The ex-Riot devs at Odyssey Interactive know why there are so few truly crossplatform live service games out there right now. Because making one is really hard.
They made one anyway: Omega Strikers arrived last month on PC, mobile, Switch and PS5, with an Xbox edition coming soon.
Founded in 2020 by Dax Andrus, David Capurro, Eric Lawless and Richard Henkel, the Odyssey team has credits on League of Legends, mobile spin-off Wild Rift and Teamfight Tactics. The studio raised $6m in a seed funding round led by a16z, and later $18m in a series A raise led by Makers Fund.
With the studio’s debut now live, we asked Odyssey cofounder and designer David Capurro (ex-Riot) and marketing director Ryan Rigney (ex-Riot, Respawn) why it doesn’t have many peers working in the crossplatform, live service space.
“It’s hard, right?,” says Capurro. “It’s hard to manage all these platforms…we’ve got Sony, we’ve got Microsoft, we’re talking to Steam all the time, we’re talking to Apple, we’re talking to Google… you have to get so many ducks in a row. In some ways it’s actually harder to get your ducks in a row in a bigger studio…it’s one of the advantages we have.”
Odyssey is currently around 35 people, and Rigney cites Supercell as a big inspiration for the team, which has experience across mobile, PC and console.
“It’s really hard to do live service – like, it’s so hard it’s kind of crazy,” says Rigney. “Really competitive games tend to be isolated to PC. Some of the best competitive games ever – Counter Strike, League of Legends – tend to be limited to one platform. There’s some on console, and Apex is a great example of console plus PC, but there’s very, very few competitive games that are fully crossplatform. No one has really captured the opportunity.”
Future-sports multiplayer game Omega Strikers has been designed with mobile play baked in from the start. Capurro is keen to stress that it has not been ported to mobile as an afterthought.
“A lot of games in that real-time, fast-paced category went from being a PC or console game to getting ported in a kind of a negative sense to mobile,” he tells us. “We wanted to get out ahead of that.”
“We set the challenge for ourselves that if we can make this a great experience on mobile from the get-go we’re not going to be fighting and lamenting certain decisions we made along the way.”
Rigney says over a million people have played the game to date across all platforms, and that’s rising all the time. “We got a lot out of the beta, and it validated that we’re not crazy for trying to do this competitive crossplatform thing,” he says.
The PC and console editions also level out the risks around mobile UA right now too, says Rigney.
“If you’re trying to get players with just UA, you’re not gonna make it,” he tells us. “We feel like we’ve got to go hard across all platforms, and we’re doing a very large influencer campaign.”
“If we have trouble acquiring on one platform, it won’t be that those players are falling into some very thin matchmaking pool,” Ringey continues. “They’ll be plugged in with everyone else and they’ll have a great time. So there’s certain advantages to the crossplay thing that helps mitigate some of the challenges with UA.”
With a relatively tight team of 35 and millions in VC backing, the Odyssey team’s main goal with Omega Strikers right now is retention, says Capurro.
“If somehow we brought in millions of players and no one’s spent a penny, of course that would be a problem,” he says. “But it’s not one that would be threatening to the studio right away. What is more existential is if the efforts to gain players – and more importantly keep them engaged – are unsuccessful.”
“We’re in a position where even if we make no money for the next six months or a year, it’s not lights off – we have good flexibility.”
There’s already early talk of game two, in fact, which will also be a multiplayer crossplatform game. This is where Odyssey sees the opportunity: in a new, younger generation of players who love playing together and don’t care what platform their game is on.
“The team had a clear vision of this before I joined,” adds Rigney. “They’d recognised how difficult it is if you have totally separate mobile and PC ecosystems, which is the case for Wild Rift and Apex Legends Mobile. There are so many things where you’re like: we’re going to do this cool thing and it’s not going to reach half our audience. You want to avoid that.”