In the wake of eFootball 2023’s poor reviews, and ahead of the first-ever release of the FIFA-less EA Sports FC later this year, an upstart soccer game has secured $20 million in Series A funding to bring a new option to the table–and with it, potentially “give football the game it deserves.”
Today (April 19), Swedish company GOALS has announced its latest round of financing for its self-titled soccer video game. It was led by Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six, and joined by fellow VC specialists Northzone, Moonfire, and Cassius.
It also attracted a number of high-profile angel investors, including:
- Peter Sellis, senior vice-president for product at Discord;
- Wayne Mackey, founder and CEO of Statespace/Aimlabs;
- Riqui Puig, midfielder for LA Galaxy; and
- Clement Langlet, center-back for Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Barcelona.
Created in 2021 by Andreas “bds” Thorstensson–a former Counter-Strike world champion and the founder of esports team SK Gaming–GOALS, which unsurprisingly targets esports competition, now has total funding of $39 million. With this latest investment, the company hopes to fast-track production, aiming for “nothing short of bringing a revolution to the football genre.”
The GOALS team currently stands at around 50, including developers from recognizable franchises in gaming, including FIFA and Madden as well as leading companies such as Activision and Ubisoft. This latest tranche of funding will be put into pushing its staff numbers to 75 people over the coming years, prioritizing key roles in engineering.
Thorstensson, who stepped back from competitive soccer gaming–totalling over 5,000 matches–due to his frustration over a perceived lack of innovation, said: “GOALS was born out of our passion for football, our passion for video games and our opinion that football video games have grown stale.
“There are over 3.5 billion football fans in the world, and our team is united in the belief that a football game done right should be the world’s biggest video game. We’re focused on making sure we have a game that meets the needs of every fan, whether they’re looking for casual or highly competitive play, what hardware they play on, no matter where they live.”
To this end, the GOALS game hopes to change the traditional football game formula, “focusing on fun, fast and fluid gameplay over hyperrealism.” While a standard 11v11 mode for two players (versus or co-op) and casual play will form the core of the game, this will be joined by a 5v5 mode, while GOALS: GO, will offer the ability for all players to be user controlled, “increasing the social and competitive aspect of football games.”
Speaking about his investment, Ohanian said Seven Seven Six was drawn to GOALS by the team’s ambition, and the plans it had to fulfill it.
“The studio is on a mission to bring a fun football game to the masses and to eliminate any barriers or inequities that may exist for players, no matter where they live or what hardware they’re running,” he said. “There’s a ton of potential in the team’s approach to design and technology that can extend well beyond this first game and football entirely.”
Like Konami’s eFootball, GOALS will be free-to-play, with plans for it to offer crossplay between consoles and PC, plus optimizations that allow the game to run on older consoles and lower-spec PC hardware.
At the moment, GOALS is in the pre-alpha stage, but Thorstensson and his team have committed to sharing progress in an open and transparent way. You can keep up to date by joining GOALS’ Discord, follow development on Twitter and YouTube, and even sign up for the chance to be an early playtester here on the GOALS website. Open positions to join the team are also available on the studio’s website.
A multi-lingual talent head, Allen is fluent in languages such as Spanish, Russian, Italian, and many more. He has a special curiosity for the events and stories revolving in and around US and caters an uncompromising form of journalistic standard for the audiences.