Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Las Cruces-based startup Ganymede Games has built a playable demo for its first premier video game, backed by $550,000 from local and out-of-state investors.
The New Mexico Angels, the Arrowhead Innovation Fund at New Mexico State University, and the angel-based investment firm Abenteuer Ventures in California all contributed to the round, which closed in September. Initial capital starting flowing in May, allowing the company to fully complete its gameplay demo in October, said Ganymede CEO Jerry Prochazka.
That will help drum up support among more potential backers as Ganymede raises its next $3 million, second-round investment to move into full game development.
“Film developers usually write a script and then shoot a trailer to pitch to investors,” Prochazka told the Journal. “The playable demo is our version of a film trailer. It helps us explain the game and show off the art and all the product’s unique features.”
The company aims to close on the next investment round in early 2020 to bring its new game to market in about two years.
Prochazka and three other video game industry veterans launched Ganymede last March, backed by $350,000 in Local Economic Development Act funding from the state and the City of Las Cruces. The company is remodeling the third floor of the Bank of the West building Downtown, a 3,000-square-foot space that will become Ganymede ‘s studio headquarters.
The company now employs nine people, but expects to grow to about 55 over the next five years, Prochazka said. It will hire engineers, artists, designers, production staff and writers.
It will search for talent at local universities, potentially providing career path opportunities for New Mexico students, said Arrowhead Innovation Fund Managing Director Beto Pallares.
“A company engaged in gaming and game development offers a great complement to the educational opportunities offered in the state,” Pallares said in a statement.
New Mexico Angels President John Chavez called Ganymede an attractive investment.
“(It) has all the key elements of a solid investable company: a great team and a scalable product in a large growing market,” Chavez said.
Ganymede’s founders met while working on the blockbuster “League of Legends” multiplayer battle arena game produced by Riot Games in Los Angeles.
Company products will aim to inspire aging video gamers, providing the same hardcore experiences that attracted them at younger ages but offering content and formats to accommodate their current lifestyles with jobs, families and less time on their hands, Prochazka said.
Ganymede’s first product is a science fiction survival game, but Prochazka declined to discuss content because of intense industry competition.
Ganymede chose Las Cruces because of New Mexico’s low-cost, high-quality environment, plus the state’s refundable film production tax credit. The credit refunds up to 30% of most expenses associated with producing movies, TV shows, digital productions and video games in New Mexico.