Ex-Zynga execs raise $15 million for their new gaming studio, Manticore Games

In the eight years since Frederic Descamps and Jordan Maynard launched their last gaming startup, the industry they helped shape with A Bit Lucky now brings in more than $100 billion in revenues globally.

Games like League of Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have brought about a resurgence in gaming on personal computers. Indeed, user-generated content from inside the gaming community has produced a string of wildly popular hits, including League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Rocket League.

Those trends are exactly what the two game developers are hoping to harness with their new, stealthy gaming studio, Manticore Games.

With a new $15 million round led by Benchmark, the company is hard at work on an undisclosed game that will use the same passion that users have to develop a new game experience.

“I have been looking forward to working with Frederic and Jordan for many years. We have had an ongoing conversation about unique ways to create value and fun for gamers, and I am thrilled to help them build their exciting new company,” said Benchmark general partner Mitch Lasky, whose previous early-stage investments have included Riot Games, Discord, Snap, Outpost Games, Gaikai, Playfab and Natural Motion.

Focusing on PC gaming, Manticore is building a new form of multiplayer gameplay that leverages user-generated content, according to chief executive Descamps.

“Tapping into the power of the community for innovations extending into gameplay and game design is incredibly powerful, and enables developers to understand what players ultimately want,” he said.

As the company works in its lab cooking up its first gaming experience, would-be gamers can expect a level of complexity and strategic gameplay similar to the titles that are dominating the PC gaming community already. 

The pedigree of the founders and their plans for a new game were enough to bring in other gaming-focused investors to round out the financing. Additional investors in the company’s $15 million round include: BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, Correlation Ventures, CrunchFund, Macro Ventures, SV Angel and several high-profile gaming and tech entrepreneurs.

Indeed, Descamps and Maynard assumed high-level positions at Zynga after their company was brought into the social gaming giant’s fold. Descamps served as studio general manager and vice president of corporate development and Maynard worked as a creative director.

The two met at Trion Worlds, where Descamps was a senior director ad Maynard was a senior technical design director.