City State Entertainment Rebrands As Unchained Entertainment And Readies Massive Battle Game

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City State Entertainment, a fantasy game company started by Mythic Entertainment founder Mark Jacobs, has rebranded as Unchained Entertainment.

It has also raised a round of funding from A16z Games and others. And it is preparing to launch its massive battle multiplayer game Final Stand: Ragnarok. The Fairfax, Virginia-based company is also working on the online game Camelot Unchained with its own proprietary Unchained Engine.

The rebranding to Unchained Entertainment reflects the company’s commitment to ushering in a new era of massively multiplayer games, all built on the revolutionary Unchained Engine. This proprietary engine promises to facilitate unparalleled real player interactions in close-quarters action, creating shared gaming experiences of unprecedented scale.

That’s a lot of news from Jacobs, who talked about it in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. I interviewed Jacobs when he was making The Dark Age of Camelot and after he sold his company Mythic Entertainment to Electronic Arts.

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A new tranche

Unchained Entertainment’s Final Stand: Ragnarok is coming this year.

“This round is like the tranche of the full funding round,” Jacob said. “We’ve been hiring now and we’re changing our name since we are committed to the change. We might as well reflect that we will now be officially Unchained Entertainment. The round is a significant amount.”

The company has hired Keywords for co-development. The game has anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 players fighting in the same battle. The game will eventually tap both AWS and Google Cloud Platform.

“We’re going to just keep pushing the envelope in terms of how many more people we can put into a match,” Jacobs said. “We deliver the numbers on Ragnarok, and the networking is just what we expected it to be. Our frame rate is fantastic. The numbers are tracking.”

With the engine, the company focused on making sure that the networking would enable large-scale battles.

“That has been the mantra I keep repeating,” he said. “Our engine delivers massive battles similar to those seen in major Hollywood productions like The Lord of the Rings, to video games where thousands of real players interact and share an epic experience in real-time.”

The company didn’t disclose the funding amount raised. Other backers included Island Capital, The Lauder Family, and other investors.

Final Stand: Ragnarok

Final Stand: Ragnarok

Unchained Entertainment’s inaugural game, Final Stand: Ragnarok, will go up for early access in a couple of weeks and it is set for an early 2024 release.

The Ragnarok game doesn’t have a single-player campaign and it is multiplayer only. It has multiple modes such as tower defense and the arena, which is a smaller area where you have to deal with waves of attackers. You keep fighting until you reach the final battle with a big boss and its minions.

I’ve gotten a peek at the company’s game and it’s pretty fascinating. It’s a game featuring the Norse warriors and gods, fighting huge battles in a variety of landscapes. Each battle can have thousands of characters, each guided by a human player.

The tech is very advanced and it’s why the team had to develop its own game engine. Jacobs said the engine can support thousands of simultaneous player-controlled characters and non-player characters (NPCs) engaged in complex interactions such as combat, animations, and effects — all in real time and with a high frame rate, even on older PCs.

The engine can also manage tens of thousands of physically interactive networked gameplay objects and elements simultaneously while maintaining a high frame rate, even on older PCs.

Mark Jacobs is CEO of Unchained Entertainment.

Andrew Chen, general partner at A16z Games, said in a statement, “The talented team at Unchained Entertainment is redefining how many players can interact, play and fight with each other in real time in close-quarters battles of unprecedented size and scope.”

The team includes veterans from Mythic Entertainment, Warner Bros, EA, THQ, and BioWare.

Unchained Entertainment operates as a fully remote company with hubs in Northern Virginia and Seattle, Washington. The team’s collective experience includes work on major titles like Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Shadows of Mordor, Destiny, and Lord of the Rings: War in the North.

The much-anticipated Camelot Unchained is expected to launch late next year.

Weathering tough times

Unchained Entertainment’s Camelot Unchained.

As an industry, he acknowledged the game industry is going through a hard time right now.

“It sucks when you have this down period because people lose their jobs,” he said.

At the same time, he sees companies launching games like Palworld and Helldivers 2 with millions of players piling in so that the games get overwhelmed. Jacobs looks at that and realizes how careful companies have to be with their backend technology for multiplayer play.

“We’re grateful that you know, our investors believed in us,” he said.

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