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Valve, ArenaNet veteran Rick Ellis founds Sharkbite Games

Steam's lead developer has a new studio, with $1.25 million in VC funding in his pocket

Valve, Monolith and ArenaNet veteran Rick Ellis has founded a new development studio: Sharkbite Games, which has just raised $1.25 million in VC funding.

Speaking to Geekwire, Ellis confirmed that the funding had come from SWAN Venture Fund, Alliance of Angels, Puget Sound Venture Club and angel investors from the Seattle area. Prior to this round, the Bellevue-based studio had been funded by money from Ellis and his wife, Susan Mackey-Ellis, co-founder of Sharkbite.

Details on the new studio are scarce, but its Linkedin page describes its first project as "a free-to-play mobile video game that... [brings] PC/Console social components into the mobile world in a unique multiplayer RPG experience."

However, Geekwire confirmed that Sharkbite is actually working on two games: a "casual mobile game" that will launch this year, and a multiplayer mid-core title for PC and mobile that is, in Ellis' words, "much more ambitious."

Sharkbite has a team of eight at present, largely composed of people with whom Ellis has worked throughout his career. Among his many notable positions is a six year spell at Valve in which he was the lead developer on the Steam platform and part of the teams that made Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike.

He was also head of Monolith Productions in the period where it released both games in the Condemned series and F.E.A.R. 2, and director of technology at ArenaNet leading up to the launch of Guild Wars 2 in 2012.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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