Sunborn[Note 1] (散爆) is a Shanghai-based game developer directed by Yuzhong (羽中), formed around the team called Mica Team[Note 2] (云母组).
Before Girls' Frontline
Mica Team was formed in 2008 as a doujin circle to produce and release the visual novel Girl of the Bakehouse, which was released in 2009.
While working on more Bakehouse projects, the group also published doujin artbooks: a K-On!/Haruhi Suzumiya crossover, Touhou Modern Warfare, a book dedicated to Touhou's Suwako Moriya and the Guns&Girls series.
The Bakehouse projects eventually led to a partnership with studio GameMaster to develop the strategy game Codename: Bakery Girl, released in 2013.
In 2015, Mica Team incorporated under the name LBX (used in the earliest marketing only), quickly changed to Sunborn, and announced their mobile game Girls' Frontline.
After three beta tests and development troubles, Sunborn launched the game in Mainland China in 2016, in Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea in 2017, and in a global English version and in Japan in 2018.
The commercial success of Girls' Frontline enabled Sunborn to announce a remake of Codename: Bakery Girl in 2019 titled Reverse Collapse: Code Name Bakery, and three Girls' Frontline-related games were announced in 2020: Girls' Frontline 2: Exilium, Project Neural Cloud and Girls' Frontline: Glitch Land. Development updates were shared with some regularity through the Beilan Island Shelter Broadcast livestreams, hosted by Yuzhong, Smoke (Executive Producer for Girls' Frontline 2) and Kamie (Executive Producer for Project Neural Cloud) talking through Live2D avatars (very cursed). Girls' Frontline 2 and Reverse Collapse were delayed with no release date due to the Covid pandemic.
Neural Cloud received a first closed beta test in October 2020, then a second closed beta called “Singularity Test” in December 2020.
On 21 April 2021, Tencent gained a 20% stake in Sunborn. According to Yuzhong, the deal involved a 9-figures investment from Tencent and Sunborn would still publish its own games in Mainland China. At the time the studio had more than 450 employees, with about 200 working on Girls' Frontline 2. Girls' Frontline 2 received its first closed beta test in July 2021 (CBT-1) and a second (CBT-2) in October 2021. Neural Cloud was released in Mainland China in September 2021.
Development ceased on Glitch Land in early 2022 but progress on Girls' Frontline 2 and Reverse Collapse was shown during Girls' Frontline 6th Anniversary livestream on 14 May 2022. After a Global beta in October 2022, Neural Cloud released in other regions in November 2022.
Sunborn's involvement in the Wandering Earth Mobile strategy game was announced on 22 January 2023. Mica Team is not included in the announcement.
- ↑ Sunborn is registered on Steam as “Sunborn Games Technology Co., Ltd.” In Girls' Frontline, it is registered as “SUNBORN Network Technology Co., Ltd.”
- ↑ Various official renditions have been used for the name “Mica Team”:
- “MICA team” in the credits of Girl of the BakeHouse.
- “MICA-TEAM” in the splash screen of Codename: Bakery Girl.
- “Mica Team” in The Art of Girls' Frontline Vol.1.
- “MICAteam” in the Steam page of Reverse Collapse: Code Name Bakery.
- “MicaTeam” in the Twitter account of Reverse Collapse: Code Name Bakery.