Phoenix Labs secures financing to expand, Monster Hunter World helps

Dauntless gameplay footage

Phoenix Labs has announced that it has “raised a Series C financing led by Sapphire Ventures, with continued support from Everblue Management and other current investors.” This translates into more resources to expand the studio's Vancouver and San Mateo teams, as well as the development of its debut title Dauntless.

Dauntless is a PC exclusive monster-hunting co-op action RPG that entered open beta in May 2018 and already has over two million registered players. This announcement comes with an interesting statement that could hint at a console release for Dauntless: “[…] leveraging the new funding to explore new platforms and reach brand new audiences.” Either I am reading things really wrong or Phoenix Labs is interested in taking Dauntless into consoles.

A new GamesIndustry interview with Phoenix Labs co-founder Jesse Houston also reveals some fascinating facts. To begin with, there are around 200 people working on Dauntless every day, and the open beta is going better than expected – about five times better than initially expected, in fact. He is quite happy with the way that things are going, even without the help of Steam's Early Access program:

“We have thousands and thousands of people who sign up every day, and we're trying to just keep up with their needs. While it would feel really good as a video game executive to pour even thousands more [in there], but I want to always make sure I'm delivering the right game to the players, and that's the most important thing.”

Oddly enough, August's release of Capcom's Monster Hunter World on PC was a great boost for Dauntless. While this alternative could be seen as a huge threat, it worked as the opposite, in fact:

“When those games have launched, we tend to see significant spikes in engagement in the positive for us,” Houston said. “When they do a big marketing push, our sign-ups go up… It really opened the genre up. They put a ton of marketing behind that game, an incredibly polished experience. If I think back to two or three years ago, the number of hunting action gamers in the West probably numbered about one million, maybe two million users at most. One of the operational challenges we had as a publishing team was how to grow that market in a cost-effective manner. Along came Capcom and really helped us in broadening that audience. Hopefully we helped them in some ways as well.”

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