Wanderword is Boden’s first and largest international game studio. “The partners we are working with right now are the largest in the world,” says Mattias Bergqvist, studio manager.
At the top of the newly built Verkstan at Boden Business Park is Wanderword located. Here digital creators sit and develop interactive sound in various forms. They make audiobooks, games and entertainment applications based on speech synthesis, voice control and smart speakers.
– Amazon has sold 130 million smart speakers and there are voice assistants in every mobile phone. But there is not much content, except to ask about the weather or the next meeting. We make quality entertainment content for them, says Mattias Bergqvist, studio manager.
During the year, the plan is to publish about 20 titles, both own content and collaborations. New technology is also being developed here and the goal is to launch its own platform to fill with content.
– We will probably make a few more games because that is the background we have. Towards the end of the year, when we have the technology, we will produce longer interactive audio books, says Mattias.
The basic idea is to write text that becomes a digital voice. The story is dressed in a soundscape that gives the mood and you choose how it should go by using the voice.
– We have an example that has seven different endings, depending on certain central points in the story where you have to make moral choices. You get stuck in a situation, do you choose to talk it out, run from there or start a fight? Then the story takes a completely different direction after that, says Mattias.
Founder Peter Zetterberg works at Microsoft in Seattle and created Wanderword as a hobby project to get an outlet for his creativity. When Boden Gamecamp applied for game studios for internships, he was one of the first to choose to invest here. Three students got an internship and one of them was William Hambraeus, 23 years old from Stockholm.
– To have housing and this house with education and all companies so close, I think is great, he says.
When Peter visited the class to pitch his ideas, audio role-playing games were on the list. William saw the connection to Dungeons & Dragons and was interested right away. Today, he is a story designer and has driven the development of Cursed Painting, which was recently launched at the top of Amazon Alexa’s front page.
– Everything you usually need to set up a paper & pen game, such as dice, paper, a large group and a game leader who has worked for weeks on a story – you have that in Cursed Painting.
You just start up and have an adventure to play through, a character to level up and monsters to fight against.
William got the job immediately after graduation, when the company was created on June 17, 2019. Then six people were hired and Mattias Bergqvist stepped in as studio manager at 75 percent, in addition to the job as a business developer. In January, they brought in three more interns and now there are a total of eleven in the office.
– My vision has always been to first build an industry in my hometown that was never thought possible – and then be involved in developing companies in it. We will build a proper and large company, that is the goal. And the core of the business should be here in Boden, says Mattias.
Behind the company are, in addition to Peter, also Thomas Lindgren, CEO and co-founders, Jacob Dalborg and Pelle Josefsson, four people who have a network in the form of games, financing, publishers and marketing in high places.
– Even though we are a small junior studio in Boden, those who sit on the other side of the phone are often large companies with very strong brands, says Mattias. #