Cortopia

Cortopia Group Raises $1.4 Million

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Stockholm, Sweden (June 4 , 2018) – The Cortopia Group, established by award-winning virtual reality (VR) studio Cortopia Studios, announced today that they have raised an additional 12 million SEK ($1.4 million USD) for their newly formed entity in a funding round that closed on April 30th. This funding round will accelerate the Group’s ability in R&D and development of new VR, Augmented Reality (AR), and esports initiatives. Zenz VR joined the Cortopia Group on April 27th.

“Mobile AR is accelerating quicker than we first anticipated and in order to remain competitive, we need to embrace the advances in technology and the ways in which users show us they want to play games,” says Cortopia Group CEO, Andreas Skoglund. “With the release of AR Core by Google and Apple’s AR Kit, building compelling AR experiences is more appealing than ever before and this additional funding round will allow us to pursue additional paths for our group.”

This investment round for the Cortopia Group garnered the attention of many prominent investors in the tech, gaming and entertainment industries in a short time.

Cortopia Studios has already seen widespread success with their hugely popular, competitive, cross-platform VR title WANDS that brings fast-paced magic duels to players around the world. WANDS is a top-selling title on many headsets including as a launch title on Oculus Go in May of this year.

About Cortopia Group

Built by the original team behind WANDS, award-winning Cortopia Studios is based in Stockholm, Sweden and is led by CEO Andreas Skoglund who joined the company earlier in 2017 after previously having worked at DICE and Electronic Arts as a producer on the Battlefield and Battlefront franchises. The hero title, WANDS is a key focus – but the studio has also hinted at plans to use the company’s unique position to drive innovation for VR and AR technologies. Also part of Cortopia Group is Zenz VR, lead by CEO Niklas Persson who is the co-founder and creator of Codename: Eagle, which later became Electronic Arts’ big success Battlefield. Zenz VR hero title HordeZ is one of the most popular VR zombie shooter games in the world and is featured in multiple VR Arcades globally. Available on Steam, Oculus Rift, and Vive and for commercial licensing. X-Fire and Xion are available in early access.

The Cortopia Group was created to further expand VR and AR allowing successful studios to focus on what they do best; create games.

http://www.cortopia.com

http://www.zenzvr.com

Contact:

John Milburn, john.milburn@cortopia.com

The Sanctum of Sahir

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New Arena: The Sanctum of Sahir

A new arena has been discovered in the Beyond!

This map features 3 separate sections that the duel will progress through as a sandstorm and deadly poison sweep across the map.

The battle begins outside a grand temple and ends within the burial chamber of a long forgotten king.

The Sanctum of Sahir is part of our 1.4 update which will be out this month.

A Tale of Two Wands Updates

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Hello fans of Wands,

My name is Ryan Bednar and I recently joined the team at Cortopia as the Creative Director of the studio.

Now that I’ve had a chance to settle in, I wanted to share our roadmap for the next couple of Wands updates so that you can know what to look forward to!

But first, let’s start with some context.

We know that Wands is a great game with an exceptionally loyal and passionate player base. We see them every day on our Discord, around the internet, and in the game.

That said, we acknowledge that Wands has some room for improvement. Once players understand how to play the game, they often comment on the the game’s unique depth of gameplay – specifically for VR. But the learning curve is steep, and we currently drop you into the deep end pretty early on.

So our plan is the tackle these issues in two parts.

The first is Patch 1.4.0 which will involve us rebuilding the workshop, and all of its functionality, from the ground up; as well as adding a tutorial sequence to introduce new players to the very basics of the game.

The second, Patch 1.4.1, will cover everything else. Improvements to our control schemes, tighter gameplay feedback, and more ways to play the game will all be areas of focus for us.

While subject to change, our current plan is to launch 1.4.0 mid-June and 1.4.1 sometime early in the fall of 2018.

I hope that you’re as excited for these changes as we are – and we look forward to continuing to make Wands the best game it can be!

-Ryan

Cortopia Studios establishes Cortopia Group, adds Zenz VR to the fold

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Stockholm, Sweden (May 24, 2018) – Award-winning VR Studio, Cortopia Studios announced today that they will be bringing successful Indie VR company Zenz VR under the Cortopia Group umbrella, representing a milestone for the newly established entity. Zenz VR brings established IP to the Cortopia Group, as well as a fourth title currently under development.

