One of Lego‘s bricks has escaped. The Lego Group’s investment arm, Lego Ventures, has spun out a new game studio called Light Brick Studio as an independent company.
The spinout is a first-ever such move for Lego, and it is a bid to help the startup explore the future of digital play outside of the umbrella of Lego.
Lego Ventures is separate from the Lego Group, as a family-owned venture firm, and it invested $1 million into the studio as part of its plan to look “beyond the brick,” Lego Ventures marketing head Rob Lowe said in an interview with GamesBeat.
“This is the first time we have spun something out into an independent company,” Lowe said. “We want to know what are the edges of the Lego Idea, outside of the brick.”
Copenhagen, Denmark-based Light Brick Studio is headed by seasoned game developers Karsten Lund and Mads Prahm, who have worked together for a couple of decades.
“We want to reach more platforms in the future,” said Lund in an interview. “We want to start a new game for other platforms.”
As Light Brick Studio, they previously created the Apple Arcade title, Builder’s Journey, released in December 2019 under the Lego banner. The single-player game took a while to conceptualize, but once it was set, it took less than a year to finish, Lund said. In Builder’s Journey, players had to solve spatial puzzles using Lego bricks.
Now the studio will be free to create and explore ideas underpinned by the Lego Idea while working with any external partners they choose, and on any projects that harness Lego’s focus on learning and creativity.
Asked if the company will focus on user-generated content, Lund said the focus now will be on “lightly guided creativity.” He added, “Our previous game had no user-generated content. But that’s probably an area we will look at in the future.”
For Light Brick Studio, that means looking at social play on other platforms, such as digital games. But Light Brick Studio does not expect to make triple-A games for consoles. That’s the domain of partners such as TT Games, the Warner Bros. studio that makes Lego video games under a license from The Lego Group.
Light Brick Studio has 12 employees, but it expects to expand in the future.
The spin-out allows Light Brick Studio to work with an array of gaming projects and partners, including the Lego Group itself. Lego Ventures itself is a venture capital arm of the Lego brand, and it was founded two years ago. It focuses on startups in education and “digital play,” exploring the connections between creativity, learning, and play, Lowe said.
Over the next 10 years, Lego Ventures hopes to invest in 50 to 70 companies, Lowe said.
Previously, Lego Ventures invested in Berlin-based Klang, which is making a massively multiplayer online space colony simulation called Seed.
“Our investment goes beyond finding a new Roblox or Minecraft,” said Lowe.
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