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Gardens nets $31.3 million to expand fully-remote studio and build multiplayer ARPG

The studio was founded in 2022 by a group of former Journey, Blaseball, and What Remains of Edith Finch developers.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 11, 2023

3 Min Read
Artwork featuring the Gardens logo and fantasy characters gathered around a campfire

Gardens, the fully-remote studio founded last year by a group of former Journey, Blaseball, and What Remains of Edith Finch developers, has secured $31.3 million in Series A funding.

The investment found was co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Krafton with participation from Dreamhaven, TIRTA Rendered VC, and major industry figures like Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell, Valorant co-creator Stephen Lim, and World of Warcraft's VP of development Seth Sivak.

The nascent company has also added former Microsoft chairman John W. Thompson, former Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton, and former Tencent president Ben Feder to its advisory board.

Gardens is currently working on an "ever-evolving online PvPvE fantasy adventure sandbox ARPG" that co-founder and game director Chris Bell says will build upon some of the multiplayer concepts featured in previous titles they've worked on including Journey and Sky: Children of the Light.

"We’re including novel cooperative gameplay that rewards players who help each other, which can encourage friendship and dialogue with PvP and conflict in interesting and subversive ways. We’re growing the world we want to play in every day, a world designed to offer new experiences every time you play, growing and evolving for years to come," said Bell.

"Thanks to our amazing new partners and this latest round of funding, we can continue crafting the best game possible while growing and supporting our incredible team."

Gardens begins to scale to realize ARPG vision

Gardens intends to expand "significantly" this year and said the capital it has raised will be used to grow and support staff as it works to "fully realize" its vision for its debut project.

Speaking with Game Developer about how the company intends to grow sustainably as a globally-distributed studio, Gardens co-founder and game director Chris Bell said the leadership team is "committed to doing the infrastructural work needed to ensure that communication and collaboration remain strong and prioritized."

"We're bringing in an operations director and expanding our production department early to support a larger team, and we're leaning on the various partners that have joined the round, the teams at Lightspeed and Krafton and Dreamhaven and so forth, to help us field, incorporate and refine best practices and processes as we scale. We also make sure to schedule routine get togethers throughout the year so that teammates have a chance to socialize, interact and collaborate in person," said Bell.

To ensure the wellbeing of a growing workforce spread around the globe, Bell said the company will be constantly refining its processes and conducting one-on-one interviews with staff to get a better sense of how it can support employees as its footprint expands.

"Growing the culture we want and staying true to our values will be a major focus of our operations director, ensuring that we not only are scaling to meet our business goals but that we are doing so in a way we can be proud of, in a way that prioritizes the responsibility we have to care for one another," Bell continued.

"That responsibility is shared by the entire studio, from leadership down, and is the reason why we offer the benefits we do, and why we implemented supportive policies like pay transparency and unlimited PTO, where we encourage team members take off a week per quarter."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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