A team of gaming veterans, including founder Patrick Mork, former global marketing director for Google Play, are coming together to form a new company called Unspoken Tales, which aims to bring story-driven, action role-playing games for the hardcore gamer to tablet computers. To be clear, these games would sit at the opposite end of the spectrum of where many top mobile hits reside today.
After all, the Apple App Store’s Top Charts are currently filled with overly simplistic titles that follow in the footsteps of “Flappy Bird.” (Though, hopefully, this trend will die out soon.)
Instead, Unspoken Tales is a bet on the future – one where hardcore gamers shift their time and attention away from traditional console gaming to mobile. And one where mobile gaming will have new ways of reaching a consumer’s big screen TV, via technologies like Apple’s AirPlay or Google’s Chromecast, for example.
The founding team includes Mork, who in addition to time spent with Google, was also CMO of indie app store GetJar (acquired by Sungy Mobile). Mork has an extensive background in mobile gaming, starting in 2001 when he created his own games company. Over the years, he also worked with i-play and Glu Mobile, before taking the position at GetJar, then later Google, where he led the team that made the switch to the “Google Play” branding.
Mork is joined by Alessandro Tento, the former VP of Art Development and founder/GM of Activision’s Shanghai studio, who has 20 years of console gaming experience. At Activision, Tento worked on nearly every major franchise they had, including Call of Duty, Skylanders, Guitar Hero and others. But building up the Shanghai team gave him a feel for the startup experience, too, Mork tells us.
Co-founder Danielle Deibler, meanwhile, was previously an employee and VP of engineering at Kixeye, while co-founder Scott Foe was formerly Chief Creative Officer at Big Head Mode.
Mork explains that he wanted to do a startup in the gaming space because these story-driven types of games were under-represented on mobile.
“I woke up one day and I realized that the kind of games I like to play, which are role-playing games, there really wasn’t a lot on tablets. There weren’t many options that were fun for consumers,” he says. Plus, he adds, “with the exception of a couple of companies, whether it’s Rovio, Supercell or others, [game developers] have not made a concerted effort to build brands.”
That led him to the idea of creating Unspoken Tales, which would be focused on creating engaging, but richer and deeper experiences, on mobile. The initial game the team envisions would have a fantastical universe, unique characters, a “good vs. evil” theme, but also a conspiracy theory angle about things not being what they appear.
The product is in the very early stages of development at this point, and the company will need to raise funding in order to follow through – something they’re working on now, in fact.
Mork likens the debut title to those you’d typically find on consoles, like Diablo, Final Fantasy, or BioShock, for example.
“You have a deep experience that has a strong story to it,” he says. “Now, as a player, you don’t necessarily have to dive in if you don’t want to – you’re exposed to the content and it’s really your decision how much you want to engage in,” adds Mork. “But we’ve seen, historically, a good story makes a difference.”
While the company might have some early market tests in a year or so, Unspoken Tales says its first title wouldn’t be publicly released until early 2016.
* Note that the images included in this post are concept art and are not indicative of actual in-game artwork.