Secret Mode

Sumo enters games publishing with Secret Mode – looks for ‘smaller gems – smart, creative games’

Sumo Group today announced that it was launching its own games publishing label: Secret Mode. Which, arguably counter intuitively, will be based on the admirable principles of “transparency and honesty”.

Sumo has seen success and considerable growth in recent years, both in its traditional work-for-hire role, as well as an increasingly impressive lineup of home-grown IP – much of which was released in partnership with Apple Arcade.

It previously self-published Snake Pass, but is now looking to find “smaller gems – smart, creative games” to bring to market. 

The new venture will be led by James Schall (left), director of publishing, best known for his time leading digital distribution at Sega, which he departed in November to start on Secret Mode. He’s joined by head of marketing Derek Seklecki (right), who worked on localisation at Nintendo and marketing at Sega. 

James Schall and Derek Seklecki, Secret Mode

“We want to break down the stereotypical publisher-developer relationship and create genuine lasting partnerships. We think our values and long-term ambitions will give every studio something to think about” commented James Schall. “We will bring a fresh approach to the publishing scene, embracing creativity and experimentation, whilst being intuitively and commercially guided by the decades of experience we have within the Group.”

Paul Porter, Chief Operating Officer of Sumo Group plc, commented, “We have previously published titles that have been created in-house, like Snake Pass, and have enjoyed some success with that. This is a natural progression of that process. Being developers ourselves, we know great teams want to focus on making the best game possible – without distractions. Secret Mode knows how to nurture developer talent, providing the resources and creativity to help make their creations fly.

“The guiding principles for Secret Mode are transparency and honesty. The team is driven to create something different and adaptive – building truly collaborative relationships with our developer partners that will endure. Combining our industry knowledge, connections, and passion for great games, Secret Mode has what it takes to help developers grow and thrive,” continued Porter.

“All publishers are looking for the next big thing,” commented Schall, “Secret Mode is focusing on finding those smaller gems – smart, creative games that we wished we’d developed ourselves, games that have some or all of these qualities.”

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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