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Industry vets net $3.15M to build multiplayer RPG using generative AI

Jam & Tea Studios has raised $3.15 million in seed funding to create what it describes as a “new generation of multiplayer roleplaying video games.”

The investment round was led by London Venture Partners with backing from Sisu Game Ventures and 1Up Ventures.

Jam & Tea was formed by industry veterans from Riot Games, Wizards of the Coast, and Phoenix Labs. The remote-first studio is a huge believer in the power of AI and plans to use the technology to create its as-yet-unnamed debut title.

The company said AI can be harnessed to “empower previously impossible levels of player agency,” with studio CTO Aaron Farr suggesting it could also unlock new gameplay possibilities.

“We’re excited for what AI unlocks in terms of design space and new gameplay possibilities,” said Farr. “While we’re confident there will be improvements to workflows, we are far more focused on using AI to unlock game experiences folks have never seen before.”

Fellow co-founder and studio CCO, M Yichao, said the company will also be leaning on AI-powered tools in a bid to empower its artists and designers. “As the volume of generated content grows with easier-to-use AI tools, the need for human innovation will grow as well,” he added, suggesting that AI tools can actually fuel creativity.

Jam & Tea founder says generative AI tools are “central” to the studio’s vision

It’s currently unclear how exactly the studio will implement those tools, but, in a recent blog post shared on the Jam & Tea website, Farr said generative AI has the “potential to be an incredible new tool” that will streamline production and enable the team to pursue their creative vision without constraints.

“When there’s a shiny new tool, sometimes it’s easy to fixate on how to use it everywhere, because you want to show off the Brand New Thing And while generative AI is central to our vision and architecture for our flagship game, we also are leveraging all our tools and tricks we’ve learned (and built) over our careers in developing our game,”wrote Farr.

“We’re keenly aware of the difference between building a demo, and making a game that players can fall in love with.”

Expanding on those comments in another blog post, Yichao suggested that supporting generative AI tools will actually create more jobs in the long-run and claimed Jam & Tea will continue investing in its creative team.

“As AI gets better and better at producing content, the need and hunger for human ingenuity, creativity, and specificity will only increase,” they added. “Writing naturalistic copy or creating a believable stock photo is very different from composing an experience across mediums that resonates yet surprises, that feels fresh and new, yet inviting and familiar.”

Some within the game industry, however, are equally concerned about the challenges presented by the rise of generative AI. Voice acting union SAG-AFTRA is currently attempting to renegotiate with major game companies in a bid to protect performers from exploitative uses of AI–and is prepared to call a strike in search of aresolution.

Humble Games, meanwhile, recently indicated it might bake AIrestrictions into future publishing contracts to prevent developers from using generative AI tools to create assets using data they don’t necessarily own.

Production

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