A number of crypto gaming firms have ramped up production in the past year with hopes of revolutionizing the growing industry. Adding to the list is London-based gaming firm Cauldron, which plans on becoming the “Pixar of web3” through a key element: storytelling.
The company just closed a $6.6 million seed round and plans to launch its first web3 gaming world, Project Nightshade, in the fall, Mark Warrick, founder and CEO of the company, exclusively told TechCrunch.
“A big bit missing from web3 gaming is storytelling … people aren’t really coming back because there isn’t a reason to come back,” Warrick said. “If you close your eyes and are listening to a Pixar film, you can’t see the art or technology but the story is still gripping you. Storytelling is what matters.”
The gaming studio was a spinoff founded in August 2021 by Warrick and two other creative veterans, Fox Rogers and Matt Hyde. The company has since hired science fiction and fantasy-focused authors to help build out its storytelling focus.
“When you’re looking at entertainment in web3, you have to look at what web3 is: It’s about ownership of assets,” Warrick said. “If you’re not designing around owning a part of a universe, then existing entertainment can’t translate to that.”
Cauldron plans to release three different gaming worlds to the public: Two worlds have a fantasy angle, while one world is focused on science fiction, Warrick noted.
“We focus on Pixar not because of aesthetics, but because they created a recipe with ‘Toy Story,’ and 23 years later, they never had a mishit,” Warrick said. “For us, we want to create a recipe with Project Nightshade and want to repeat that and make many worlds. In five years’ time, I’d love to have three worlds out there loved by millions, and in 10 years’ time, multiply that by four.”
The round was led by Cherry Ventures with participation from Cassius, Seedcamp and Playfair and closed just six months after its $1.4 million pre-seed round, Warrick said. He declined to share a valuation.
“Characters in normal entertainment are developed and observed by viewers, but imagine an empty world where we land those characters in there and you get to define those origin stories, villains, heroes and create your own version of ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and watch it evolve. … This is a new form of entertainment,” Warrick said.
The capital will be used to hire talent from the game and film industries while building out its experiences, Warrick said.
“Our focus is purely on making our [virtual] worlds more accessible to people out there,” Warrick said. “We couldn’t think of a better way to do it than actually through the web3 space because people really feel the sense of wanting to own things on the internet and owning a bit of a world, like owning a bit of ‘Lord of the Rings’ or owning a bit of ‘Star Wars.’ We wish we had that chance, and now’s a chance for people to do that, but with new IP.”