, which is how adults look to youngsters, Raiter mentioned.

So gamers are combating in opposition to a grey boredom on this planet. If you wish to activate different gamers and assault them, you’ll be able to lure them and have zombies shut in on them. If the children kill zombies, they get donuts that they’ll decide up. Then they should drop the donuts off at sure stations. Players can steal donuts from one another.

For the previous yr, the staff has targeted on constructing know-how that enables them to make enjoyable of media figures, like a cartoon model of a zombie Donald Trump. The staff can in a short time make caricatures of real-world figures or occasions, similar to Burning Man, the U.S. presidential election, or the Oscars. Donut Lab isn’t licensing the superstar likenesses, because it considers them to be caricatures which have a satirical license.

Above: Andrey Gordeev of Donut Lab.

Image Credit: Donut Lab

“The funniest part of the game is the trap, where you can disable the other players,” Raiter mentioned.

Right now, the game helps 4 gamers without delay. But the staff is testing bigger numbers as effectively. The funds will probably be used to complete the manufacturing of the studio’s first title after which put together for a world launch.

Raiter mentioned it wasn’t straightforward elevating cash through the pandemic. In March, a number of potential funding offers fell aside due to lockdown. But fortunately for Donut Lab, the game business stored rising quickly.

“We were negotiating in Zoom, and never meet our new partners in person yet,” Raiter mentioned.

Like Fall Guys and Fortnite, the game goals to enchantment to feminine audiences, and the game is testing effectively with girls up to now. Retention is robust in take a look at markets like Spain, Raiter mentioned.

“We want to make adults feel like kids again,” Raiter mentioned.


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