“Talewind isn’t a Roblox studio, I want to make that really clear,” says co-founder Mike Allender midway through our interview.
Which is quite a twist. Right now, that’s exactly what you’d think Talewind is. The studio’s first game, Breezy Bay, is in alpha on Roblox, and is one of four games its team of 21 is making on the platform (one of those other games, Allender reveals, is a ‘Hades meets Archero’ roguelike).
Why Roblox (for now, at least)? The opportunity is obvious when co-founder Georgina Felce explains it: “There are millions and millions of experiences on Roblox, and 75% of players play on mobile and tablet devices. But very few are optimised for these devices,” she tells us.
So the idea is for Talewind to create made-for-mobile Roblox experiences by mixing ‘proper’ mobile game development talent with Roblox-native game-makers.
Allender and Felce have raised over $4m in two funding rounds so far, and you can see why – they speak excitedly about Roblox, its community and the potential they see in developing new types of games there.
But clearly, Talewind has ambitions to do more. To be “the leading content creator for metaverse platforms,” as Allender puts it.
There it is: the M word. Allender and Felce pluralise ‘metaverse platforms’ when describing online communities like Roblox, and to prove their point they say they are talking to The Sandbox about bringing their IP to that platform, too.
“The numbers speak for themselves – at the moment no other platform can compete [with Roblox],” says Felce. “But we’d be naive to think that won’t ever change. There’s going be a Roblox killer eventually, we just need to stay market-led and go where communities are going.”
“We want to have our IPs across multiple platforms, so our players know what they’re going to get when they see a Talewind game,” she continues. “We want to be like the Marvel Cinematic Universe of metaverse platforms.”
To make that happen, Talewind is plotting out a master narrative for all of its games, just like the throughline that keeps the MCU trucking along. (Felce and Allender jokingly refer to this as the TVU – the Talewind Videogame Universe, but they’re not officially calling it that. Not yet, anyway).
Allender elaborates further. “With all of our games, how do we have characters that cross over into different games, easter eggs and a bigger story that people can engage with?”
“We’re starting to talk about that narrative across different platforms,” he continues. “Then you’ve got a story on The Sandbox, on Roblox…what if you then use NFTs and crossover assets and interoperability between our games? I think people are starting to think about games in these ways.”
It’s early days for these web3 ideas, of course. But it’s not for Roblox, which is a huge platform with millions of players right now. Are those players ready for something slicker, deeper and made by experienced mobile game developers? Talewind is betting that they are – and that this is the start of Allender and Felce’s Marvel-sized media empire.