A number of crypto gaming companies have ramped up production over the past year in hopes of revolutionizing the growing industry. Adding to the list is London-based gaming company Cauldron, which plans to become the “Pixar of web3” through a key element: storytelling.
The company has just closed a $6.6 million seed round and plans to launch its first web3 gaming world, Project Nightshade, in the fall, Mark Warrick, the company’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch exclusively.
“A big part of web3 gaming is missing in storytelling… people don’t really come back because there’s no reason to come back,” Warrick said. “If you close your eyes and listen to a Pixar movie, you can’t see the art or technology, but the story still grips you. Telling stories, that’s what it’s about.”
The gaming studio was a spin-off founded in August 2021 by Warrick and two other creative veterans, Fox Rogers and Matt Hyde. The company has since hired science fiction and fantasy-focused authors to expand its focus on storytelling.
“When you look at entertainment in web3, you have to look at what web3 is: it’s about asset ownership,” Warrick said. “If you don’t design around owning a part of a universe, existing entertainment can’t translate to that.”
Cauldron plans to release three different game worlds to the public: Two worlds have a fantasy angle, while one world focuses on science fiction, Warrick noted.
“We’re not targeting Pixar because of the aesthetic, but because they created a recipe with ‘Toy Story,’ and 23 years later they never made a mistake,” Warrick said. “For us, we want to make a recipe with Project Nightshade and we want to repeat that and make many worlds. In five years I would like to have three worlds that millions of people love, and multiply that by four in ten years.”
The round was led by Cherry Ventures with the participation of Cassius, Seedcamp and Playfair, closing just six months after the $1.4 million pre-seed round, Warrick said. He declined to share a rating.
“Characters in normal entertainment are developed and observed by viewers, but imagine an empty world where we land those characters in it and you can define those original stories, villains, heroes and create your own version of ‘Star Wars’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and see how it develops… This is a new form of entertainment,” Warrick said.
The capital will be used to hire talent from the game and film industries while building out its experiences, Warrick said.
“Our focus is purely on making our [virtual] worlds that are more accessible to people out there,” Warrick said. “We couldn’t think of a better way to do this than through the web3 space, because people really feel like they want to own things on the internet and own a little bit of a world, like owning a little bit of ‘Lord of the Rings’.” ‘ or owning a bit of ‘Star Wars.’ We wish we had that chance, and now is a chance for people to do that, but with a new IP.”