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Midwest Games established by ex-Netflix and Harebrained Schemes staff

(Midwest) representation matters.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Characters in concept art from Gylee Games' Ra Ra Boom.

A new game publisher in the Midwest has started up, and it's fittingly called Midwest Games. 

The publisher is headed up by Rob Martin, previously of esports organization XSET, and former Netflix executive Ben Kvalo. Earlier in the year, he announced his leave from the streamer, saying at the time he aimed to create a publishing studio for developers operating in the "emerging market" of Midwest America. 

Established in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Midwest Games features former staff from Crunchyroll (ex-VP Jennifer Corbett) and ex-developers at Striking Distance Studios (former CTO Mark James) and ProbablyMonsters (then-principal producer Chris Klimecky). 

"Our journey began with a resolute commitment to empower the vast talent pool residing in under-served regions," wrote Kvalo in a press release. "Innovation and creativity flourish beyond traditional tech hubs, and that's why we set out to champion underrepresented regions, starting with the Midwest."

What Midwest Games has to offer for the industry

Video games is a famously global industry, but here in the United States, most studios are situated in the west and east coasts, or Texas. A presence like Midwest Games can (and hopefully will) illuminate studios who live in the titular region and get the attention they otherwise may not. 

Midwest's first published title will be Ra Ra Boom from Cincinnati, Ohio developer Gylee Games. In the press release, Gylee founder Chris Bergman explained that Midwest "was the closest match to our goals and values," and could help it highlight other developers in the region. 

"We're not just working hard to create successful games," said Bergman. "We want to expand the opportunities for all developers in our hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the rest of the Midwest.”

"Our mission is to provide resources for these talented developers to shine," continued Kvalo. "We're poised to redefine the games industry, delivering stellar games and cultivating a thriving regional games ecosystem.”

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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