Bazooka Tango – a game studio founded by former Rockstar and Riot developers – has raised $5 million in a funding round led by BITKRAFT Ventures. The income will be put in Shardboundthe upcoming immersive multiplayer game that combines trading card game (TCG) elements, tactical maneuvers and digital collectibles.
The company was founded in 2019 by Bo Daly and Stephan Sherman, AAA gaming industry veterans who are the minds behind Vainglory, an online arena battle game. Vainglory was developed and published by Super Evil Megacorp, Daly and Sherman’s previous games.
Some of you may recognize the Shardbound title; it was initially started at the Spiritwalk Games in 2015, but nothing happened. Bazooka Tango revives the game, bringing new features that players can enjoy. Shardbound is developed in collaboration with web3 publisher Can’t change.
In fact, Shardbound is like Hearthstone married to Final Fantasy Tactics. Set on a fantasy island floating above Earth, players face off against opposing armies, using their deck of cards to cast spells and summon minions. Players can also collect achievements and login rewards such as weapons and loot boxes.
Characters (aka commanders) move around a hexagonal battlefield and must navigate low and high ground, including rocks to hide. They can move up to three spaces per round and make mud attacks against enemies adjacent to them or attack any enemy in line of sight.
There is also a “Super Meter,” which fills up as a player deals damage. When complete, they can deal six damage to seven surrounding tiles, affecting nearby opponents. (Be careful not to hurt allies, though.)
Players choose from five types of commanders.
- Wayfinder: equipped with glowing golden wings, shields and healing powers.
- Steelsingers: evil geniuses who build and operate “Chromia-burning” technology.
- Soil formers: uses the ability to manipulate stone, create fire and change the entire body of the earth.
- Guardians of fate: chaotic and powerful beings that can bend time and space.
- Blood thinners: using the bodies of their allies and themselves to create magical abilities.
Each player starts with 50 health and one mana crystal. Mana is required for playing cards and activating abilities. The maximum mana is 10, which players gradually gain each turn. Naturally, whoever runs out of health loses the game.
In addition, Bazooka Tango introduces “Victory Points,” which players can collect by hitting a “Victory Crystal” that appears on a player’s second turn. The first person to get 10 victory points wins. This alternative victory condition “opens up a whole new strategic dimension to the game and should make for some edge-of-your-seat spectacle,” Daly told us.
Daly also confirmed that Bazooka Tango expects to “expand the game’s content with seasonal releases.” Other upcoming features include deck building, leaderboards and more expanded gameplay.
Since Shardbound is free to play, Bazooka Tango’s business model relies on player retention and in-app purchases.
A thousand creators participated in the initial playtest, including @Kripparian, @DansGaming, @BruceGreene, @YellowPanther, @GAM3Sgg and so on. Even Chris Clay, vice president of game design at Immutable and former game director of Magic: The Gathering Arena, played two months ago live on Labnot. With 10,000 hours of views, the playtest has garnered over 50,000 pre-registrations.
Bazooka Tango will release its public beta later this year. It will officially launch in 2024 and will be available on Steam, Epic, Apple Store and Google Play Store. The company has plans to make it accessible through mobile devices; however, for now, the company is focusing on the core PC experience.
“We hope to be fully cross-platform within the next year … The most important thing is where the gamers are,” Daly said, indicating an expansion to “other possible channels ” in the future.
The recent funding round saw participation from RW3 Ventures, Sfermion, Foresight Ventures and Builder Capital, among others. In addition to developing Shardbound, Bazooka Tango will use the funds to help grow its team of a dozen people and launch three new, in-development titles.
“We have three other in-progress titles in the wings that we’re excited to bring to market once Shardbound finds its footing. All of this is happening alongside a major infrastructure project that we are undertaking to allow us to stitch together all of these experiences into something greater than the sum of its parts. So, we have a lot to do, and we are very grateful to have the resources to pursue such an ambitious vision and to build a world-class team to bring it all together,” added Daly.