After two years of relative early access obscurity, Halo-with-portals arena FPS Splitgate became wildly popular over the summer—enough that investors are willing to spend $100 million to see where developer 1047 Games can take it next.
Splitgate's sudden popularity might have briefly overloaded the game's servers (opens in new tab), but it's also blown open the potential scope for the shooter. Speaking to TechCrunch (opens in new tab), 1047 co-founder and CEO Ian Proulx now reckons Splitgate could be the studio's own League of Legends.
"There’s so much we couldn’t think about because we were a tiny team with a tiny budget, but now everything is on the table," said Proulx. "We’re focusing on the long term—I look at the game as being 25% done. We don’t need to be Fortnite tomorrow, but now it really is about building the next Riot Games, the next big games business."
While set to launch in 1.0 over the summer, 1047 chose to keep the game in open beta indefinitely following the recent surge. That new-found fame coincided somewhat with the game's console release, but Proulx also reckons that in a space dominated by battle royale and hardcore options, there's sizeable demand for a good old fashioned arena shooter that sites somewhere in the middle.
"People grew up playing these games, and the reason [the market] is dead is not because they stopped loving them,” he said. “No one has moved the needle because there hasn’t been a lot of innovation, and there hasn’t been something that’s accessible to the masses. Quake Arena is great, but it’s extremely difficult. No 12-year-old Fortnite kid is gonna play it. We really do fill this void."