“Building on the success of our cross-platform VR title WANDS, Cortopia Group is keeping a pulse on the top studios that fit our ambition for excellence in VR,”,  says Cortopia Group CEO, Andreas Skoglund. “Cortopia is an effective team of talented VR creators and have shown that we can develop incredible experiences that capture the hearts and minds of VR enthusiasts. We are thrilled to lend our support to Zenz VR to help them do what they do best, and to expand our studios influence in the industry.”

“Zenz VR is delighted to be joining Cortopia Group,” says Niklas Persson, games industry veteran, founder and CEO of Zenz VR. “The Cortopia team has been very pleasant to work with and I am excited to continue as CEO of Zenz VR in this next exciting chapter for our company.”

Niklas Persson is the co-founder and creator of Codename: Eagle, which later became Electronic Arts’ big success Battlefield.

Cortopia Studios has already seen widespread success with their hugely popular, PvP cross-platform VR title WANDS that brings fast-paced magic duels to players around the world. Zenz VR will join the Cortopia Group, bringing popular VR titles HordeZ, X-Fire VR, and Xion as well as a fourth title in development.

  • HordeZ is one of the most popular VR zombie shooter games in the world and has been featured in multiple VR Arcades globally. Currently available to download on SteamOculus Rift, and Vive and for commercial licensing.
  • X-Fire VR is an action title set in the year 2059, featuring gameplay for an epic battle between Humans and Alien forces. Randomized levels ensure high replayability. Currently in early access on steam.
  • Xion revives the arcade and shoot’em-ups of the 90’s with a unique rogue style and destructible voxel landscape setting, now featuring the ability to upgrade your ship. Currently in early access on steam and will also very soon be available for Oculus Rift.

 

About Cortopia Studios:

Built by the original team behind WANDS, award-winning Cortopia Studios is based in Stockholm, Sweden and is led by CEO Andreas Skoglund who joined the company earlier in 2017 after previously having worked at DICE and Electronic Arts as a producer on the Battlefield and Battlefront franchises. The studios hero title, WANDS is a key focus – but the studio has also hinted at ambitious plans to use the company’s unique position to drive innovation for VR, AR and MR technologies. The Cortopia Group was created to further expand VR and AR allowing successful studios to focus on what they do best; create games. http://www.cortopia.com/

 

Contacts:

Alice Martinez, alice@zebrapartners.net

John Milburn, john.milburn@cortopia.com

 

Wands – Patch 1.3.9 Now Live

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Fresh out the Wands factory, we’ve just released our new update 1.3.9. With this update there’s several performance improvements, balance changes and bug fixes.

Improvements

  • Improved network sync for Flaming Phoenix
  • Major performance improvements for spell casting

Game balancing

  • Reduced cast cost for Cerberus collars from 35 to 25 mana and reduced time from 10 to 8 seconds
  • Reduced cast cost for Skull Specter from 35 to 30

Bug fixes

  • Players can no longer get hit during teleportation
  • Dragon’s Breath can no longer deal damage through shields
  • Fixed bug where more than 2 twins could be active at the same time
  • Splash damage doesn’t pass through solid objects anymore
  • Elevator speed on Aspis Prison now the same throughout the match

Oculus

Improvements

  • Improvements made to swipe input to both the GearVR and Go remote

Daydream

Improvements

  • Improvements made to swipe input

Misc

  • From now on players need to be signed in to Google Play Games to connect to Wands

Wands with positional tracking now on Daydream’s Mirage

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Wands is now available and can be enjoyed with 6dof on Google Daydream’s Lenovo Mirage Solo. Wands has true positional tracking available right now.

The world’s first standalone Daydream VR Headset. Experience immersive virtual reality without a separate PC or smartphone. Deploy Google’s powerful WorldSense™ technology to lean, dodge, duck, move, avoid obstacles, and move naturally in The Beyond.

 

Wands, launch title on Oculus Go

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We’re super excited to share the news that Wands is now available on the brand new Oculus Go.

Easily enter the beyond in Wands with no PC or wires attached. Oculus Go is a standalone VR headset made to fit you. Designed with breathable fabrics, adjustable straps and Oculus best lenses yet.

New Wands website

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We’re happy to announce our brand new Wands website.

