Last week, Fandom, the huge online platform which hosts sites like Gamepedia, announced the launch of a new game publishing branch. The company’s first published game is UnderMine, a new rogue-like indie title from Thorium Entertainment which the company described as a “perfect fit” for their first project. The game is currently available in early-access on Steam, and you can check out our first experience with the game here. Following Fandom’s announcement, we had the chance to speak with Ben Robinson, Fandom’s VP of Gaming, about both the news and Fandom’s plans for publishing games going forward.
Ben Robinson on Fandom Becoming a Gaming Publisher
How long would you say Fandom has been interested in the game publication sphere?
“We’ve had the desire to test out publishing games for years now, but it was imperative that we took this step with the right game and the right developer. That’s when UnderMine came onto our radar. Our team met with Derek Johnson and Clint Tasker from Thorium Entertainment at the PAX East Indie Megabooth in March and identified UnderMine as being a major opportunity and the developers as strong partners for this endeavour. Thorium’s excitement about the game was contagious: as the developers described it, UnderMine ‘stirred a delicious pot of genre soup,’ sampling from the best rogue-likes, RPGs, and action-adventure games.”
What made UnderMine a “perfect fit” for Fandom? And does the nature of UnderMine as an indie title represent a norm for the kind of games Fandom will be publishing?
“We’ve had years of experience hosting wikis for rogue-likes, so it only made sense for us to take on the publishing of UnderMine. Inspired by classics like The Legend of Zelda and Binding of Isaac, we had a feeling UnderMine would get gamers talking. Fandom’s experience with the gaming industry, as well as our brand reach in a multitude of genres, made us confident we could help bring UnderMine to market successfully. Indie games hold a special place in our hearts, and we are always sad when a strong indie title does not receive the broader appreciation it deserves. We were thrilled to leverage our extensive network and engaged communities to put UnderMine in front of as many gamers as possible.”
Following UnderMine, will Fandom’s focus be on PC-only titles via Steam, or could other games be published on consoles, or on other online platforms for PC?
“While there are no immediate plans, we have not ruled out the possibility of publishing games on consoles in addition to PC.”
In the case of UnderMine, Fandom is leveraging its other branches to host an official game wiki, produce video guides, etc. Are these unique benefits that set Fandom apart from other publishers?
“Absolutely. What truly makes us unique is the fact that we aren’t a game publisher by nature; instead, we are a platform where millions of gamers can connect with each other to discuss their favorite content. We have our finger on the pulse of what gamers are looking for in their next video game and can utilize our platforms to bring those titles directly to the fans.
“More specifically, the official UnderMine wiki is hosted on Fandom’s gaming platform, Gamepedia, and will feature content documenting the game to help players as they start their adventure. We will also be publishing a series of articles on Gamepedia, including getting started guides and a developer interview. Fandom is uniquely positioned to provide this type of content to our gaming communities.”
Does Fandom have any other goals for game publishing?
“Publishing UnderMine was a way to demonstrate how our reach and experience can be leveraged to help talented teams bring quality games to a broader audience. We will continue to innovate and test new products and revenue streams to see what sticks. UnderMine made a lot of sense to us in the moment and we are excited to see what the future has in store.”
Is there a way for interested game developers to reach out to Fandom if they’re looking for advice, or even a potential partnership?
“Yes, I’m always open to inquiries. Developers can reach out to me directly at [email protected].”