Thunderful Announces First Games and PAX West Line-up

Thunderful is cock-a-hoop to announce its first games, coming from Skygoblin and Megagon Industries.

HELLFRONT: HONEYMOON, from our Gothenburg friends Skygoblin, is a full-on, top-down multiplayer action game where up to four players fight for control over a single screen battlefield. Base building, troop management and twin-stick shooting combine for the perfect balance between strategy and skill. We call it a sci-fi party war game. One screen, one winner. HELLFRONT: HONEYMOON is due out later in 2018 on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Lonely Mountains: Downhill, from Berlin-based duo Megagon Industries, sees you and your bike explore huge, handcrafted mountains. Play it safe and follow the trail or take a risk and find the quickest way down for speedrunner immortality. No audience, no barrier tape, no product placement. Just you and the rocky peaks of the Lonely Mountains. Lonely Mountains: Downhill is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2019.

Both games will be playable at the Thunderful booth at PAX West (6003, level 6). We’ll also be showing Flipping Death by Zoink as well as SteamWorld Dig 2 and Anthill: Switch Edition by Image & Form.

Ed Valiente and Brjánn Sigurgeirsson

Rising Star Games Joins the Thunderful Family

The Thunderful Group, which encompasses development studios Image & Form and Zoink Games as well as Thunderful Publishing, is pleased to announce that it has acquired publisher Rising Star Games with offices in the UK and US. The new managing director for Rising Star Games will be Ed Valiente, who is also the managing director of Thunderful Publishing.

Sweden-based Thunderful was established in December 2017 by Bergsala Holding (50%), Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson (25%) and Zoink Games CEO Klaus Lyngeled (25%).

There are two main strategies behind Thunderful: one is to achieve close and effective collaboration between Image & Form and Zoink Games on PR, marketing and publishing of internal titles. The second is to set up a publishing powerhouse – Thunderful Publishing – where the proven self-publishing capabilities of the studios are reinforced through recruitment and acquisition to be able to also take on external titles that can match those of Image & Form and Zoink in quality.

Well, Thunderful is starting to deliver on its strategies. This spring, Thunderful appointed Ed Valiente as the managing director of Thunderful Publishing. Ed Valiente is a gaming industry fixture with stints at Sony, Square, Microsoft, Bandai Namco and most recently eight years at Nintendo of Europe. A dream signing.

“Once he knew what we were planning, getting Ed hooked on the idea was easy,” says Thunderful CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson. “It’s the first time we recruit from outside Sweden, so it’s been a good exercise in dealing with Swedish red tape, housing and what have you. Having him on board is absolutely delightful.”

Interest from developers in teaming up with Thunderful Publishing has been… substantial, to say the least. Therefore, Thunderful has acquired 100% of the shares in Rising Star Games from Bergsala Holding to cope with the new workload, and to benefit from many years of expertise. Ed Valiente will be the new managing director at Rising Star Games, in addition to being the managing director of Thunderful Publishing.

“The team at RSG is very competent,” says Ed Valiente. “We look forward to bringing in quality titles for us all to work with.”

Rising Star Games have offices in the UK and the US, and have titles in the works that will be released under the current label. RSG’s tagline is “the home of Japanese games”, and Thunderful Publishing will use the Rising Star Games brand when bringing strong titles from Japan to the west. Future western titles will be published by Thunderful Publishing.

Klaus Lyngeled (Zoink) and Brjann Sigurgeirsson (Image & Form)

Image & Form and Zoink join forces, become Thunderful companies

Image & Form and Zoink, two of the most successful veterans in the Swedish gaming industry, join forces to form Thunderful. The new company becomes one of the most important players on the European gaming circuit.

The owners of internationally acclaimed game studios Image & Form and Zoink have joined forces and formed Thunderful, a limited liability company that will wholly own Image & Form and Zoink. In turn, Thunderful is owned by Bergsala Holding, Brjann Sigurgeirsson and Klaus Lyngeled.

In 2017 Image & Form has been very successful with their latest release, SteamWorld Dig 2. The SteamWorld series, established 2010, has forged the studio into a leading developer and publisher of many different game genres on all current-gen platforms. Zoink made headlines when EA, responsible for game franchises such as Battlefield and FIFA, clinched the contract to publish Zoink’s pioneering game Fe, slated for release early 2018. Among others, the studio has also launched a very interesting VR project with one of the industry leaders in the field.

Both Image & Form and Zoink are based in Gothenburg, Sweden. They’ve collaborated for a long time and will continue to develop games with existing and new IPs under their respective labels.

“We already work together on a daily basis in PR, marketing, intelligence, and publishing,” says Brjann Sigurgeirsson, CEO of Image & Form and CEO of Thunderful. “Image & Form and Zoink will continue to produce games like we always do, but we’re now formalizing our close relationship. Through Thunderful we can share resources more effectively, officially act together and launch bigger, more ambitious game projects. We’re becoming a real powerhouse.”

With the paperwork out of the way, the next step in 2018 is moving into bigger offices together.

“Brjann and I already exchange very much information, so this development is natural,” says Klaus Lyngeled, CEO of Zoink and Chief Creative Officer of Thunderful. “With a group of close to 50 people, we’ll grow our clout both nationally and internationally.”

Behind the successes lies a long-term dedication to making high-quality games, and today the studios are being compared to the likes of Nintendo and Double Fine.

“The gaming industry is rife with opportunities and many try their hand at it,” says Sigurgeirsson. “We know that in order to stay at the absolute top level, we must continue to develop world-class games. Fortunately, we are consistently proving that this is where we belong.”

A common denominator is Bergsala Holding, who among other things is the sole distributor of Nintendo products in the Nordic region. Bergsala is a long-standing partner in both companies, and have been imperative for the growth this far. Owe Bergsten, the CEO of Bergsala Holding, looks forward to the Thunderful cooperation. “There’s strength and clarity in gathering these great game developers and all their projects under one roof,” says Owe Bergsten. “The future looks both bright and exciting.”

EY Corporate Finance acted as exclusive financial advisor in the establishment of Thunderful AB.

THUNDERFUL NUMBERS

  • Employees: 46
  • Years in the industry: 20
  • Games in development: 9
  • Games released: 16
  • Games sold: 2M+
  • Total downloads: 6M+