A new independent game development studio formed by industry veterans has emerged. Midsummer Studios, led by former Firaxis devs, has already secured initial funding to make its own title in the life sim genre.

Midsummer Studios raises $6 million to make next-gen life sim game

Jake Solomon (left)

Who are Midsummer Studios?

The new Maryland-based studio was founded by:

  • CEO / creative director Jake Solomon — worked at Firaxis for 23 years, best known as the programmer of Civilization III-IV and creative director of XCOM 2 and Marvel’s Midnight Suns;
  • CTO / game director Will Miller — former technical artist at Harmonix (Guitar Hero II) and lead game designer & engineer at Firaxis (Civilization: Beyond Earth, Midnight Suns);
  • COO Nelsie Birch — previously worked in various positions in municipal government and public finance.

Another industry veteran, Grant Rodiek, also joined the team as executive producer. He spent 18 years at Maxis, working in various production-related roles on The Sims 2, 3, and 4.

Other team members include former Firaxis devs such as Todd Broadwater, Russell Aasland, and Kevin Bradley. Solomon also told Bloomberg that he even hired Sid Meier’s son, Ryan Meier, who previously worked at Blizzard (as an associate game designer) and Firaxis (as a game designer and senior programmer).

As Midsummer Studios noted on LinkedIn, it is currently looking to expand its “tiny core team” by hiring a senior UX/UI designer and a junior designer engineer.

What is known about Midsummer Studios’ debut game?

Described as a “next-gen life sim,” the unannounced game will focus on player-driven narratives and creativity. “At Midsummer we’re making a life sim focused on the drama of modern life, where our players will write meaningful stories just by playing, and then share those stories with the world,” Solomon said.

The game will take place in a small town, and the studio plans to put a lot of emphasis on relationships between the player and other townspeople. However, there are currently not much details about the project and its core mechanics.

Who invested in Midsummer Studios?

The studio raised $6 million in a round led by Transcend Fund. Other investors that provided the funding include Krafton, 1Up Ventures, Tirta Ventures, Betaworks Ventures, Day Zero Productions, and F4 Ventures.

“The Midsummer founders are industry veterans with the rare experience and design artistry required to deliver against this massive opportunity,” Transcend founding partner Shanti Bergel said in a statement. “I am delighted to join the board and support their journey to redefine the Life Sim category.”

Solomon said it was difficult to find investment in such a market environment, but Transcend saw the potential in the studio’s idea of making a life sim game. “How has The Sims been massively successful for 25 years, and there’s virtually no competition? Until now,” he told Bloomberg. “All of a sudden there’s a bunch of life sim competitors. But when I was talking about it a year ago, there were investors who said, ‘We’ve been waiting for someone to come to us with this idea because it’s one of the last blue oceans in games.'”

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