Elemental Games CEO and co-founder Linus Blomberg told us about the reasoning behind Elemental Games' creation, spoke about the debut game the studio is developing, and shared his secret on what makes a game successful.
Avalanche Studios co-founders Linus and Viktor Blomberg recently established a new studio called Elemental Games. Apart from the Blomberg brothers, the founding team also includes eight other veterans of the Swedish studio with some of them having more recent credits at DICE, Ubisoft, and Epic Games.
Elemental Games CEO and co-founder Linus Blomberg stated that Elemental Games will focus on creating high-quality open-world games saying that the studio will keep evolving "systemic gameplay and the open-world genre" using the experience gained from the development of Just Cause, Mad Max, and Rage series.
We talked to Linus Blomberg to ask him about the reasoning behind Elemental Games' creation, the studio's first unannounced original IP game, and future plans for the company.
80.lv: Please, introduce yourself and your team. Could you give us a little bit of background about who makes up your team? When did you enter the industry? What projects did you previously work on? Which of them are you most proud of?
Linus Blomberg: My name is Linus Blomberg, and I’m CEO and Co-Founder of Elemental Games. I was previously Co-Founder and CTO of Avalanche Studios. I entered the industry more than 25 years ago, and I ran Avalanche for about 17 years before selling it to Nordisk Film. During my time at Avalanche, I was responsible for developing its Apex engine, and developed games such as the Just Cause series, Mad Max, and Rage 2.
I would have to say that Just Cause 2 is one of the games I’m the proudest of, considering when it came out and the scale of it, and how fun it actually was. My founding teammates at Elemental have all worked at Avalanche at some point, but also at other big companies, such as DICE, Ubisoft, and Epic. They are all extremely experienced and among the best in their fields.
80.lv: Could you tell us how and when Elemental Games was established and what was the reasoning for its creation?
Linus Blomberg: It was established in August of last year. I felt it was time for something new, I had gotten increasingly frustrated at how much bureaucracy and wasted work there is at large companies and wanted to get back to that fast and nimble game development that is possible in a less constrained environment.
I had also gotten sick of the romanticization of ultra-violence that was prevalent in some of my previous titles, and I wanted to show that it is possible to make exciting open-world games that have a different focus, without being a kid’s game. More focus on exploration and adventure, than on killing people. At the same time, there are plenty of technologies we wanted to explore, innovations that can bring open-world sandbox gameplay to new and exciting levels. Things that we didn’t have time or resources to explore at Avalanche.
What Makes a Game Successful
80.lv: As far as we know, the members of your team previously worked on such titles as Just Cause, Battlefield 1, and Fortnite – the games that players really enjoyed. Could you share your secret with us? What makes a video game successful?
Linus Blomberg: For me, it has always been about doing what you are passionate about. I know it is a cliche, but it is true. If you do what you love, without trying to second-guess what other people want or what will make the most money, that love will shine through. There will always be an audience that appreciates the result of that. If you continue to build on that and manage to stay afloat long enough, financial success will eventually come too.
The Debut Title
80.lv: You’ve mentioned that you’re currently working on your first unannounced original IP game and developing your own open-world technology. Could you tell us more about the game and its concept? Please also share some details on the tech you're developing.
Linus Blomberg: We’re not really talking about the game yet, other than that it is an open-world sandbox game where the world truly is in focus. It is being built on tech which enables gameplay that wouldn’t be possible with any tech that you could license, such as Unreal or Unity. We have so much experience from Avalanche, and from developing open-world games for more than 20 years, that it would be a shame to not take advantage of that to push the genre forward.
For me, that is the whole point of developing tech, to enable experiences you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Systems we feel we can’t add value to, we’ll just license from someone else. We collaborate with a great engine developer called Our Machinery who has an engine where you can pick and choose what systems you want to use.
80.lv: What is your approach to teamwork? And what is your current working model in the post-COVID world where lots of companies switch to remote or hybrid models?
Linus Blomberg: We’ve been fully remote from day one. Thanks to the pandemic, it is so much easier to work remotely now, even though it felt a bit awkward at first. There are so many great collaboration tools now, that we don’t actually miss having an office. Not all of us live in the same city, but we try to meet up physically a couple of times every month. It works great! We’ll probably get an office after the summer but continue with a hybrid approach where we still work remotely much of the time.
80.lv: What's your current roadmap? What did you plan for 2022? What will we hear again from you?
Linus Blomberg: We’re working on a first internal demo of the game, due to be finished in the spring. After that, we plan to share a little more about the project. Our development is very explorative, where we try things out and do prototypes to see what works and what doesn't. So it is hard to make a roadmap because things change and evolve all the time.