Solid Clouds is a game studio established in the fall of 2013, and is currently developing an online multiplayer grand-strategy 4X game called Starborne: Sovereign Space. New players start with a small space station which they try to grow by investing in new infrastructure and spaceships. During the six months each Starborne game lasts, players try their best to explore new territories and build an empire to dominate the game’s space-based world – where up to 40,000 players can compete on a single map.
For co-founder and CEO, Stefán Gunnarsson, the idea behind Starborne is something that has been growing for almost 20 years. “During the late 1990s I was running a pen-and-paper game, which was based on a similar concept, for around 200 people every week. The pen-and-paper concept was very time-consuming and error prone, so the dream was always to be able to play over e-mail.”
Today, the development of Starborne is in Alpha and interested players can apply to participate on the game’s website. A final version of the game is due to be launched in fall 2016. The game will be free to play, but players will have access to in-game purchases to boost their progress. However, everything that will be purchasable in the game will also be accessible through normal gameplay. “We don’t think that a pay-to-win game is going to have a high retention of players, which is one of our primary goals”, Stefán adds.
The development of the game is spearheaded by game industry veterans, including Hrafnkell Óskarsson, an early CCP employee and co-designer of EVE Online, and Ásgeir Jón Ásgeirsson, former Art Director of EVE Online. The chairman of the board is Sigurður Arnljótsson, co-founder and first CEO of CCP and current GP at Brunnur Ventures.
To date, Solid Clouds has received approximately $825K (107 million ISK) in funding. Thereof, the company has received $290K (37 million ISK) in grants from the Icelandic Technology Development Fund as well as a $7,7K (1 million ISK) grant from Innovation Center Iceland. Various angel investors have invested approximately $540K (70 million ISK) in the company. Solid Clouds plans on raising another round of funding early next year.