Any time you form a supergroup, meaning a collection of already established stars who want to collaborate on a project, it can pretty much go one of two ways: The Transplants or Tinted Windows. That is to say, it can either be a massive success from the melding of great minds (like The Transplants) or it can be something you never hear from again — with good reason (like Tinted Windows). It’s safe to say at this point 3BlackDot is more Transplants than Tinted Windows.
The supergroup, which is partially comprised of Tom Cassell from The Syndicate Project, Adam Montoya from SeaNanners, Evan Fong of VanossGaming and former Machinima exec Angelo Pullen goes by the name 3BlackDot and it has set out to innovate the gaming space on YouTube. First innovating a better quality of MCN, the group next turned its sights on making an awesome game — the perfect project for a co-op of gamers with YouTube subscriber bases in the millions.
Their first effort is a spooky recently teased game called Dead Realm that has its roots in the same sort of jumpscare dynamics that made games like Cellar Door and The House series the stuff of online legend.
Released on Steam in Early Access Mode back at the end of June, the game has been steadily racking up the plays and the positive endorsements ever since. Described as a sort of “horror hide & seek,” Dead Realm allows you to play as a good guy or a bad guy as you try to hide from ghosts or work as a ghost to seek out prey (and make them as dead as you are).
We didn’t want to give too much away, so we reached out to the creators, the 3BlackDot team to see what they had to say about Dead Realm and the experience of creating it. The interview is fortunately a lot less scary than the game — but then, pretty much EVERYTHING could be described as less scary than Dead Realm (and funny for that matter). That’s a pretty amazing starting point for a first-time company. Hopefully it just keeps going up from here.
How did the idea for 3BlackDot come about in the first place?
Tom (TheSyndicateProject): We are a group of likeminded people that wanted to make things we were excited and passionate about, together, and that is where we started and what we are doing.
What was the catalyst for you all to team up and make a game?
Tom: Prior to deciding to do YouTube I was in school to become a game designer. We are all passionate about playing and making games. We have been playing other people’s games for so long, and loved them, but we all wanted, at some point in life, to have a hand in making our own game and this was our first opportunity to make a larger scale PC game.
Why the decision to go with a horror game?
Angelo (Pullen): We felt that people love being jump scared, not necessarily in a graphic or gory way, but in a fun way. We wanted to make people scream and then laugh hysterically a moment later and we feel we did that well.
Who is the best at playing Dead Realm so far?
Adam (SeaNanners): Dead Realm is all about having fun with your friends. We’ve tried to design a game that’s more about atmosphere and less about competition. If people are screaming or giggling; we’ve done our part.
Evan (VanossGaming): I would have to say Tom. His gaming parkour skills are on point which is pretty important in this game.
What was your major contribution to the Dead Realm project?
Angelo: Assisting our VP Games Marwan in pulling together a really big game in a short amount of time and making sure that everyone had fun. I was really focused on helping make sure it was a game that content creators have fun creating content out of while their respective audiences have fun watching and playing the game.
Evan: All the content creators involved in the game dipped their toes into a bit of everything. But I think my biggest contribution was in helping improve the Seek and Reap game mode. As simple as it may seem to create a game mode like that, there are a lot of nuances and decisions that have to be made in order for the experience to be fun and entertaining to watch (for video content). The team and I had a great time carving this game mode into what it is now.
Tom: Assisting in what type of gameplay will help make for the best experience for people that are watching as content. We were really focused on making sure that even if you weren’t playing you were still having fun, similar to watching a horror film waiting for the ghost to scare you!
Adam: I’m one of three creative directors for the project. My major contribution was the giant spooky baby. You’re welcome.
What was the biggest fight that went on? Was there anything anyone was adamantly opposed to?
Angelo: Fortunately, there were no big fights. The hardest part has always been coming to a place where our ideas can happen within the time and budget that we had.
Has there been any sort of criticism from the fans based on what they’ve seen?
Tom: Because the game is in early access, people have said that it looks great and is super fun, but they are waiting for more content. This is something we are working on and have been asking the community to help us drive.
Adam: Everyone seems to be super supportive towards the game. It’s really rewarding to see such a positive reception towards our first project.
Are you guys just going to be releasing tons of Let’s Plays on this game? Or is there like a specific market strategy to just sort of play it cool and see what happens?
Evan: I think the strategy is to genuinely have fun with it. I believe we made a great game and we’ll be able to consistently make videos for it. Especially as the game evolves and improves with the help of the community and our team.
Do you think this sort of self-made gaming is the future of the industry? Or is that too ambitious?
Evan: I think it will definitely be a big part of the industry. Everyone in the gaming community has an idea of their ideal game or game mode. 3BD was able to come together and provide the tools needed to make those ideas possible. Dead Realm is proof that making games that are both fun to play and fun to watch is possible and can be successful.