FunPlus clearly has a thing for eye-catching crossovers. After The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon and then The Joker turned up in State of Survival, FunPlus’ new big-name cameo is perhaps its most unexpected yet: Orlando Bloom as Orlando the Nightshard in King of Avalon.
Random? A little, but Bob Slinn, FunPlus’ VP of business development, says that it’s all part of the plan to grab attention.
Slinn has been at FunPlus for a little over six months. He’s the former director of games partnerships at Facebook/Meta, and is another big-name hire for FunPlus following on from Chris Petrovic’s appointment as chief business officer in early 2021. Jam City’s Jeremy Horn and DigitalDevConnects’ Josh Burns have also moved over to FunPlus in recent months as the company continues to build out its presence in Zug, Switzerland and elsewhere.
But of course, we had to begin our chat with the Orlando Bloom thing. What’s the idea there?
“We’re thinking about different ways to really mix audiences and expand audiences across game genres and across media,” explains Slinn. “With King of Avalon, Orlando Bloom has a strong history and strong affinity for that type of environment and world.”
“Most importantly, it’s this notion of expanding the audience. And because we do a lot of marketing around our games, having The Joker or Orlando Bloom be part of that marketing is a great way for us to stand out in a very competitive market.”
It certainly worked for State of Survival. That game passed 100m downloads late last year thanks to those crossovers and, of course, a hefty, continuous UA spend. FunPlus will be hoping for an Orlando Bloom-sized bump for King of Avalon, too.
Guest stars are great for now, but there’s more to come, says Slinn. “The real vision for the company is to go beyond gaming and really think about building original IP and IP universes,” he tells us. “How do we build these IP universes, how do we build characters that can live forever in gaming, but also beyond?”
Slinn is keen to point out that FunPlus is also expanding outside its strength in the strategy genre with games like Call of Antia, a puzzle RPG. It’s even exploring the triple-A space at its new Imagendary Studios in California.
So naturally, the company is bullish on growth – but perhaps won’t be going on an M&A spree anytime soon. “We’re lucky enough to have a founder [CEO Andy Zhong] who’s very focused on the long term,” adds Slinn. “So the company’s been able to grow organically and profitably for a long time.”
“We’re very ambitious about growing the business over time and diversifying, but we’re in a slightly different space than a lot of other companies.”