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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Sheppard

Welcome, Crop Circle Games

Growth in the video game sector continues virtually unabated, in defiance of supply chain constraints, a global pandemic, and the devastating war in Ukraine. The number of active players worldwide is expected to surpass 3 billion in 2023, while gaming revenues surged 32% between 2019 and 2021 alone, and estimates forecast revenues of $321B by Q4 2026. With these successes, it can be easy to forget that this is an industry shaped by deeply imaginative creatives—trailblazing digital pioneers using transformative technologies to forge connections with players.

Building these meaningful connections through immersive shared worlds is the vision of Crop Circle Games, the second studio launched by Jeff Strain’s Prytania Media, and backed by leadership and creative teams with a proven track record in the space. Transcend is thrilled to be among investment partners supporting Crop Circle Games with a $25M investment.

When we invested in Jeff’s first studio, Possibility Space, we noted we didn’t just invest in his vision for the future, but also the amazing team already gathering in and around Prytania Media. Crop Circle Games, the second subsidiary within Prytania Media, perfectly exemplifies our original conviction for Jeff and the team. Jeff has assembled another all-star team, one that deeply understands the power of storytelling and has played key leadership roles in creating some of the biggest franchises in gaming. Now more than ever players yearn for meaning and connection within the games they play. This team is uniquely positioned to deliver on this promise, complimenting each other through their creative and commercial expertise. We're excited to see how they will push the boundaries of what games can offer players.

Headquartered in New Orleans but with a fully distributed team encouraged to live and work wherever makes them happiest, Crop Circle Games takes its name—and inspiration—from the mysterious phenomena that have sparked wonder and intrigue among humankind for centuries. The studio is working on a powerful new title that it describes as embracing “hope, humor, and human empowerment,” with an emphasis on emotional engagement through empathy, positivity, and community participation on a global scale.

“In a dispiriting political, economic, and environmental time of history, what a pleasure to be part of a team creating a joyful, productive zone of creativity, positivity, and innovation,” says Strain, whose nearly 30 years in game development has encompassed genre-defining titles like StarCraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and the State of Decay franchise. “It’s a genuine delight to be using my decades of successfully managing the business behind making games so that developers can focus on the creation of games.”

“Trends come and go in this industry, but balancing the non-flashy fundamentals of both game development and managing a business is how you build studios for the long run,” says Strain. “I’m really excited to support this world-class team to bring this intriguing and somewhat unconventional title to players.”

In 2021, Jeff and Annie Strain founded Prytania Media, an independent, family-owned game development label with two announced studios—Possibility Space, and now Crop Circle Games. The latter’s deep roster of industry pros—including several of Strain’s longtime collaborators—features studio director Jessica Brunelle, a veteran of God of War developer Sony Santa Monica Studios, WB Games, and Undead Labs. Doug Williams serves as creative director, drawing from experience working on ArenaNet’s Guild Wars franchise, and Undead Labs’ State of Decay series. Narrative director Josh Scherr comes from a 21-year career at Naughty Dog, where he had co-writing and narrative design roles on Uncharted 4, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and The Last of Us: Part II—titles that sold more than 25 million copies combined.

Other accomplished pros on the Crop Circle Games team include art director Ocala Scott-Bellows (Cyan Worlds, Cryptic Studios), design director Nick Mhley (Wonderstorm, Undead Labs), and technical director Braeden Shosa (ArenaNet, Epic Games).

About Transcend Fund

Transcend is a top performing early stage venture capital firm that partners with the boldest founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of interactive entertainment.

Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend portfolio features a preeminent group of high growth digital entertainment companies around the world.

More information about Transcend can be found on our website. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news from around the Transcend ecosystem.

About Andrew Sheppard

Andrew is a strategist and seasoned executive focused on helping founders grow.

Andrew has over 20 years of experience building, managing and advising multi-billion dollar consumer businesses. Past employers include EA, Gamespot, Kabam and GREE. Andrew serves on the Board of Directors for Nexters and Rakuten Games. He has direct experience working in online media, social media game services, subscriptions, free-to-play, console games, online/PC games, mobile games and apps. His current focus areas include cross-platform games, Web3 and digital identities and communities.

Andrew is excited to put capital to work in service of companies that are passionate about reinventing the game.

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