Leuven games developer raises €1.8 million from ‘father of Lara Croft’
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Leuven games developer raises €1.8 million from ‘father of Lara Croft’

The new game You Suck at Parking. © Happy Volcano

The Leuven-based games studio Happy Volcano has raised $2.2 million (€1.8 million) in financing for development of its new game You Suck at Parking.

The money comes from the Luxembourg/London venture capital firm Hiro Capital, part-owned by Ian Livingstone, one of the key figures behind the game Tomb Raider featuring Lara Croft.

Happy Volcano Founders Jeroen Janssen, Peter Maasen and David Prinsmel started making games together in 2015 as a hobby. In 2017, the trio took the step to a full-time studio that has since grown to eight employees.

In June 2020 they released the narrative exploration game The Almost Gone together with Brussels writer Joost Vandecasteele.

The new game, as the name suggests, calls on players to find a parking space as fast as possible while negotiating a number of obstacles – not unlike a visit to the city of Leuven itself.

The investment is intended to conquer the world with that game,” said Jeroen Janssen, co-founder of Happy Volcano.

The studio was initially not looking for investment, but happened by chance to follow an online event by Hiro Capital.

Then I sent an email, without many expectations, because in the end we are only a very small studio from Belgium. But I got an immediate answer that they were interested. And if an industry legend like Ian Livingstone is behind it, that’s nice to hear.”

The money from Hiro Capital represents a minority interest, and will go towards taking on new staff.

Hiro is delighted to be partnering with Happy Volcano to help the studio maximise the potential of its forthcoming release, You Suck at Parking, a quirky physics game which was designed for anybody who might enjoy the hilarious challenges of parking at speed,” Livingstone said in a statement.

Hiro’s investment will give the studio the time and resources needed to realise its ambition.”

There are now eight of us, but certainly this year we want to hire five more people,” said Janssen.

The launch of You Suck at Parking is currently scheduled for the beginning of 2022. After that, the intention is to expand the game further in order to bind players to the game for longer.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times