There is something quintessentially human about our need for authentic connection. We share an instinctive drive to be a part of a community, seek out new people, improve ourselves, and deepen ties with those we know. Technology, from fire to Facebook, has enabled us to share stories and collaborate in continuously evolving ways.
The first multiplayer video game predates the foundation of ARPAnet so it may come as no surprise that, since the earliest days of the Internet, there has been steady growth in digital spaces where people have congregated to meet, chat, and play together. Today, roughly 3 billion people play games on PC, mobile, and consoles. Games have become social platforms unto themselves where fans develop genuine, lasting bonds through play.
However, crafting experiences that are not only beloved for years but approachable, deep, and meaningful is extraordinarily difficult. Which is why my partners and I at Transcend were enthusiastic to lead the oversubscribed $4.5M Seed round for Gardens and partner with its exceptionally talented founding team.
Today, Gardens was announced as a remote-first studio by co-founders Chris Bell, Lexie Dostal, and Stephen Bell. These veteran leaders have assembled a team of talented developers from some of the best-selling gaming projects of all time including Sky, Journey, Fallout, Skyrim, Spider Man, Ratchet & Clank and The Hobbit. Chris, formerly the lead designer of the breakthrough top grossing hit Sky and now President & Co-founder of Gardens, had this to say about working together so far:
"Gardens is a game studio focused on collective growth – crafting innovative and meaningful multiplayer moments that build lasting friendships, and doing so sustainably, putting as much care into our team’s health and happiness as we do the worlds we dream up together. From our very first conversation, the team at Transcend understood the creative, community, and commercial aspects of that vision. We are deeply grateful for the guidance and support they’ve provided, drawing upon a wealth of experience and insight to help us tend the early life of our studio, all while trusting us with the space and daylight needed for Gardens to bloom."
As work progresses on the studio’s first still-to-be-announced title, the Gardens team is actively hiring top tier talent to collaborate on the creation of a vibrant, mysterious world where players around the globe will connect, play, and build stories together.
About Transcend Fund
The Transcend Fund is an early stage venture capital firm that partners with some of the most ambitious and talented founders in the game industry to collaboratively build the future of digital entertainment.
Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, Transcend Fund operates remotely with team members around the world. Our portfolio features a range of high growth digital entertainment companies including thatgamecompany, Possibility Space, Polygon, Singularity 6, Laguna Games, Gardens, IndiGG, Big Run, Nifty Games, Treehouse Games, Stress Level Zero, Maestro, Arcadia, Trioscope, Bunch, Kings of Games, Spatial, Goss, and several additional exciting but unannounced new ventures.
About Shanti Bergel
Shanti is the founding partner of Transcend and a 30 year game industry veteran.
His global operating experience spans every major platform and business model transition of the last several decades and is animated by a career-long fascination with how changes in technology and distribution affect products, services, and communities.
Shanti is a recognized member of the Techcrunch List, speaks fluent Japanese, and is a frequent speaker on early stage investment, M&A, and strategic partnerships in digital entertainment.