With the help of EU4Business, an Armenian start-up has developed a new video game that it soon hopes to release in all European languages.
Cyber Mantis Games developed its game, 'The Last Daredevil', inspired by the Armenian legend of David of Sassoun. The hack’n’slash game takes the ancient hero and places him in an unexpected cyberpunk setting, making him explore his identity by traveling through dual worlds. Its progression is done through story and combat.
The Cyber Mantis Games team consists of 8 employees from different fields. According to Albert Hovakimyan, CEO of Cyber Mantis Games, it all started from a joke in a conversation about Armenian culture.
“Two of the co-founders were having a conversation and jokingly said: 'How come there is no video game about the Armenian hero David of Sassoun in a cyberpunk setting?!' The whole idea was that Armenian culture is often presented either in the form of Armenian or Western symbols. That’s when we decided to try and experiment by making a piece of media that would be distinctively Armenian, but also would fit in a contemporary setting."
"Later, we discovered that our friend group has the exact skillset to turn this product into reality from a thought experiment. Luckily, our thought experiment was also a great business idea, as it belonged to a $9 billion industry with a target audience eager to welcome new products,” saysHovakimyan.
Cyber Mantis Games received a Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (STEP) grant from the EU-SMEDA project in November 2018. Hovakimyan says their goal is to use the grant to prepare themselves for a contract with an indie video game publisher.
“In our industry, for newcomers, it’s easier to market your game with the help of a veteran – which is the video game publisher. Before winning the grant, we had achieved a technical demo of our product. Now we’re refining the product, we’ve enlarged the team and we’ll bring our product closer to perfection,” he says.
Albert Hovakimyan notes that their product will definitely target European players.
“More than 30% of video game players worldwide are from Europe and our game is going to be released in all major European languages to be more accessible for the European audience.”
The CEO of Cyber Mantis Games said recruitment difficulties were one of the start-up's major challenges.
“Because the industry is under-represented, it’s hard to find both senior and junior professionals. But luckily for us, we were able to form a team out of very talented and motivated creatives. The other difficulty is that it’s hard to raise investment as large as ours.”
Over the next year, Cyber Mantis Games is planning to release the demo version of its game for the public, send it to industry influencers for feedback and review, and sign a contract with an indie publisher such as Devolver Digital or Raw Fury.
Since 2017, the ‘Support to SME Development in Armenia’ (EU-SMEDA) project, which is funded by the European Union under the EU4Business initiative and implemented by GIZ in cooperation with the Enterprise Incubator Foundation(EIF), has been supporting Armenian startups with two types of grant – Innovation Matching Grants (IMG) and Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (STEP) grants.