Lightspeed invests in Methodical, a dream team of AAA game builders

Industry veterans from Epic Games, Respawn Entertainment, and Infinity Ward combine forces to build the next great multiplayer game.

By Paul Murphy and Shan Shan

Building a great startup is never easy. It requires a lot of disparate elements coming together at the same time. You need a leader with vision, along with the funding and guidance to realize that vision. You need access to infrastructure and industry expertise. But what you need most of all is talent.

When you assemble a group of people who are among the best at what they do, in a field where the competition is unbelievably fierce, good things inevitably happen.

Methodical Games combines top engineers, designers, and artists from iconic studios like Epic Games*, Respawn Entertainment, and Infinity Ward. These long-time industry pros are joining forces to build a new fantastical world from the (virtual) ground up.

We are thrilled to lead Methodical’s Seed round of $15 million which will allow the team to apply their decades of experience building genre-defining shooters to a new multiplayer action-adventure game.

Meet the AAA team

For more than a decade, gaming has been the largest entertainment industry on the planet. The global gaming market will generate revenues of over $200 billion in 2023, more than film, TV, music streaming, or professional sports. Roughly 3 billion people played games last year, a number that’s growing at more than 5 percent per year.

The top titles are massive money makers. Fortnite generated nearly $6 billion in revenue in 2021 alone. The Call of Duty franchise has earned more than $27 billion over 20 years. Apex Legends, a multi-platform free-to-play game now entering its 15th season, earns more than $1 billion a year.

Methodical Games is forged from the same creative foundry that built these iconic AAA game titles. This may be the most impressive team of game creators we’ve ever partnered with.

Pictured left to right: Francesco Gigliotti, Dave Ratti, and Adam Bellefeuil.

Francesco Gigliotti — CEO/Game Director. With over two decades experience, Frank most recently served as an Engineering Fellow at Epic Games, where he was a key member of the small team that created Fortnite Battle Royale. Prior to that he was a founding member at Respawn Entertainment where he led the gameplay engineering team on Titanfall. He spent nearly eight years at Infinity Ward overseeing gameplay engineering for the Call of Duty titles. He’s considered a master of gameplay mechanics for combat systems, character movement, and player controls, which he pioneered crafting Call of Duty’s iconic shooting gameplay.

Adam Bellefeuil — Design Director. Adam brings over two decades of design experience and spent 15 years at Epic Games where he was part of the original team that created Fortnite in 2011. He was a leader on the Paragon gameplay design team where he designed AI systems and shipped many of the playable heroes. He was also responsible for the design and scripting of many iconic campaign moments and multiplayer levels on the classic Gears of War series.

Dave Ratti — Technical Director. Dave spent 10 years at Epic Games where he was one of the elite Unreal Engine Directors. With 17 years experience, his fingerprints are on such iconic titles as Fortnite Battle Royale, Paragon, Doom, and Rage. He is an expert in the field of multiplayer networking and is the primary author of Unreal Engine’s Gameplay Ability System, which powers Fortnite’s gameplay systems and is the foundation for many of the world’s most popular games.

Rounding out the all-star team of founders:

Jay Hosfelt — Animation Director. Jay has 28 years of experience and spent more than 18 years as Lead Animator at Epic Games where he created animation for the Unreal series, Gears of War series, Paragon, Fortnite, and tech demos like The Matrix Awakens.

Robert “RoBoT” Gaines — Visual FX Director. Robert has more than 26 years of experience and was previously Visual FX Director at Respawn Entertainment where he worked on the Titanfall franchise and Apex Legends. Prior to that he was Visual FX Lead at Infinity Ward on Call of Duty.

Richard Baker — Principal Engineer. Richard has more than 26 years of experience and was Technical Director at Respawn Entertainment for the Titanfall franchise and Apex Legends. Previously he was an Engineering Lead at Infinity Ward on Call of Duty.

Lewis Walden — Principal Environment Artist. Lew has more than 25 years of experience and was previously Environment Art Lead at Respawn Entertainment on Titanfall and Apex Legends. Prior to that he was a Senior Environment Artist at Sony Santa Monica on God of War II and God of War III.

James Caron — Gameplay Designer. James has a background as a pro gamer and was previously a Gameplay Designer at Epic Games for over 6 years, where he became a key member of the Fortnite Battle Royale gameplay team for 15 seasons.

Ori Cohen — Principal Engineer. Ori has more than 10 years of experience and was previously a Principal Physics Engineer at Epic Games, where he worked on core systems for UE4 and UE5. Ori was a core member of the small team that created Fortnite Battle Royale where he worked on various gameplay features as well as creating the vehicle system and the first few vehicles.

We’ve never seen such an assemblage of talent and experience coming together to build a single game. That alone was enough for us to decide to lead Methodical’s seed round.

A whole new world

The exact details of the game are obviously a work in progress. But we know it will deliver an inclusive and exploratory game experience, set in a vast living world with gateways to lands of mystery. The team is already hard at work and in the early stages of pre-production with a number of open roles available on their website: www.methodical.com.

This is a rare AAA team with a huge vision and a history of building some of the world’s most iconic titles. When we first heard about Methodical’s team, we ran hard to find a way to partner. We are thrilled to lead their initial round, and can’t wait to see what they create.

* Lightspeed portfolio company

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