As the gaming branch of Nexxyo Labs — a 300-employee Spanish studio that’s regarded as one of the largest Web3-native video game studios in Europe – Maniac Panda Games is on a mission to “merge the expertise of traditional games with cutting-edge web3 technology, paving the way for groundbreaking titles that will leave a lasting mark on the history of video games“. As part of this endeavour, the studio has earmarked 3 games for release – One Last Breath, Racerloop, and Outer Ring.

I spoke to David Noya (Chief Growth Officer) to find out a little bit more about Maniac Panda Games, and to also see as to how the company is looking to “discover new dimensions of gaming“. Enjoy!

Mr Noya, how long have you been with Maniac Panda Games?

So I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half already. We recently created the studio. We didn’t start as a game studio initially. We started the company as a software development company that creates solutions which are based on blockchains for third party companies who are based on trust, because that’s the easiest use case for companies with blockchain. But since the founders were all gamers, when they had the opportunity to create a game, they started with Outer Ring. And that vision allowed us to get some funds, and that allowed us to kind of diversify into other games, and not just be a one shot studio. And we had to create a spin-off company called Maniac Panda Games, but the parent company is called Nexxyo Labs.

Given that the studio has only been around for a short while, how come you’ve got three games already?

That’s the thing… So we started with the vision of Outer Ring. You have to know that we are a Web3 native company, which means that we also use blockchain in some of our games, because we have the in-house expertise…

I’m just surprised at how quickly the company’s grown…

Yeah, we went from 15 people in March 2022, and now we are more than 300 in the whole company. We are around 160 at Maniac Panda Games. But the whole company right now, with outsourcing and all that kind of stuff, we are at around 340.

What sort of impact has that had on the company’s culture?

A lot. Right now, we are… I don’t want to say that we’re struggling, but it’s a challenge for us to keep creating company structures as we are developing products. It’s something that is super difficult for us, and we are putting a lot of effort into creating these structures of enterprise. Because we are not a startup anymore, this is something that we’re having to put a lot of effort into while we keep developing our games.

One of the problems with companies that expand too fast is that there’s a dilution of quality. You’re not able to find good quality employees when you’re expanding quickly and at scale. So how has the quality of your company and its culture been impacted?

So you have to understand that One Last Breath and Racerloop were two games that were already being worked on by their teams, and we acquired those teams. So we maintained those projects and also added resources.

With Outer Ring, what happened was that we realized that the scope could be so much bigger, so we just devoted more resources to the team. So for us, growing has actually allowed us to put more quality into what we’re doing. But it’s true that maintaining a team that’s more than a hundred people, as well as a remote team, is super challenging.

I really like the look of One Last Breath as it reminds me of Limbo. How many people are working on the game?

So since it’s an almost finished project, and we have already signed with the publisher, it’s just a matter of time before it comes out. There are 5 to 6 people currently working on it, and they’re just polishing stuff, tweaking sounds, that kind of stuff. But as far as development goes, it’s already finished.

How many people worked on the game during its peak?

Maybe 20 or so during its peak. Because it was an indie project, that’s why it got the indie prize last year. And we added some resources to the project, but now it’s just back to 5 or 6 people.

Do you have an active hand in game development?

I don’t. I mean, some of the management team in our company have experience in game development. But we have also been able to acquire talent from Ubisoft, from GameLoft… Because our proposition is quite interesting to those people, because we allow for a lot of freedom in creativity. We don’t need, or we don’t depend on a publisher or whatever, so we can create the games that we want to create.

Why have you decided to focus on making the type of games that you are making, as opposed to other type of games? For example, One Last Breath is a narrative platformer style game that’s in the same vein as Limbo. Racerloop is similar to futuristic racing games like F-Zero. And Outer Ring is similar to MMO games like World Of Warcraft. What is it about those genres and those type of games that makes you want to focus on them – as opposed to something like say, a first person shooter, or even a Souls-like game, or maybe even something else?

So for us, One Last Breath and Racerloop were already there, and were good opportunities that gave us the chance to help the teams when we acquired them. For Outer Ring though, it’s the vision that the founders of Nexxyo Labs had since the beginning. They’re all gamers. They wanted to create an MMORPG. Our CEO, Daniel Valdés Araiz, actually wrote a book that is on the shelves already. It’s called ‘Outer Ring: Dawn Chronicles‘ and it explains the prologue and allows us to have a super deep lore so that it can hook people into our universe. But we all wanted to do an MMO because that’s what we love to play…

Any last words?

Please check us out and stay up to date on what we are doing, which is a lot…

Thank you so much.

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