Founded in just 2015, Finnish developer Kopla Games quickly found success in the mobile space.
The studio's debut game was Nonstop Knight, which was an instant hit and racked up 12 million downloads in 10 months.
So it's no secret why publisher Flaregames acquired the developer outright in August 2016 after the title became that company's most successful launch ever.
Kopla isn't resting on its laurels though and has more exciting projects in the pipeline - for which it's hiring a number of staff in key positions.
PocketGamer.biz reached out to CEO Mika Kuusisto to find out more about what the developer's up to and how the company operates.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on Kopla Games and what you do/are currently working on?
Mika Kuusisto: Kopla is an adventurous mobile games studio on a mission to introduce action RPGs to everyone.
We are obviously big Diablo fans, that is why we aim to take the immersive experience and long lifetime of this genre, while making it accessible and appealing to much wider audiences. We want to bring action RPGs to the hundreds of millions of people who have never even heard of Diablo.
Kopla has been around since the beginning of 2015 and is based in Tampere, Finland. Many of us have a background at Rovio but we've also got people from Redlynx, Frozenbyte and Backflip.
Our debut title Nonstop Knight is a one-thumb action RPG with a meta game inspired by incremental idlers. Right now we are doing live ops for Nonstop Knight and working on a new unannounced action RPG.
So far, with 12 million+ players for Nonstop Knight and Kopla winning the award as the best upcoming games company in Finland last year, it is safe to say that we’ve taken the first steps in the right direction, but we have even higher ambitions for our future.
We've still got lots of work ahead of us and that is why we are looking to bring in additions to our current team of 10, people who are as hungry as us to create our best work yet.
What specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?
We are always on a lookout for talents with skills and passion, but currently we are searching for a Senior Game Designer who lives and breathes free-to-play, but also understands what makes games fun and emotional experiences.
Right now we are doing live ops for Nonstop Knight and working on a new unannounced action RPG.Mika Kuusisto
The designer should be able to lead, think strategically, be creative and have the ability to create design based on needs. It is a key role in a small team where this person needs to carry multiple hats.
What do you look for in candidates?
First you need to share our passion for games. We want to leave our own mark in the mobile games industry and have our games played by hundreds of millions of people. We want our candidates to be ambitious and crazy enough to fulfill that dream with us.
You need an adventurous attitude, as we believe that only by taking risks, you can truly find something successful. We are curious by nature and love to explore the possibilities that games have to offer.
In practice, we are constantly prototyping and throwing away a lot of things that just weren’t fun or exciting enough. Some people might find this quite frustrating, but for us it’s the only way we can guarantee quality in our games.
Finally we look for experienced people who thrive in small, self-organising teams with lots of freedom and responsibility. In Kopla, everybody has their hands in the mud and they play a critical part within their teams.
So far we have been really picky when it comes to hiring, and we have been growing carefully. All of our positions are full-time and we are looking for candidates who want to commit for the long-term with us.
That is why we offer our employees flexible working hours and possibility to work remotely. Our unlimited paid vacation policy makes sure our batteries are well charged throughout development.
Why do you think Kopla/Finland is a good place to work? How will you be trying to encourage a strong company culture?
Our biggest motivation for founding Kopla was to create the dream company where we would like to work ourselves. We believe that when the focus is on building great teams and a supportive environment around them, it’s only a matter of time before success follows.
As soon as you start doing projects you should gather them in your portfolio to showcase your skills, even if they are your personal projects.Mika Kuusisto
It starts with talented co-workers and ambitious projects. To us, nothing is more motivating than being surrounded by talented peers, working shoulder to shoulder on meaningful challenges.
Perhaps because of our Finnish roots, we believe in honest and straightforward feedback. Trust is the foundation of good teamwork and we spend a lot of time welding our crew together.
As an example, we organise monthly off-sites where we gather to socialise and discuss openly about our company direction, ongoing projects and post mortems. The locations are usually a surprise until we get there, but to name a few examples we’ve rented out a sauna boat, pinball arcade and even a movie theatre for a gaming tournament.
Kopla is a multinational company, and we are looking for talents also outside the borders of Finland. I mean, if you want to be creating mobile games, this is the place to be.
Besides that, our country has an awesome welfare system with free education and world-class social services, for example. We also do our best in helping with relocation to a new country and culture.
What advice would you have for someone trying to get into the games industry?
As soon as you start doing projects you should gather them in your portfolio to showcase your skills, even if they are your personal projects. It’s great to hear people talking about the stuff that they are proud of, but also about the lessons learned.
Attending your local IGDAs and other industry events are the best opportunity to meet your future co-workers and employers.