To the Hearthstone fans, Ben Brode was the man responsible for skyrocketing the game into awesomeness. A Blizzard veteran, Brode took the small Team 5 and grew it to create one of the most successful and profitable Blizzard titles. Today, the game has over 100 million registered players and is the undisputed leader on the card game market.
In April 2018, however, Brode parted with the company he’d been part of for 15 years. A new announcement for his own company, Second Dinner, soon followed. Since then, however, there’s been little information about what the company was gaming. Until today.
According to reports, NetEase — Blizzard’s own official distributor for the Chinese market — have invested $30 million in Second Dinner. What’s more, the company’s first game will be a Marvel game. Details about it are yet unclear, but the crew promises that applicants who get hired into Second Dinner will naturally get to see it.
“We got funded. And not just barely funded, we got pretty awesomely funded,” former Hearthstone executive producer Hamilton Chu says. “We are happy with the terms and we have enough money in the bank to hire the team we really need without really needing to compromise. And furthermore, we have enough to get to the end of the first project, we think, without having to stop in the middle to scramble for more investment.”
One can only speculate about the nature of Second Dinner’s Marvel game, though NetEase’s latest moves do give certain ideas. The Chinese mastodon recently partnered with Blizzard to Diablo: Immortal on mobile phones. Mobile is also one of the most profitable markets for Chinese companies like NetEase, with recent articles reporting astounding growths in this department.
Apart from Brode and Chu, former Hearthstone lead producer Young Woo is also part of the team. The company is currently hiring for its Irvine office.