Supercell is a relatively recently founded startup to say the least. It was founded in the summer of 2010 by gaming professionals with experience from Remedy, Digital Chocolate and Sulake. The team members have experience in publishing 165 games on 12 different platforms so I'm at ease to call this bunch a group of heavyweight veterans. But like real artists, these veterans can ship - today, they've released a roleplaying game called Gunshine.net. It's an isometric 3D game built on flash. Just to remind you, the company was founded a little over 6 months ago so they've achieved a lot. Gunshine.net takes place in the near future, in Dawnbreak City, of whose control Labycore mega-corporation and other opposition groups are fighting for.
Supercell's CEO is Ilkka Paananen, one of the founders and former CEO of Sumea, which was later acquired by Digital Chocolate. The team consists of 14 professionals and Supercell itself was founded by Mikko Kodisoja, internationally renowned game developer.
Supercell has advanced quickly. They've built the game in a little over six months, but they've also secured significant funding from London based investors. Their investors include London Venture Partners' Phil Harrison (ex-Sony global studio director), David Gardner, (ex-EA COO, one of the early investors into Playfish), David Lau-Kee, Paul Heydon, Initial Capital LP (fund founded by serial entrepreneurs) as well as Jari Ovaskainen (ex-Iobox CEO). It's also worthwhile noting that this is the first time London Venture Partners or Initial Capital have invested into Finland.
While the company is certainly interesting, so is the game. Ilkka Paananen, the CEO, stated "the game is far from being finished, but we decided to launch it anyway at a relatively early stage to get feedback from the market". Despite being far from finished, it's very much playable and does what it promises.
The business model in the game is the ability to purchase enhancements to your character you control. These enhancements enable you to advance in a slightly better way. Also, you're able to tune your character to your liking, differentiating it from other players.
The motivation to create the game, in the way it has been created, came from MMORPGs. While World of Warcraft and others are played by huge crowds of people, they're still very far from the amounts of players social and casual games reach - there's a clear gap between the two. According to Ilkka Paananen, they want to take the best parts of MMORPGs and social features and bring these together in a new way. Additionally, the key approach to all this is to make the game playable in the browser.
Gunshine.net leverages Facebook for example, but distinguishes itself from other social games out there that it does not publish anything to users' feeds. Gamers inside Gunshine.net are able to invite their friends to take part in missions and raids, just like World of Warcraft. The small difference is though, that to avoid the so called "empty lobby" syndrome, gamers are able to control friends' units through artificial intelligence. This way you'll always have someone to play with even if your friend isn't at the computer at that exact moment.
Below are some screenshots of the game as well as a promotional trailer.