A gathering of developers has made its mark in 2021, and it’s from a number of prolific video game developer studios of the past few years.
Kepler Interactive is billed as a “super-developer” global publishing group composed of 7 exceptional teams, with operations based in Singapore and London. The game developers are Ebb Software (Scorn), Sloclap (Sifu), Timberline Studio, Shapefarm, Awaceb, Alpha Channel, and A44 Games.
Kepler Interactive’s CEO and founder is Alex Garavaryan, who is also the CEO of Kowloon Nights. You may remember that publisher for bringing one of last year’s GOTY titles Spiritfarer to the public. Kepler Interactive’s goal is to unify the strength of multiple independent studios with a world-class operation, finance, and publishing arm, while supporting the 7 studio’s vision. To quote Alex:
“When we founded Kowloon Nights, our goal was to support the next generation of independent developers. The evolution of that work is now Kepler, which takes the developer‑first approach a major leap forward in terms of scale and empowerment.”
How It Works
The structure of Kepler Interactive is simple, according to Alex. When a studio joins Kepler, the studio founder(s) receive cash and Kepler shares to make them co-owners while retaining a significant amount of ownership in their own studio. This accomplishes a number of things for both parties:
- It ensures that studio owners financially benefit immediately, releasing an amount of equity into cash.
- The founders receive Kepler shares and are collectively rewarded when the group does well.
- The founders maintain ownership of their studio and are directly rewarded if they perform well.
Founders will be in the driver’s seat to make their decisions and ideas heard in the Kepler collective while also being financially secure in making their game(s) without major outside studio interference. All studios and games under Kepler will be fully supported financial-wise, with priority given to exceptional teams and people. Meritocracy in practice, basically.
The publisher has plans for the future beyond 2022, and will continue its growth by welcoming more partner studios. We’ll most likely see more Southeast Asian devs joining up with Kepler in the near future. With the company raising US$120 million from China’s Netease, it looks like it’ll be around for a long while.
The last time we’ve heard of a publishing company run by game developers was back in 2003; it came out and fizzled after a year or so of hype. Hopefully Kepler Interactive and its motley don’t fall for the same trap and actually keep word on their promised titles.