Manticore, A Roblox For Older Gamers, Raises $15 Million In New Funding Led By ‘Fortnite’-Maker Epic Games

Manticore, a new gaming startup with software that enables users to quickly build high-resolution multi-player desktop games, has raised $15 million in new funding, adding to an already sizable bankroll.

The $15 million round was led by Epic Games, the first outside investment that the Fortnite maker has made, a significant seal of approval for Manticore’s technology, which is called Core. San Manteo, California-based Manticore had already taken in $45 million since launching in February 2017.

“It’s a new type of platform,” says cofounder and CEO Frederic Descamps. “Where you have players congregating to create worlds together, to create a new form of entertainment.”

Manticore follows on the success of a broad trend toward user-created games that has already led to billion-dollar valuations for Minecraft and Roblox. Both of those companies target younger audiences than Manticore. By contrast, Manticore is positioning itself as a place to build games for teens and adults—with all the blood, guns and adventure storylines that typically go into those titles.

Until recently, most popular games were built by major corporations that could commit tens of millions dollars to them and afford to wait through years-long production cycles not unlike a movie’s. But the rise of Roblox and others has significantly shifted the industry with easily used tools that young people can use to create games without needing extensive coding backgrounds.

Descamps and cofounder Jordan Maynard come from that old world they’re determined to disrupt. Descamps studied the video games business while getting his Standford MBA in the 2000s; he graduated and founded a gaming studio with Maynard, who’d been a computer science major at San Diego State. They sold the company, A Bit Lucky, to Zynga
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and worked there for several years prior to leaving and starting Manticore in 2016.

They spent three years developing Core then made it available to creators in June 2019. It won an important partnership with Hasbro’s
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Dungeons and Dragons, and the two put together a contest this summer challenging players to create games using Core that were based on the venerable brand. The most popular was Forgotten Cisterns, a knight’s journey through a sewer full of undead enemies.

The new funding will go toward bolstering the Core software and getting it toward an official beta launch. In time, Descamps wants to open Core to revenue-sharing deals with creators similar to the ones that Roblox uses.

“It’s really giving the power of creativity and creation to new people,” he says. “It’s a drastic departure from the traditional way games are made.”

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