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YouTube Stars and Ex-Machinima Execs Seek Success in Game Publishing

Jack Gardner


Founded in 2013 by former executives from the Machinima network along with YouTube personalities, 3BLACKDOT made waves recently by publishing its first PC title to a large swell of public support. That game, Dead Realm, is a multiplayer horror title currently available on Steam Greenlight. With video contributions by partners and co-founders of 3BLACKDOT like Evan Fong (VanossGaming), Tom Cassell (TheSyndicateProject), and Adam Montoya (SeaNanners), Dead Realm has inspired over 25,000 videos from fans and personalities. What exactly makes this game so engaging?

Simply put, Dead Realm is a game of hide and seek set within a spooky mansion. That might not seem like a terribly exciting or novel premise, until you add player-controlled specters and up to eight humans all trying to stay alive and escape the mansion. Dead Realm contains two game modes, three maps, two ghosts, and eight human characters. While the Early Access version of Dead Realm stands a bit bare bones in its alpha state, much more content is being planned for the final release sometime in 2016. One of 3BLACKDOT's co-founders, Evan Fong, echoed this commitment to future support in his statement, "Our intention is to work with the community to constantly develop new content, including ghosts, humans and maps. This early access release is just the beginning of what will be an ever evolving project.” 

So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Adam Montoya attributes this to the mission statement for Dead Realm, "The original concept for Dead Realm was to create a new game that was simple in nature, but also addictively fun to play with friends." Judging by the community feedback on their Early Access page, it seems like Dead Realm has achieved that goal, even without the features that have been promised looming on the horizon. “When Dead Realm first hit the STEAM early access store, we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Tom Cassell, partner and creative director at 3BLACKDOT, “Then the community began to react and the response was overwhelming. Our twitter account hit twenty-thousand followers within the first two days and Twitch created a designated channel on day one --- this all happened without any dedicated marketing dollars.” 

Perhaps it is no surprise that a publisher with so much social media acumen could manage to organize such a groundswell of public support with one of their first projects. Angelo Pullen, one of the ex-Machinima executives who left to become the CEO and a co-founder of 3BLACKDOT, mentions that tapping into influential YouTubers and streamers is one of their priorities as a company, "This is the first time that a game has been developed in partnership with online influencers with a primary goal of creating content that’s not only fun to play, but also fun to watch, share and stream. Our company’s mission is to produce innovative, high-quality experiences for and with Influencers and their communities."

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