COs! It’s been a while since we last gave you a comprehensive update. So…strap in, grab the popcorn; this one’s a big one.
It’s become apparent over the last 12 months that the concept we imagined is bigger than we ever anticipated. There’s no better time to create a genre-shattering Club Owner social experience than now. Whilst this is exciting, it also means we need to create the foundations to scale for something truly global.
Over the last year we have validated the concept. We built an incredible community, many of whom we’re proud to call friends. We raised money from the brightest minds in Web3 and our community tested our player engine with our MLS Test and Season Zero.
First things first, it’s not sustainable for us to continue operating as a small start up. So, we’d like to introduce you to Formation Games. Our brand new games studio, of which CLUB will be its first title. Creating a studio supercharges the business; we’re entirely game first, laser focussed on building a compelling player experience.
But to build a new Games Studio, we needed to add a few more professionals to our team…
With a new studio, comes new faces. The team you are all familiar with — and speak to every day in Discord — will all form the founding team of Formation Games. However, we have some hugely exciting news.
First up, we are delighted to welcome Jonty Barnes as our full-time CEO.
Jonty started in the video game industry in 1989 at Bullfrog Productions, before Co-Founding Lionhead Studios with iconic titles including Black & White. This was followed by a move to the US to become Executive Producer at Bungie on Halo 3. He rose to the board at Bungie, running game development for over 10 years, growing it into a live service organisation with over 800 people. In 2018, he returned to the trenches of development as Destiny General Manager, growing the franchise to record numbers including multiple BAFTAs, DICE & TGA awards. Since Jonty’s early days in video games he always imagined building a football gaming studio, so joining the talent at CLUB was a natural conclusion when returning back to the UK.
Jonty’s an avid lifelong Spurs fan. Much to Tom’s delight. Mel less so.
Now Jonty is a truly world-class hire…but our news doesn’t end there. We’re also delighted to announce the signing of Neil Dejython as Executive Producer.
Neil has over 22 years of games industry experience, including more than 14 years at Football Manager with SEGA’s Sports Interactive Studio where amongst a variety of roles, he led the Match Engine team.
Neil worked on EA’s FIFA Manager and for Sony PlayStation as Production Manager at the BAFTA award-winning studio Media Molecule. Neil was the first ever Project Manager for PlayStation’s global Game Analytics team, with work on brands including God of War, MLB The Show, The Last of Us, Death Stranding and more. Neil has contributed to multiple games which have been — and are still — enjoyed by many millions of players.
Neil is a full member and BAFTA award-winner with Media Molecule’s Dreams, and served as judge on the jury for the BAFTA Game Awards for Debut Game, as well as a Mentor for Limit Break; a mentorship program aimed at underrepresented people working in the UK games industry. He was also previously the Assistant Manager of the QPR Women’s team.
We told you. We’re bullish on creating an iconic game.
More you say? As Eddie Hearn would say… “go on then”…we’re also delighted to welcome Sam Deane, who led core-tech development on Football Manager. Sam spent 7 years at Sports Interactive, shipping FM across a variety of platforms followed by a stint at Sony PlayStation’s London Studio as Lead Engineer. He also worked at Peter Gabriels’ Real World recording studio and the world famous Abbey Road Studios; at last, someone to diversify our studio music playlist. He’ll be working closely with Fred Wright, our CTO at Formation Games.
As you can appreciate, a huge amount of work has gone into hiring world-class talent forefronted by a football, AAA & BAFTA award-winning team.
Previously we outsourced a lot of our engineering and development work. We’re thankful to all our partners who have helped us get this far, including the release of Season Zero which hundreds of you have enjoyed playing over the past few months. However with Fred, Sam and others at the helm, we’re delighted to now be in-housing our tech team to create a truly world-class live service game studio.
WHEN WILL CLUB RETURN?
We mentioned in our previous community update, the game will be paused during the World Cup. After careful consideration, we’ve also taken the decision to stop supporting the current Season Zero build thereafter too. Season Zero was primarily to test the tech behind the Player Engine, the matchday scoring system and to get valuable input from our community. Well, the tech has been validated and the response has been really positive to our scoring system. Whilst some tweaking may be in order as we move forward, the focus of our whole team and community now turns to our future game and the ownership experience.
Whilst we know some of you will be disappointed that you won’t be able to try and reach that elusive 100 Club this season, just know that we’ll be back. Bigger, better and bolder than ever.
Our timelines haven’t changed. Soft Launch, beginning of the 23/24 season remains our goal. Know that we’re charging towards it at full speed…just with a more polished and rounded F2P game.
BETWEEN NOW & LAUNCH
As alluded to above, it’s not just the team’s attention that’ll be focussed on our future game, it’s our community too. Your input to date has been invaluable, and we mean it. We won’t just be taking you on the journey with us up to soft-launch, you’ll be pivotal in our decisions and design.
Our COs can expect to comment and feed into UI, art and game features through to more elaborate concepts we have up our sleeves. What we can say is we’ll be committing to a Community Summit in 2023, a chance for all our community & our team to get together and for us to share our direction of travel & progress with the game. More details on this early next year.
In line with levelling up our game, we’re also supercharging our art & design. Therefore for the sake of giving you drops now, we’d like to wait until the art matches our vision for the next gen build of the game which we believe will provide you with truly world-class items. They’ll also accompany a game of the same quality too.
Therefore Lambos, MLS Kits, Club Clash Kit prizes etc.. will all be on hold as we improve designs in-line with our future vision. As our shirt deliveries to 58 countries around the world demonstrate; we work hard to keep & deliver on our promises.
A THANK YOU
To all our COs who have played and supported our game so far. We will continue to work hard for you to bring you a truly disruptive free-to-play Club Owner social experience.
You’re now part of something bigger than a game, you’re an extension of our Independent Game Studio, brought to you by a world class Football & Games industry winning team and we wouldn’t have got here without you.
Until next time, COs
Formation Games Team