Former Developers of XCOM and The Sims Launch Midsummer Studios to Reinvent the Life Sim Genre

Posted May 14, 2024
Today a team of veteran developers behind legendary games such as Sid Meier’s Civilization, XCOM and The Sims, announced the launch of Midsummer Studios, teasing their upcoming next-generation entry to the Life Sim genre. Founded by Creative Director Jake Solomon and Game Director Will Miller (both formerly of Firaxis Games), and COO/CFO Nelsie Birch (with 25 years in financial and operations management), Midsummer Studios launches with $6 million raised from major investors. Transcend Fund led the round, joined by Tirta Ventures, Betaworks Ventures, 1Up Ventures, F4 Fund, Krafton, and Day Zero Productions. Alongside this studio reveal, the co-founders shared the concept for their unannounced debut project: a next-gen Life Sim that emphasizes player-driven narratives, allowing communities to share memorable moments that grow out of the creativity of players themselves.

“The best stories in games are written by the players,” said Jake Solomon, CEO and Creative Director of Midsummer Studios. “At Midsummer we’re making a life sim focused on the drama of modern life, where our players will write meaningful stories just by playing, and then share those stories with the world.” 

"Leading the Seed for Midsummer was a natural fit for Transcend. As a Producer on The Sims myself nearly twenty years ago, I am well acquainted with the power that meaningful player-driven stories can unlock. I also have an abiding respect for how hard it is to deliver the alchemy of community, systems design, gameplay, and user generated content necessary to do so. The Midsummer founders are industry veterans with the rare experience and design artistry required to deliver against this massive opportunity. I am delighted to join the board and support their journey to redefine the Life Sim category." said Shanti Bergel, Founding Partner at Transcend.

The burgeoning new studio has already added acclaimed talent to their roster, including Grant Rodiek, following his 18-year career with Maxis Studios as a Producer and Director on various installments and expansions of The Sims. Jake Solomon launches Midsummer after 23 years at Firaxis Games, where he was the Designer and Director of the XCOM franchise and Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Co-founder Will Miller joins Midsummer after 16 years at Firaxis as a Lead Designer of Civilization: Beyond Earth and Lead Engineer on Marvel’s Midnight Suns. While new to games, Nelsie Birch has had several high profile jobs over two decades leading the financial and operational performance for cities and counties. This veteran team is also joined by experienced talent behind many beloved Firaxis titles.

After successfully securing initial investment from notable partners, Midsummer Studios is focused on growing their studio sustainably. The founders hope to champion the health and happiness of their team members, offering shared equity in the company and unlimited paid time-off. 

The Midsummer Studio team is eager to share more details about their upcoming Life Sim title as development progresses. To stay informed on the new studio and its debut project, follow Midsummer Studio on X (Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok, and visit their website.
About Midsummer Studios
Midsummer Studios is an independent game development company headquartered in Hunt Valley, MD (Baltimore region) and led by a team of accomplished developers behind legendary game franchises like Civilization, XCOM, and The Sims. Midsummer is a well-funded start-up that is passionate and eager to create a next generation entry into the life sim genre. Midsummer is a collaborative environment where everyone has a voice and the work/life balance of our team is cherished. Every employee at Midsummer gets equity in the studio when they join, because we all succeed together.

About Transcend
Transcend is a top performing early stage venture capital firm that partners with the boldest founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of interactive entertainment. Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend portfolio features a preeminent group of high growth digital entertainment companies around the world.


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