Markus Montola

I am a Helsinki-based game scholar, designer and entrepreneur.

As a game designer, I focus on free-to-play mobile games. Currently I’m the lead designer of Friends & Dragons at Playsome. Previously, I’ve held senior and lead game design positions at Next Games, Reforged Studios, Boomlagoon, Housemarque and Grey Area, working on titles such as the location-based zombie shooter The Walking Dead: Our World, the card battler Spirit Hunter, the location-based MMORPG Shadow Cities, and the map-based tank shooter Tank Legions.

As a games scholar, I worked from 2004 to 2010 at Nokia Research Center and University of Tampere Gamelab. My award-winning doctoral dissertation, On the Edge of the Magic Circle (2012) discusses role-playing and pervasive gaming and proposes a theoretical framework for studying ephemeral games. I published Pervasive Games: Theory and Design (2009) with Jaakko Stenros and Annika Waern. After my full-time research-career I published The Rule Book: Building Blocks of Games (2024) with Jaakko Stenros.

As a gaming entrepreneur, I am a co-founder of Helsinki-based game studio Playsome (2019-).

I’m also an editor of Nordic Larp (2010), Playground Worlds (2008), Beyond Role and Play (2004) and College of Wizardry: The Magic of Participation in Harry Potter Larps (2017).

I have been active in the Nordic larp scene for more than two decades. Most recently, I was a designer in Proteus: Sotakarjujen synty (2018).