citybiz+ Loric Ups Game with $4M Round and Hiring of Jeff Hickman to Oversee Production

Virginia Venture Partners-backed Loric Games has raised $4 million from investors in a round led by 1AM Gaming, and hired an industry luminary to head its production, giving the Alexandria, Va.-based startup’s prospects a sharp boost.

The induction of Jeff Hickman, a gaming veteran with stints notably at Mythic Entertainment and Electronic Arts, as chief production officer is viewed as a coup of sorts for the fledgling startup because it also reassembles a team — Loric CEO Brian Johnson and chief operating officer Rob Denton — that scored notable victories in the past.

New Path

“Everyone at 1AM can blame Brian, Rob, Jeff — and many of the Loric Games team — for sleepless nights up late, with our friends raiding the Hibs in Dark Age of Camelot. For that alone, we almost invested in their new project,” said Louis Gresham, a co-founder of West Coast venture firm 1AM Gaming. “But it was learning about their vision for the game and knowing that they have a desire to steer co-op RPGs [role-playing games] in a whole new direction that made us realize we wanted to be a part of what they’re building.”

Hickman has played leading roles at gaming firms such as NaturalMotion, Electronic Arts, BioWare, and Mythic. His string of gaming hits include “The Simpsons: Tapped Out, “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Warhammer Online” and “Dark Age of Camelot.”

“Joining the talented team at Loric is like coming back home,” said Hickman. “We’re not just colleagues; we’re co-conspirators in a grand adventure. Together, we’ll turn our ground-breaking ideas into cultural phenomena, one game at a time,” he added.

Mythic Reputation

Founded by Johnson, Denton and Ray Soto, Loric aims to bring freshness to role-playing games. Johnson, an industry veteran and gaming enthusiast, also serves as an adviser to Providence Equity Partners. Denton was part of Mythic and also co-founded Broadsword Online Games. Soto won a Pulitzer Prize for a groundbreaking multimedia report, “The Wall.” He later quit journalism to focus on video games, and was part of Electronic Arts.

“Reuniting with Jeff at Loric isn’t just about collaboration; his arrival during a period of dynamic growth and expansion underscores Loric’s commitment to elevating our high standards in game production,” said Johnson, who early in his career served as a cloud engineer at Rapid7.

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Loric has not revealed much details about the first game it is building. The funding round led by 1AM Gaming also included London-based Hiro Capital. Loric has so far raised $5.6 million.

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Virginia Venture Partners, a unit of the state-run Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, invests in companies incorporated in the state. VVP invested in Loric Games in March 2023.

“Loric Games is a team of video game developer veterans who are dedicated to developing a new way of building and playing video games,” Tom Weithman, VIPC’s chief investment officer and managing director of Virginia Venture Partners, said then. “The team has a unique, creative vision, and we look forward to their early-stage growth and contributions to the video game industry.”