British Developer, Payload Studios, announces minority stake investment from Tencent

London, February 24th 2021 – Payload Studios today announces that Tencent, a leading internet and technology company, has invested a minority stake in Payload. This investment will support the growth of the team and development of future titles with Payload’s signature community-driven model.

Payload Studios was founded in 2013 by games industry veterans Russell Clarke and Vincent Scheurer, with a focus on community-centric creative sandbox games. Our award-winning debut title, TerraTech, an open-world sandbox builder game, was self-funded, self-published and embodies the studio’s community-centric approach, reflected in consistently rising player feedback ratings which currently stand at 91% lifetime positive on Steam.

Tencent has been actively supporting British studios and the industry ecosystem, previous investment and partnerships include Frontier Developments, Sumo Digital, Miniclip and more.


Russell Clarke, Co-founder and CEO, Payload Studios said:

“This investment is a huge milestone for Payload Studios. It represents a major validation for the team, and everything we have achieved in the past seven years with TerraTech.  With the strength and reach of Tencent backing us, we can scale our capability and ambition to levels we had only dreamed of until now – taking the TerraTech IP to new places and opening up entirely new possibilities.

Look out for a major announcement later this year about what’s coming next from Payload!”


Vincent Scheurer, Co-founder and Operations Director, Payload Studios added:

“Tencent operates one of the most successful online games platforms, so it is fantastic news that they wish to back our business. We are now part of an extended family of amazing games companies who have been backed by Tencent.

This investment will have a transformative effect on Payload Studios and provides us with the capital we require to grow, while preserving our autonomy. We can now accelerate our recruitment plans substantially and bring even more world class talent to our team.

This investment is a validation of seven years of hard work from our team, who built a community driven development and publishing business from scratch with practically no initial capital.”


For Further Information:

Payload Studios


For UK media enquiries:

Eva Field  – Noisy Communications

+44 (0) 781 403 9983

Helen Jones – Noisy Communications

+44 (0) 778 922 6939


About Payload Studios

Payload Studios is a British independent game studio founded by Russell Clarke and Vincent Scheurer to develop the ultimate exploration sandbox game – TerraTech.


Studio history:

Payload Studio’s co-founder Russell Clarke left London’s Ideaworks mobile studio 2012 to go on his very own indie adventure, pulling in his experience from working on beloved franchises like Metal Gear, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Fable.

TerraTech started development in late 2013 and progressed rapidly, launching on Steam’s Early Access platform in February 2015. Building upon a wealth of community feedback, it was fully released on Steam in August 2018, with console versions following soon afterwards on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

The team expanded at pace and is now based in London Farringdon as founders of the Tentacle Zone, a co-working space for game industry professionals. The team’s hard work and dedication was recognised when Payload Studios won TIGA’s “Best Small Studio” Award of 2020.


About Tencent

Tencent uses technology to enrich the lives of Internet users.

Our communication and social platforms, Weixin and QQ, connect users with each other and with digital content and services, both online and offline, making their lives more convenient. Our targeted advertising platform helps advertisers reach out to hundreds of millions of consumers in China. Our FinTech and business services support our partners’ business growth and assist their digital upgrade.

Tencent invests heavily in talent and technological innovation, actively promoting the development of the Internet industry. Tencent was founded in Shenzhen, China, in 1998. Shares of Tencent (00700.HK) are listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.


About Tentacle Zone

The Tentacle Zone is the moniker Payload Studios gave to the independent developer collective they created in 2015 when they wanted to bring their early access game, TerraTech, to gamers via events. Initially conceived as a way for several small studios to split the costs of attending events, it quickly evolved and has since supported 200 games through the stand. The Tentacle Zone now includes a  shared workspace in London for other game developers, talks and events. 2020 saw Tentacle Zone activities change  to reflect working practices and game development during the global pandemic, with events being delivered online and recently launched a virtual incubator for underrepresented founders, 


About TerraTech

TerraTech is an open-world, sandbox adventure game, where you design and build your own creations through a mix of crafting, combat and discovery. Design vehicles from a huge library of blocks – scavenge, craft and buy new blocks to survive and become the ultimate planetary prospector.

Construction – Using building blocks, such as guns, wheels and wings from several Mining Corporations, you can build varied Techs to suit every purpose. Be it powerful armoured combat vehicles, unstoppable resource gathering machines, sprawling resource processing bases or a hybrid of all three – creativity is your key to exo-planetary success.

Exploration – The world in TerraTech is procedurally generated and infinite, so there are always new lands to discover and more resources to find. Treacherous mountain ranges, luscious grasslands and huge deserts are among the biomes you will encounter.

Combat – The intergalactic mining industry is a profitable one, but you are not the only miner in search of new worlds to exploit. Defending yourself from rival miners will take time, resources and skill, with success leading to new equipment and new territory. All equipable blocks can be damaged or destroyed, so ensuring you are sufficiently armed and ready for battle is a key element of both survival and prosperity in TerraTech. Get out there and show them who’s boss!

Crafting – By gathering and processing natural resources, players are able to construct bases for storage, refining and ultimately for crafting new blocks. Like the look of that Venture Hail Fire Rifle that just tore your vehicle apart? Go prospecting for the needed resources, and craft a couple for yourself!

Corporations – All exo-planetary prospectors buy parts from the established Corporations, each with their own specific brand of technology –

  • Get the job done with all-rounders GSO
  • Strip-mine to the max with the heavy-duty GeoCorp
  • Go full throttle with high-speed recon specialists Venture
  • Operate with military efficiency using the combat-focused Hawkeye
  • Pursue technological superiority with the cutting-edge Better Future
  • Redefine the boundaries with experimental scientists Reticule Research

Complete missions and discover blocks for each Corporation to improve your standing with them and gain access to the more sought-after components in their arsenal.

TerraTech won TIGA’s “Best New IP” Award in 2014 and “Best Action/Adventure Game” Award in 2015.


About Game On

Payload Studios recognises our responsibility to improve the diversity of the studio and ensure our workplace is truly inclusive. Our initiative, Game On,  includes a range of internal steps and a programme of regular events. 

Since April 2019 we have organised and hosted a series of public events focused on inclusion (these include panels, talks and workshops). These are open to Payload Studio employees, Tentacle Zone residents as well as the wider games industry. The events have welcomed incredible speakers as well as  attendees from almost  200 different studios/companies. 

Our events focus on specific topics related to diversity and inclusion while also amplifying the voices of diverse leaders, studios and some of the leading games industry diversity organisations. 

We aim to improve attendees’ understanding of issues related to inclusion, diversity, equality and belonging and also provide individuals and companies with actionable steps  to improve inclusivity and diversity.