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Why Two Riot Games Alums are Straying Away from Competitive Games

After a combined 13 years at Riot, Treehouse Games execs Michael Chu and Andrea Sepenzis are focusing on developing cooperative multiplayer titles.

In this episode of ‘Visionaries,’ Andrea Sepenzis and Michael Chu, both Riot Games alumni who now run Treehouse Games, join host Jacob Wolf to discuss the evolution of the gaming industry and their unique approach to game development.

Read more about this episode of ‘Visionaries’ here below.

Andrea and Michael share their perspective on creating games that cater to a broader audience and how that perspective was shaped by their work at League of Legends and VALORANT developer Riot Games. They dive into the challenges of transitioning from AAA gaming to their own venture, Treehouse Games, which aims to address the underserved need for non-competitive social games.

Highlighting their commitment to creating games that foster meaningful social interactions and relationships, Andrea and Michael emphasize the importance of building a game studio that caters to a wider demographic, especially those who may have moved on from intensive competitive games due to life commitments. They also share insights into securing funding for Treehouse Games, and discuss the challenges of staying true to their vision in an industry driven by trends such as crypto and Web3 games.

In this episode of ‘Visionaries,’ the Treehouse execs emphasize the importance of finding investors who can provide more than just financing—those who understand the gaming industry and can offer valuable insights and support beyond the monetary aspect. Treehouse successfully sought partners who genuinely connected with their vision and mission, leading to the release of their upcoming game, Codename Islands.

But despite the challenges and pressures shared on ‘Visionaries,’ Andrea and Michael emphasized the significance of focusing on human needs and forging genuine connections through gaming, ultimately driving their innovative game development approach forward. They acknowledged that while the market may be trend-driven, Treehouse's focus on addressing human needs in gaming isn't necessarily a trend, but a noble endeavor that makes sense on its own merits.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available soon on this page.)

You can listen to this episode of ‘Visionaries’ and many more on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts.