Myrkur Games: A New and Exciting Gaming Company

Translation: Mark Ioli

Myrkur Games is an Icelandic gaming company, founded in 2016 by three computer science students, Daníel A. Sigurðsson, Friðrik A. Friðriksson and Halldór S. Kristjánsson. The company has lots of exciting projects in the works, and a Student Paper reporter recently spoke to co-founder Friðrik, along with 3-D illustrator Katrín Inga Gylfadóttir.

According to Friðrik, the adventure began in a computer game design class at Reykjavík University. “There were three of us working on a group project, and we put together a really ambitious computer game in three weeks. The university now uses this game as an example of a fun idea that shouldn’t be attempted,” says Friðrik with a laugh.

“We worked really well together, and after that worked together on a final project on virtual reality. We worked on finding a way to track the human body in virtual reality and spent over a year on it.”

“We wanted to take it further and attended many meetings where people explained to us that we’d never make any money on this. That led us to actually consider what we wanted to do and how we might possibly get paid for it. We examined the gaming market and tried to figure out how we might set ourselves apart from the crowd, and then went after funding. Ultimately, we got in with Startup Reykjavík, hired two employees, and have been going full steam ever since.”

Get paid in stock

Ten people work at the main office on a daily basis, but Katrín says there are many others who contribute in one way or another: “For example, we have actors, a writer, martial arts experts and choreographers, three interns, and a music and sound engineer, all coming from different backgrounds, but mostly from Reykjavík University and the Reykjavík Academy of Digital Entertainment.”

Friðrik says the company’s employees aren’t yet salaried, but are earning stock in the company. “We hire people on the premise that together we are building this company from the ground up, and we want to create something big. That’s been the situation for about a year and a half now, but of course we hope to be able to pay salaries as soon as possible.”

The company is currently working on the game The Darken: Echoes of the End, which Friðrik and Katrín describe as a story-driven computer game. “You play as a character and work your way through a world where the story is very important. We work a lot with Iceland and this element of fantasy. We plan on having the game ready in two years, or at least that’s our hope. We’ll just have to see,” says Friðrik.

Fast production methods

Katrín is the company’s 3-D illustrator and designs the backgrounds, character clothing, and accessories, as well as scanning real-world objects that can then be used in the game. She says her work process is in some ways entirely different from the usual methods.

“For example, we can find a rock outside, scan it, and have it available in the game in about a day. I don’t know of any other company that can do that so quickly,” says Friðrik. “It is of course all built on the ideas of others. There’s an enormous amount of information available, you just need to look and figure out what works,” adds Katrín.

Myrkur Games recently built the largest motion capture studio in Iceland. “It’s the only one of its kind in the country. We put it in a giant room here next to our office and set it all up ourselves, wall anchors, soundproofing, padding and more,” Katrín says. Friðrik adds that the project has received a lot of attention. “Several companies have been in touch with us wanting to book time at the studio. We also really want to get in touch with the universities and invite them to use it as well.”

Dyrhólaey becomes a gameboard

The team is currently hard at work preparing for the largest gaming convention in the United States, which is coming up in a few weeks. “We’re creating a playable demo to show there. It’s a lot of fun - we’re turning Dyrhólaey into a gameboard. The purpose of having a playable demo is to try to attract investors. We’ve recently been in discussions with several parties who seem to have some amount of interest, whatever that means, of course,” says Friðrik. Katrín adds that it is a big, expensive project, and there’s a lot at stake.

Katrín and Friðrik both agree that the gaming industry in Iceland is flourishing right now. “There are a lot of exciting things going on, a lot of companies popping up, as diverse as they are numerous. We hope to become one of the leaders in the industry as time goes on, naturally,” says Friðrik in closing.