FIRST GAME STUDIO IN GEORGIA – STORM BRINGER STUDIOS
Today, exactly 3 weeks ago, first teams of GameFounders fall 2103 batch arrived in their home office for next three month. Back then we just announced that we have guys from Ukraine, Lithuania, Pakistan, Germany, Mexico, India, Georgia and US accepted to the program, but you must be wondering who are they, which studios are they representing and what kind of cool games are they making, so…
…stay tuned and read our blog for the upcoming weeks and months. Starting from today, we are introducing all 8 teams that have been brave enough to back their bags, leave their homes, families and old jobs to take a wild leap into the unknown – Estonia – and spend 3 months here living and doing what they love the most – develop games.
Lets start with a story that leads us back around 3,5 years when in Georgia nobody yet knew that being a game developer can actually be a real job. It was during that time when Georgian government decided to start funding and encouraging game development. Therefore a certain group of developers were asked to build a game about Police. Irakli Kokrashvili, one of the Storm Bringer Studios co-founders, was one of those people. Ministry of Internal Affairs, who was financing the project, provided the guys with everything necessary and already in 6 month time, Police 1 was released.
After that followed Police 2 and by that time the studio had already started to advertise itself and got some good feedback from the States for some outsourcing projects. That finally lead them to work together with the American-Mexican game studio Larva Game Studios (project “Last day on earth”). It was a successful period for the Georgians, full of learning how to use new tools and programs, which also culminated in planned co-working project with Larva and Georgian Government. However, this project was not realized due to change of government and was put on hold as many other IT projects.
It did not stop Irakli and his guys, they had already realized that making games is what they want to do in life! So they founded Storm Bringer Studios and started to apply to different startup accelerators, incubators etc, that were recommended by their American friends. One of these accelerators was GameFounders. “Why did they choose us?” was the first reaction of all the people in the office when the studio received a positive answer for passing to the next evaluation round. Nobody exactly knew what was going to wait for them if maybe getting accepted to the program. But when the final decision came and it turned out they had been selected, suddenly everybody wanted to participate! That is why they had to take time to choose the core team who would come to Tallinn, some people were even willing to give away their car just to be selected… But here are the 3 chosen ones – Irakli Kokrashvili , Alex Lashkhi and Zviad Baratashvili.
Everything has not been easy, though. All three storm bringers say that the first days in the program they felt depressed, because they were pitching everybody their small mobile games instead of bigger and more expensive projects. “We were just asking us what on earth are we even doing here? We don’ t like to make small games, we are meant for something bigger,” explains Alex. Then after talking to some mentors and GameFounders team and getting advice, they changed their strategy and were revealing their bigger ambitions. And now they are moving on high speed.
During the first week, Irakli, Alex and Zviad lived in a hotel in Old Town, therefore had good chances to get to know more about the medieval part of Tallinn. “First impressions were really cool. We like Old Tallinn a lot”, says Irakli. As they are currently living in suburbs, they would have had quite a bit different image of Tallinn if they would have not seen the center of Tallinn so closely already.
Living together works out pretty well for them. Alex is their master chef, cooking is one of his most loved hobbies (Irakli and Zviad must be lucky!), other household jobs are divided fairly between all three. Since they are working most of the time, they don’ t have much time to mess up the apartment and no time to fight about it either.
But when they have free time, they like to discover Old Town and its pubs. Another place they always like to visit is the electronic shop. Alex even found iPhones with a game which was made by a friend of his! It was a cool surprise to find it from a random shop Estonia!
Most memorable events so far have been the ones from the program. Irakli mentions photoshooting with the mentors. After hard day of mentor sessions it was really cool to also have some fun and fool around with the same people who were giving serious advice the whole day. “I was especially impressed by Oscar Clark, we just wrote down everything he said. And in the evening he was so much fun too”, says Irakli. All three of them were also impressed by the IGDA GameCon and GameDev events, “If we had this kind of event in the university, I would go crazy and just stay there forever”, shares Alex his astonishment.
Storm Bringer Studios has grown out of nothing into the game studio they always wanted to be. They are a good example to all other game developers out there to dream big, to have courage and make it happen. They plan to take the GameFounders experience and bring it back to Georgia to help building the game development community, starting from universities. Their goal is to finally bring Georgia on the game development map.
So beware, because like they say themselves: “Storm is rising. And this time from Georgia”
We also continue the tradition of finding out what would our teams recommend to teams who have not yet applied for GameFounders, but are thinking about it. Storm Bringer Studios’ answer sounds like this: “You mustn’ t think, you must do it!”
Alex (on the left) and Irakli are holding their fellow storm bringer Zviad