Some of the improvements:

  • Vastly improved discovery across all devices; desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile. Basically you should now find what you’re looking for.
  • Improved visual experience overall, showcasing more of our beautiful game.
  • New section: Competitive. An area where we’ll add more info over time with the focus on the competitive aspects of Wands.
  • Improvements done to the forum.
  • New section: Wands Wiki. We’re super excited to share this with everyone. We now have a brand new Wiki for Wands and we look forward to adding a lot of stuff to it. Let us know if you want to contribute.

CEO Spotlight with Andreas Skoglund

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We’ve talked with our CEO, Andreas Skoglund to hear about his daily life as CEO, dreams and best practices.

Hi Andreas! Welcome and thanks for sitting down with us. Can you tell those unaware who you are and what you do?

Hi there. My name is Andreas Skoglund, I am a 36-year old nerd who lives in Stockholm, Sweden together with my wife and two daughters. At this particular point in time I am the CEO of Cortopia Studios. When I am not doing work, I tend to split my time between consumption of digital entertainment and spending time with my girls at home.

What is Cortopia?

Cortopia is a gaming studio within the VR sphere with ambitious plans to start doing very cool stuff in the near future.

How did you get into this position? What drove you to Cortopia?

It started with a wish to do something different and go to a more intimate setting. Before Cortopia I was working at DICE for 7 years where I very much enjoyed my time and I’m still today very much in love with the company and the people there. But I am a restless soul and came to a point where I felt I knew the reality of working for a big media company a little too well and wanted to focus my time in a creative setting where you can make a lot of impact.
I knew Ricky, the founder of Cortopia, since his time at DICE a couple of years ago. When he asked if I was interested in helping him direct the company as its new CEO, I felt it was a perfect fit for where I were mentally at the time and here I am today with a new set of wonderful colleagues and a whole new fresh industry to conquer.

 

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The single most exciting part is to be able to work with passionate and driven people. In a smaller company like Cortopia the success lies within how the people decide to engage in their work. I don’t see myself as a boss with all the answers, my primary role is to make sure everyone knows their purpose, share the vision of where we are going  and feel like they have a personal and professional journey to grow with. How well the company does is directly correlated to how engaged the people within it are.

 

Cortopia secured a rather significant funding at the end of 2017, 21,5m SEK to be exact. How was this experience like and what are the goals with this new influx of capital?

Working in the still very early industry of VR and AR comes with the reality that not many companies are able to fully drive the business on profit. So funding is a common form of securing continued results and innovation. For us, we were lucky to find investors that share our vision for the future and the industry and are willing to partake in our journey for the long run. As for goals, we want to build on the success of our first game Wands and widen our VR portfolio while also venturing into AR. We will do this by recruiting industry leading talent.

 

Nice! You mention Wands, Cortopia’s hero title. Can you give a brief introduction for anyone not aware of what this game is about?

Wands in its core is a competitive, player vs. player game set in the scene of magic duels in the 13th century of London. You take the role of a wielder and load up your wands with magical spells and challenge other players around the world to show who is best by climbing the leaderboards. It is a very beautiful and intense experience that has a big following of dedicated players. What is also very cool is that the game is available on the majority of the major VR platforms out there and everyone can play everyone.

 

Given Wands’ very competitive scene, are there any plans to expand into the eSports market?

I am personally a big fan of eSports and spend a lot of time on Twitch. So yes, we are keeping a close eye on opportunities in this area to see what the future might bring.

 

What about future games? Is this something Cortopia is looking into and if so, will it also be within the VR space?

I believe we both need and will grow by putting our creative hats on and work on some new and different types of games. We have an immense talent pool with itchy fingers. Along side of this we are still very much dedicated to Wands and will keep supporting the game for a long time to come.

 

Where is the AR and VR industry going in the next years and are these two subjects relatable?

I believe both VR and AR will continue to grow at a steep rate as the technology becomes more powerful and available to the general public. VR and AR are by definition two very separate experiences but as we move into the future I am sure that from a gadget-perspective they will merge into the same device and very much replace things like smartphones and TV screens.

 

Where do you see Cortopia in 5 years given your thoughts on AR and VR?

We are breaking new grounds in how entertainment is experienced on these platforms.

 

For anyone wanting to get into the gaming industry, what are your best tips?

Education is always good and will get you a long way, but I came into the industry with no formal education in the area or previous experience in the industry. Both looking at how I landed my first job in games and what I today look at when I hire people, it mostly comes down to a genuine love for games and the will to leave ego at the door and learn on the job. I will take true humble ambition with the mindset of doing what it takes over a proven track record any day of the week.

[JAN] Player Of The Month – Crystal Commander

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Through exceptional dedication towards the Wands community and reaching the #1 spot on the global leaderboard in record time, Crystal Commander has rightfully earned his spot as this months Player Of The Month. Enjoy this interview talking about his goals, thoughts on Wands and tips & tricks.

Hi Crystal Commander! Congratulations on being nominated the Wands, Player Of The Month and also not to forget you’re currently holding the #1 rank on the global leaderboard – well done! How’s it going?

It is going pretty good! And thank you!!  I’m a little antsy; just trying to hold onto my rank is difficult.

How did you initially find out about Wands? What drew you to the game?
It was recommended to me by Steam since it was sort of similar to other games I had. I was not expecting for it to be as amazing as it is! What caused me to try it out was the introductory trailer. While watching it, I could hardly tell the difference between the cinematics and actual gameplay. I even had a hard time convincing some of my friends that it wasn’t all staged.

 

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What keeps you coming back to the game?
Currently? I am trying to maintain the #1 spot!  It has been really, really tough. Everyone is very skilled so it is very time-consuming to collect points. So far, I have only had the game twenty-three days and I have over ninety hours played in total.  Not to mention there are a lot of cosmetics I want in my collection; Weyman’s Doctor outfit, the Scepter wand, and the Lion wand just to name a few. Wands is always coming out with new updates so I plan to be around to see all of it. I really want this game to prosper.

What hardware do you use (Rift, Gear VR, Daydream or Pico) (gamepad, remote, touchpad, or Oculus Touch controllers)
I cast my spells through the HTC Vive.  It is a lot easier to play when you can physically dodge spells and save your mana. Peeking around corners and over ledges makes the combat feel all too real. While the gamepad gives users the ability to cast three spells in .3 seconds by pushing buttons, Vive users have to swipe to their spells. I’d like to thing I am a pretty swift selector, but sometimes it fails to switch the spell and I get hit with something dangerous.

What tips and tricks have you developed or learned from other players?
The skilled players in the top ten told and taught me how to predict where your opponent will go next. If you know where they will move, you can be ready to defend or set a few traps. I also have a little notebook and each notable person I duel has a little section describing usual loadouts and styles of gameplay. Every time I see them again, I refer back to their page so I can be ready for what’s coming next. However, my favorite trick is by far mana counting. The ability to know exactly how much mana your opponent has at any given time is very valuable. For example, if you have a chaos leaper, you know that they can teleport five times before running out of mana; give or take whatever other spells they use along the way. Once they are running empty, you can unleash a volley of high cost spells since they can’t move.

I’ve seen you pretty engaged with the chat on Discord. How do you feel about Wands’ community?
It is one of the best communities I have been a part of. When I first started, all of the previous season champions wanted to duel and “test” me after everyone commented on my play-style in the Discord channel. Playing Occy, Carl4D, And Dr. Jekyll_Mr. Hyde back to back, three matches each, was very tiring for a new player. Since then, I have gotten advice and tips from everyone; even a couple of challenges! Now my goal is to return all of the help I have received by answering all the questions that I can, and lending everyone a helping hand. Which is why I am online in Discord for around fourteen hours a day! If someone asks question, I respond with a checkmark and message them privately to take care of it. If I can’t answer something due to not being on the same system, or I have just run out of ideas, I call in one of the moderators. When they come in, all of the informative questions have already been asked; and the person can get the help they need as fast as possible.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in order to become #1?
Adaptability. Being able to analyse, respond, and counter in a matter of milliseconds is extremely important. However, when two highly skilled players both have this skill, it leads to staring contests while standing mere feet apart. For each player knows that whatever happens next determines the following three moves. Also, knowing your limits. Way too many times have I earned ten or so points from someone after five or six duels, only for them to win one and take thirty from me. There goes all of the progress I made, and then some.

How would you like to see Wands evolve in the future? What would your priorities be?
I definitely love to see some new spells in play! Just one spell can make countless new loadouts. That is what I would work on first! After bug fixes and patches of course. Some more customisation options/categories would also be nice; like a little familiar floating over your shoulder. It would not have any effect on the duels, as it would be just a cosmetic thing. A new map would also be fantastic to see in the works!! Each one is so carefully detailed, it makes me excited to see what else there is in the beyond!

We’d from the entire Cortopia & Wands team like to thank Crystal Commander for participating in this segment! See you in game!